So wrote Edna O’Brien. A truism that David Norris may well soon discover. While the controversy about him gained him popular support, the resignation of key team members may well prove fatal to his campaign. I’ve blogged before that I feel he has the right to stand for president but it would be astounding given the internal disarray in his team if he can now attract the additional support that he needs to cross the line at the end of the race. His own team members who’ve stood by him in the past are now tweeting their resignations and distancing themselves from his campaign.
Polls have shown that Michael D Higgins is more transfer friendly than any other candidate. The shredding of closet Fianna Fail Dragon Sean Gallagher on this week’s Pat Kenny radio show reveal deep dislike for his failure to address his past membership of the FF National Executive and his continuous obfuscation on why he left Fianna Fail amid suspicions that he never left at all. This in time may prove as corrosive to his campaign as Norris’s failure to clarify his past. Gallagher will act as a sweeper for disillusioned FF voters giving them a reason to vote and will transfer well to the official FF candidate.
David Norris may well try to continue his campaign but it’s unlikely that he’ll get 4 county councils to nominate him now and he still needs 5 extra Oireachtas members to help him get his name on the ballot paper in October. About 10 years ago then PD minister Bobby Molloy saw his political career end after it was revealed that he’d made representations to have a man convicted of sexual assault get out early. According to what I’ve heard it is alleged that David Norris used Oireachtas stationary to make a clemency plea to an Israeli judge in respect of a man convicted of the sexual assault of a young boy. There are clear similarities between the 2 cases in my mind. Will he get his name on the ballot paper now? If he succeeds it’s unlikely he will win now. Just as the 1990 Presidential election degenerated into a FF/FG fight about the Lenihan affair and whether Jim Duffy was right to release his tapes, this election may well become about David Norris and not about the office of the presidency.
If David Norris cannot command the support of his election team, how can he command the support of the entire people if he actually won? Where ever President Norris would go the international media would dwell on this controversy. Would that not get in the way of his hope that he would represent another positive image of Ireland? How would press fixation on this matter help improve our international image? ULA and Sinn Fein attempted to get Bobby Ballagh to run however he turned down their advances. It seems that Fianna Fail may well use the presidential election as a way to divert attention from the forthcoming Mahon Report into the man who at one time wanted to be their candidate Bertie Ahern. Brian Crowley for some strange reason feels he has what it takes for this job although he will be an also ran.
Michael D Higgins is well placed to attract support when more people focus on the nominated candidates. I amazed at his energy in covering the country from Donegal last night to Waterford tomorrow but not by his enthusiasm or vigour. He has an outstanding record on issues such as human rights and international development. In time the Norris controversy will be in the past and Higgins will go on to be an outstanding President. The people rarely get elections wrong. That why there has never been an election in the month of August, it is a wicked month!