Colette Fitzpatrick: My warning to crash-diet politicians
Politicians have often been accused of sticking their snouts in the expenses trough, but now some of our TDs and senators have signed up to a new healthy eating regime.
Well, as a self-confessed serial dieter, I have some food for thought for them. Guys, it's easy to lose weight (I've done it hundreds of times), keeping it off is the inconvenience.
Crash-dieting just to hit some magic number on the scales is for fools who can't think long term.
Is the next general election in your sights? Got an LBD you need to squeeze into? It's the equivalent to parachuting a celebrity candidate into a constituency. Sure, it'll get you immediate headlines and admiration, but will you stick at it? Winning that seat, or getting into that dress, can be short-lived, and all the promises you made about 'change' and a 'new regime' evaporate when you reach the magic number. I'm slimmer now, so carbicide here I come.
Politicians are notorious for either eating on the run -- a cardinal sin of dieters, or chowing down to a freebie slap-up meal with all the extras -- gravy, buttery potatoes, dessert and wine. After admitting he could pinch more than an inch, Davis Norris shed extra weight on Operation Transformation. But he's admitted to falling off the wagon and piling it back on. I hope the Senator doesn't lose too much. A bony, drawn politician is about as appealing as a plate of limp salad.
The idea of newer, leaner, healthier politicians is all well and good, but I do hope they're better at watching their waistlines than they have been at looking after taxpayers' money.
This column was brought to you by a voter whose diet may not be as healthy as it always should be, but who, after years of being fed a diet of political slime, always, always has a healthy dose of scepticism when it comes to political motives.
Bono? Ireland's greatest? Please. Ireland's greatest (and shortest) egomaniac is a little more like it
I WONDER if anyone bothered recording Ireland's Greatest this week on Bono, other than the man himself? What a love-in.
Message boards online are hopping with better-suggested titles for the show that would have worked just as well. Ireland's Greatest Tax-Avoider, Ireland's Greatest Tool, Ireland's Greatest Self-Promoter, Ireland's Greatest Egomaniac and, my favourite, Ireland's Greatest Shortarse.
Incredibly, it was after thousands of public votes that the search for Ireland's Greatest was narrowed down to the final five -- Michael Collins (The Big Fella), Bono (the small fella), James Connolly (the baldy fella), John Hume (the Northern fella) and Mary Robinson (the only woman among the fellas). It was a public vote, so no rigging -- and we have no one to blame but ourselves.
Believe it or not, even Stephen Gately made it to the final 10, just missing out on being included in the top five. Ahead of the likes of Wolfe Tone, Daniel O'Connell, Parnell, Joyce, Yeats or Beckett.
Colin Farrell, Ronan Keating, Daniel O'Donnell, Louis Walsh were in there too.
God preserve us.
Why not throw Jedward into the mix? Or my local barman -- sure he's only great. Did those who voted for the likes of Gately have their tongues tucked firmly into their cheeks? The guy who drove the cement truck at the Dail this week is a far better choice, in my book.
You have to either believe that Bono is a dose with a Napoleonic complex and having him on the list devalues the entire series; that he is sanctimonious and the epitome of the smoked-salmon socialist, a bar-stool liberal; and that it's pretty handy that doing charity work in the Third World helps boost album sales and your self image and you get to snuggle up to Oprah.
Or you think that as a race, we Irish are a bunch of begrudgers and are suspicious of anyone who's successful; that someone who uses his celebrity to bring attention to the plight of others in the Third World, harassing and embarrassing governments, can't be described as anything other than altruistic and selfless.
Bono himself summed up our mentality on the Late Late once.
He said Americans look at the guy in the big house on the hill and think to themselves 'some day I want to be that guy'. Irish people, he said, look at the guy in the big house on the hill and think 'some day I'm going to get that guy'.
Next week on Ireland's Greatest, Mary Robinson will be given the Pimp my Public Figure treatment. Blessed is she amongst men, I suppose.
Bono, Ireland's Greatest? Give me a break. A tax break.
When it comes to greatest Irish person ever, we still haven't found what we're looking for...