SHAUN CONNOLLY: Some support as Kenny officially comes out — as a yes voter

It is Enda Kenny’s lifestyle choice and we shouldn’t judge him for it.

Anyway, maybe it’s just a phase he’s going through, but the Taoiseach officially came out yesterday — as a yes voter.

Friends and colleagues gathered around to show their support, but some feared for Enda, worried that his declaration had come too late and he could face a public backlash.

Having given all the early running to the no side, Mr Kenny was on the back foot as he formally launched the Government’s yes push in the Shelbourne Hotel ballroom — and the Socialists even tried to out swank him by holding a rival poster launch in a slick little wine bar.

Now, while Joe Higgins with a script in front of him is the sharpest wit in the Dáil, in person he is one of the grumpiest people in Leinster House, so jokes abounded about him confusing the venue with a whine bar. And it did seem a most odd sort of setting — talk about Chardonnay Socialists.

The slinky Celtic Tigeresque basement bar was plastered with posters screaming: “Say No To Austerity” — but could we say yes to a Cosmo, Joe? Or maybe a mojito? Ho-Ho Higgins never explained.

But then, if like Joe you complain about absolutely everything, all day, everyday, it is bound to affect your persona.

With coming out all the political rage at the moment, imagine how hard it would be for a Blueshirt to come out to his Socialist Party parents: “Mum, you’re not going to like this, but I think I might be.... Christian Democrat. I’ve been having strange dreams about Enda Kenny and his five-point plan to sell off state assets, and I get excited looking at pictures of austerity....”

A grim family moment indeed, but apparently voting no in the fiscal treaty referendum will lead to the abolition of the household tax and water charges, according to the Chardonnay Socialists anyway — who knew?

The claim was as misleading as Finance Minister Micheal Noonan’s threat that unless we voted yes, the already Really Bad Budget due in December would morph into a Triple Really Bad Budget With Knobs On, so we had better do as we are told and agree to the treaty nobody has read on the thing nobody understands.

Back in the Shelbourne ballroom, Europe Minister Lucinda Creighton was proving a strict mistress of ceremonies as she wielded the microphone like a dagger, once she managed to get it to work, that is.

Ms Creighton cranked-up the intimidation of the electorate by warning you could kiss goodbye to those loved ones who have had to flee abroad to find the dignity of labour because if you dare to vote no they will be “marooned” on foreign shores — like desperate seafarers who were thrown overboard from the shipwreck that is the Irish economy.

Fright-night on Lucinda Street was so scary that even Mr Kenny looked a bit rattled when she had finally finished with her grim forbearing of woe.

An out and loud Enda, Gloomy Noonan and Lucinda Frighten — it’s going to be a very long campaign.


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