Welcome to Declassified, a weekly column looking at the lighter side of politics.
We’re all looking forward to things getting back to normal. But maybe not everything should come back. For example, Irish Prime Minister Micheál Martin announced that a ban on dancing in pubs and at weddings will be lifted next week.
That’s just what we need in these troubled times, a load of drunk Michael Flatley wannabees (or the actual Michael Flatley, for that matter) kicking their legs in the air at closing time!
The only good thing to come out of the Irish announcement was that it allowed Deputy Prime Minister Leo Varadkar to quip: “I’m no Michael Gove but I am looking forward to the dancefloor once again.”
Gove’s lagered-up night out clubbing on his own was the closest the unloveable Tory politician has ever come to good PR, apart from the part when the club doorman claimed the Brexiteer tried to avoid paying the £5 entry fee by boasting he was the “Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster.” It also showed that not everyone spends all day immersed in politics, as several clubbers reportedly asked: “Who’s Michael Gove?” Ah, the bliss of ignorance.
But while Gove’s stock went up, some people just can’t get good PR even if they try. Marine Le Pen, for example, has spent years trying to soften the image of her party in a bid to appeal to voters and get elected as French president. There’s the distancing from her bad old dad, the rebranding of the National Front as the National Rally (which I’m not sure is any better) and interviews such as the one she just gave to Le Point.
In it, she’s pictured doing ordinary, everyday things such as feeding her sister some sauce from a wooden spoon, piloting a boat (and definitely not looking for migrants making their way to French shores!) and playing the drums. Alas, eagle-eyed readers spotted that on the bookshelves behind her were a volume of Joseph Goebbels’s diaries and a copy of “The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich: A History of Nazi Germany” by William L. Shirer, an American journalist, which just so happens to have a picture of Hitler’s face on the spine. Not a great look for a far-right politician courting the mainstream.
Still, if she fails to become president again in next year’s presidential election, at least she can get a job playing drums in Eric Clapton’s band.
“So this is Kabul airport?”
“No, prime minister, that’s Tesco in Croyden.”
Can you do better? Email [email protected] or on Twitter @pdallisonesque
Last time we gave you this photo:
Thanks for all the entries. Here’s the best from our postbag (there’s no prize except for the gift of laughter, which I think we can all agree is far more valuable than cash or booze).
“Vladimir, don’t you think those guys have stood there long enough with their feet in the air?” by Richard Ivens.
Paul Dallison is POLITICO‘s slot news editor.