People feel drawn toward serving in public office for a multitude of reasons. Perhaps it is a love of their local community and an earnest desire to see it bettered that drives them; perhaps instead it is the lofty ideals of nationhood, the almost naively grandiose and principled aspirations of wanting to HELP improve the fate of an entire people, or maybe it is simply for the fact that the catering in Leinster House is reportedly top notch. More likely though, the truth lies somewhere in the confluence of these motives.
We can presume this to have been the case for Leo Varadkar. What seems unlikely however is that a young Leo Varadkar, while lying in bed daring to dream that one day he might be elected to public office, and one day may become widely described - not just as 'Taoiseach' - but as 'Ireland's first openly gay Taoiseach' - the axiomatic implications of which are, legally, best left unexplored. What swirled through his head in these moments, whatever his ambitions and desires may have been, I feel pretty confident in assuming that one of his reasons for coveting political leadership was not so that he could ruthlessly call-out someone with a profoundly poor grasp of both grammar and the apposite usage of capital letters on a then barely conceivable online messaging medium.
Though perhaps I am wrong - it is after all unfair, and simply a means of setting yourself up for disappointment, to hold people in public office to an unreasonably high-standard. We are all allowed to be petty from time to time. Who's to say that some of the great political figures from history would not have freely and enthusiastically engaged in online slagging matches. Were Abraham Lincoln alive today, it's entirely possible that he would be curating a vicious sub-Reddit geared toward discussing the best types of stove-pipe hats, where anyone who dissented from his views on the matter - 'As fuckin' tall as it can be' - were harassed and victimized by AL and the thread's mods. It is perhaps simply a matter of historical chance that this is not the world we live in.
All that is to say that Leo Varadkar personally called out an errant Brexiteer who commented on a post on his Twitter account over the weekend - and he seemed to take great joy in doing so. Leo's post that this 'harry charlton' took umbrage with was highlighting a speech made by the Taoiseach in support of Ireland's bid to join the United Nations' Security Council. It contained a quote from his speech, that read thusly:
Speaking this morning at the @AsiaEuropeMtg and seeking support for #IrelandUNSC campaign: ‘We want to bring the voice, experience and commitment of a small country to the biggest stage of all when decisions are being made about the future of this planet’ pic.twitter.com/lBysV3IcFD
— Leo Varadkar (@campaignforleo) October 19, 2018
It is to this Tweet that 'harry charlton' replied. We can see, from the content of his message - that he thinks Ireland's past fiscal irresponsibility, requiring one of the largest economic bailouts in human history - irks poor 'harry charlton'. It has irked him so much that he feels compelled to aggressively Tweet the head of a foreign state, but not so much that he's lost all sense of decorum and hasn't retained the wherewithal to censor his swearing. This is a peculiarly specific level of irk-dom wherein he resides.
Leo then sought to disabuse him of the inaccuracies in his statement, before plucking from the bountiful tree of low-hanging fruit of political put-downs that is Brexit, to serve a sly dig.
Have paid back all we borrowed from @IMFNews plus interest & early. Ireland has no budget deficit now and we have a Rainy Day Fund. Happy to do same for UK and help them out financially in the future if they need it for some reason...
— Leo Varadkar (@campaignforleo) October 20, 2018
While Donald Trump has undoubtedly forged the way for world-leaders rolling up their sleeves and jumping into the social media-fray in as uncomposed and undignified a way as is possible, we can be thankful that the Taoiseach at least manages to keep some sort of high-ground during his trolling. And at least he is not Theresa May who, I know for a fact, is still attempting to haze people on the, sadly defunct, local messaging service Yik Yak.