Who cares if the premier got high?
The Irish Times
Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar has admitted he inhaled, said Miriam Lord, and now that’s all the press wants to talk about. Varadkar, the 41-year-old head of the Fine Gael party, is up for re-election next month, and at a televised debate last week, he and his main rival were asked whether they had ever taken illegal drugs. Varadkar’s rival, Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin, smugly barked, “Never.” There was then a “painfully long pause” before Varadkar stammered, “Yes…but it was obviously a long time ago.” We already know this about Varadkar. The prime minister told an interviewer in 2011 that he “did a bit” of weed in college. Yet the press won’t let it go: “When did you stop taking drugs? What exactly did you take? How much? What are you hiding?” It’s obvious that reporters are chasing an easy high. “Manifestos and policy papers are boring,” and it’s hard to parse analyses of how the various parties will respond to Ireland’s coming challenges, including Brexit, climate change, and the housing crisis. How relaxing, instead, to take a deep drag of manufactured scandal. “Does anyone really give a flying fumbally whether Varadkar smoked, popped, snorted, swallowed, imbibed, or sniffed?” He’s been our prime minister since 2017. Let’s judge him on his record, not on whether he toked in his teenage years.