I have made it back. I could go on but "death, rosaries, tea" covers it. I am lucky to be back at all. The general election is on in Ireland. I know that because I nearly joined my aunt in the grave on the drive back to Dublin airport. I was trying to read the election posters that hang off every other lamp-post and telegraph pole. Somebody, somewhere, has told Irish politicians that the best way to bring out the vote is to become a major road hazard. YouTube and video blogs are very over. It is a retro-chic thing. Tony Blair should, perhaps, have written a letter.
Every Irish candidate has a large photograph with his name in BIG letters. Names like Reilly, Geraghty, Brady to match the unmistakably Irish face above it. (I would not want to criticise another country's political culture but some of those faces could do with eating fewer full Irish breakfasts.) In the corner of the poster, the political party is mentioned in much smaller letters. "Bit of an after thought; just so as you know, I would be Labour," it says. The best ones, the ones that nearly killed me, have a little message you decide you have to read even if you are ripping along at 60 miles per hour. Something along the lines of: "Everybody matters." That is a sentiment well worth dying in a head-on collision for. Even the Green party is at it. You would think they would know better than to waste all that paper. Bertie Ahern is trying to look like he could be trusted. Which would be a good trick if he could manage it. There are rumours that the Fine Gael leader, Enda Kenny, has either had his photograph airbrushed or spent time in a spray tan booth. Odd. Does not cover it. His posters come with strangely petulant messages. They virtually "tut" as you drive by them. Under the photo, it promises: "Health services that work" OK. Alright. But it goes on: "for a change." Then there is: "Safer streets...for a change." How he can talk about safer streets with all those hypnotic posters, beats me.