The King Is Dead, Long Live The King


From top: Leo Vardkar addresses the media; Tony Groves

Long before Rome was an empire, there was the regal period; a much disputed and historically vague time. It was in this age that the origin stories of Romulus and Remus were born, and it was here that the myth of Roman citizenry was cultivated.

The kings, seven of them, while individually interesting characters, are not as important in today’s context as is the methodology of their ascension.

Kingly succession was not hereditary and the Romans used complex legal procedures that involved the appointment of an Interrex (a ‘between king’), a popular vote for the new monarch and senatorial ratification. Only then could the Interrex be called the Rex (Latin for king).

Hundreds of years later, the Romans, wanting to project later priorities into the past, cultivated backstories of these Kings. It was said that of the seven, three were murdered, one was struck by a divine lightning bolt, one was exiled and only two died in their beds.

The message to the later Romans was clear, Rome has no King, Rome needs no King; a message heard and manipulated by the Caesars.

Much like the recent election of Leo Varadkar to Fine Gael Leader (and in contrast to the election of Jeremy Corbyn as Labour Leader) the popular vote of the Interrex counted for much less than the “senatorial ratification” votes.

Much like the ascension of Leo Varadkar to Taoiseach, dodgy deals were cut with powerful interests in order to gain the senatorial favour. While unlike in Rome, no assassinations were ordered, one can’t help think of Michael Lowry and his backing of Leo Varadkar.

Much like the new Tory Taoiseach wants us to focus on his backstory and not his conservative, neoliberal politics, the Interrex would also have a backstory cultivated to appeal to the plebeians.

Numa and Titus Tatius, were said to be the sons of a refugees, Servius Tullius was the son of a slave. The message here, much like that of the new Taoiseach, is unmistakable: Romans could come from anywhere; and those born low could rise to the top.

Yes, there is much to admire in the son of an Indian migrant rising to the top position in the country. There is some comfort in his sexuality not featuring as a topic, but for a brief idiotic moment in the Irish Independent. But, there’s more discouragement in our need to slap ourselves on the back for such ‘enlightenment’.

I would love to see Leo Varadkar succeed. He has made much noise about the death of Left/Right politics, if only to deflect from his Right Wing leanings, and if he was to govern as he says then perhaps he will find a new route. I will give him the benefit of the doubt, briefly.

Let’s see how serious he is about resolving his “unfinished business” in the Health Service. As a country we await him fixing the date for the Referendum on the Eighth Amendment.

As a two speed economy, we await the “substantial increases in capital spending” he has promised. Let’s see him address the housing crisis and impending property bubble, without bowing to vested interests.

Leo has put his name to an ambitious list of promises. But until he starts to deliver on his “Republic of Opportunity ” mantra and living up to the (demagoguery like) hype, he will remain the Interrex; an in between king.

Tony Groves is a full-time financial consultant and part-time commentator. With over 18 years experience in the financial industry and a keen interest in politics, history and “being ornery”, he has published one book and writes regularly at Trickstersworld


49 thoughts on “The King Is Dead, Long Live The King

  1. observer

    Much like the ascension of Leo Varadkar to Taoiseach, dodgy deals were cut with powerful interests in order to gain the senatorial favour.

    Is there any evidence of any “dodgy deals”? I know it is a nice talking point, but it doesn’t seem to have any actual basis to it other than people watching too much House of Cards

    1. MoyestWithExcitement

      Yes. From further on in that same paragraph; “one can’t help think of Michael Lowry and his backing of Leo Varadkar.” It’s really weird how you missed the answer to your question, being, as it was, in the very next sentence.

    2. Tony Groves

      Lowry has had findings of corruption made against him. He has publicly declared his support for the Varadkar government. These facts don’t require Kevin Spacey breaking the third wall dramatics.
      Thanks for reading.

      1. Happy Molloy

        They’re hardly evidence either. Not by any journalistic standard anyway. It just amounts to what someone reckons – pubtalk if you will.

