Copyright Victoria Mary Clarke 2008
I have never given much thought to the Presidency of our glorious country, if the truth be told. As a child, I had very little interest in politics, and as a teenager I emigrated to England, where the Queen seemed a much more glamorous figure, with her ermine cloaks and diamonds than our Presidents had ever seemed. And it was only with mild curiosity that I noted that at some point in our history we got a female President, Mary Robinson. It was a nice change to have a woman in a position that had only ever been held by old men, but even still, the position of President of Ireland never really grabbed my attention, because the President doesn’t run the country.
If I ever thought of Mary Robinson, I thought of her as a nice, respectable, clearly hard working and well intentioned lady, who was very popular and who definitely improved Ireland’s appearance, abroad. When they switched the President for another one, I got excited about it briefly, when the notion of Adi Roche being elected was a possibility, because Adi seemed so very passionate, and her heart was in the right place, but that wasn’t to be.
At the moment, we have another female President, Mary MacAleese, a woman I have not met and know very little about, but by all accounts she does a great job. I have now got quite used to the idea that Ireland will always have a very nice woman President and a very corrupt male Taoiseach, kind of a Good Mammy/Bad Daddy syndrome. We wish the Good Mammy were in charge, but that may never happen, and so we have to hope that the Bad Daddy will occasionally look to he,r and be inspired to act in more caring, nurturing and compassionate ways, ways that help the young and vulnerable, the sick and the poor, instead of the rich property developers and construction companies and such like.
It had seemed to me that there was about as much chance of this happening as of me winning the Lotto. No matter how hard I pray, it never happens. But one day this week, an idea was suggested which may well change all that. In the Telegraph, a journalist called Justine Picardie got a rare opportunity to interview the lovely Ali Hewson. And in that interview, she suggested to Ali that she might run for President. At the very moment that I was reading the interview, an apple came from nowhere and landed on my head. ‘Eureka!’ I said to myself. ‘That’s it! That’s what will save this country from the Gombeen Men! Ali Hewson!’
Of course, being the self-centred individual that I am, I then had a second thought. ‘But what about me? Why shouldn’t I be President?’ After all, I am a rock chick too, and have dedicated twenty two years to preserving the National Monument that is Shane Mac Gowan, surely a more taxing task then being married to Bono! I have also just been successfully Success-coached by Jack Canfield, the ‘Success-coach to the Stars’ and re-programmed to the belief that I can do, be or achieve anything I decide to.
That idea was transitory. ‘Yes,’ I said to myself. ‘I could bloody well be President, if I wanted to. But Ali Hewson would be a much better choice. Because she is a phenomenally dedicated and caring woman, who has proved time and again that she is willing to work hard and make sacrifices, and focus her attention to caring for those that need help, and making the world a better place, with her Chernobyl Children’s Charity work, and her Edun clothing line as well as her new Nude eco-friendly cosmetics, and countless other visionary activities, all the while raising four kids. Miraculously, despite being possessed of movie star beauty and charisma, (like me) Ali has (unlike me) avoided the usual celebrity lifestyle and managed to not have affairs, or publicly documented nervous breakdowns, drug problems, or trips to The Priory and has not been tempted by Reality Telly programmes or posing naked for the papers. She is not a wimp, either. On the contrary, she is a woman who managed to sit her final exams while breast-feeding her first baby, despite a total lack of sleep. If I had a baby, I would require a team of nannies round the clock to look after it, and if I were doing exams I wouldn’t be able to consider not getting sleep. If I didn’t get enough sleep, I would just call the exam people and say I was having a lie in and I would do the exams another time.
Just imagining Ali as President gives me goose bumps. I haven’t spent that much time in her company, but every time I see her, she gets better looking, and she smells gorgeous, and has a sweet, sweet smile. I have never been particularly bothered about being Irish, I consider myself a Global citizen. But if Ali Hewson became President, I would probably become patriotic, and boast about where I come from. Just because it would be so nice to be identified with her values, as well as her charm.
Unfortunately, Ali has said that she couldn’t be President because she doesn’t speak Irish. I feel that this is just an excuse, because she could easily learn it. I suspect the real problem is that she is shy, and unlike Bono doesn’t enjoy the attention that comes with fame. She values her privacy, and knows that this would be sacrificed were she to become President. It is possible that the media attention she would attract could turn her into a Princess Diana type figure, or an Evita, constantly besieged by photographers and fans, just because this country has for so long lacked a strong role model, or any kind of icon to represent goodness. In fact the last person to fulfil that role for the Irish was probably Mary, the mother of Jesus. And Ali Hewson has the maternal, caring qualities of Mary, but she is also a flesh and blood person, and can make appearances to people who don’t have religious beliefs.
If ever there has been a time when we needed a strong role model for a more compassionate way of living, a way that is not rooted in showing off our new cars and clothes, this is it, because the Celtic Tiger is not a sustainable way of living, and is not long for this world. Ali, if you are reading this, I hope you will consider making the sacrifice, and taking over the Presidency, when the time comes. And one final wish (I don’t know if this is allowed) but once you have done that, maybe you would consider running the country?