        1. MoyestWithExcitement

          “Tony Groves is a full-time financial consultant and part-time commentator” I realise you have an emotional need to protect the establishment but take a breath every now and then.

      2. Hawkeyed

        Nor do they require the kid who drew straight lines in school to draw a conclusion. You describe yourself as a part-time commenter, so it is only fair that your comments are subject to some level of scrutiny.Your “suggestion” may well be true, but your “posts” would be more persuasive if you provided some evidence . Your sniffy response indicates that you may at any moment self-combust. I blame a lifelong commitment to non-sequitors, tautology and clichés:)

        1. MoyestWithExcitement

          It is tremendously satisfying to watch trolls like this guy have a temper tantrum when Tony doesn’t react the way they want to their trolling.

          1. Hawkeyed

            I asked a very reasonable question. My response was in response to T’s rather snarky response.

          2. MoyestWithExcitement

            You didn’t ask a reasonable question. You implied that he himself implied a ridiculous statement. Be honest with yourself.

        2. MoyestWithExcitement

          “it is only fair that your comments are subject to some level of scrutiny…..Your sniffy response…”

          ‘I should be allowed to insult you without you responding! Waaaaaah!’

    3. Anomanomanom

      If any deal was done with lowery and I do say if, then Leo is up there with Bertie and martian as far as im concerned

    4. AlisonT

      Leo has delivered nothing as a minister except himself to the top of Government. Lets hope we see something more substantial from him and he doesn’t just shift is focus to moving himself up in Europe.

  2. bisted

    ‘…I would love to see Leo Varadkar succeed…’ – well Tony, your true colours are peeping through as you get caught up in the general giddiness…another closet blueshirt on Broadsheet…didn’t know there was a vacany…Rob;G will not be pleased…

    1. Anomanomanom

      Closet blueshirt, what is it with BS commentators fascination with blue shirts. I’ve honestly never voted for them and think Leo is an poo hat but I hope he succeeds. We do not need years of a someone completely inept running the country. We’ve had about 15/20 years of that already.

      1. MoyestWithExcitement

        Leo is intept. Just because he’s under 40 and speaks with confidence *usually* doesn’t mean he’s at all capable. People were saying Theresa May was capable until a few weeks ago.

  3. nellyb

    Political process is not a weather system, but it’s sure treated this way in the republic. Supplemented by prayers for better one. Or pints to oblivion.

  4. Tony Groves

    People always demand evidence for the obvious. But then they expect you to swallow the preposterous – Larry Wilmore

    I can’t put it any better than that.

    1. MoyestWithExcitement

      Anyone with half a brain knows why they’re asking for evidence though. These are not honest people.

    2. Hawkeyed

      Thanks for the quote, Tonybot.

      *Moyest self-combusts. His Tayto packet is feeling the pain*

      1. MoyestWithExcitement

        I’d be offended if I had any idea what you were going for there. I’m a crisp? I called you a troll so that means I like Tayto? Who knows?

  5. egghead

    Leo will have a shorter honeymoon than most new Leaders, a lot rest on his ability to put his talent of influencing others. May the road rise up to meet him and the wind be at his back.

  6. scottser

    varadkar is not a grafter. he will never put his shoulder to the wheel, never invest himself personally into a project. he’s a lightweight who seeks power for its own sake. if he has skills it’s talking a good game and covering his bottom. you should expect nothing of him, because that’s all he has to offer.

      1. MKG

        He has charisma, or so I’m told.
        I’m seriously worried by the amount of people who feel he’s the 2nd Coming. Are we really so superficial?

        1. MoyestWithExcitement

          Yes. I’ve found personally that if you speak with fluency and assertiveness, people will buy whatever you’re selling. Here, for instance, I’ve seen more than one person be put up on a pedestal because their posts are usually 3 paragraphs or more but they don’t really say anything in those paragraphs. We’re still all children who need parents to guide us so anyone who looks like they know what they’re talking about provide us with comfort.

  7. Jimmey Russell

    “if only to deflect from his Right Wing leanings”

    hes gay you absolute moron how could he possibly be right wing

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