The Blog

What Kind of Week Has It Been? 16 May 2014

With election time all over Europe so close, it's nice to see that a potent political message doesn't always have to be sent by apparatchiks, lobbyists or plenary session-istas. Sometimes it can be sent by revellers getting tanked on Eurovision drinking games celebrating Thomas Neuwirth's right to be Conchita Wurst.

While there were some discrepancies in who the public liked and the jury liked (Poland's entry was considered rather on the nose by the jury, but that's apparently right where voters wanted it), Conchita won by a commanding margin, even getting a few points from Russia. Any hope of detente though was cut off at the pass by the usual political rhetoric, the bitterly ironic religious rhetoric and the decision that beards are so gay now. Russia may be no friend of Conchita but she does one new very powerful ally: Cher. Putin may have a strong army he's not afraid to use, but can he rally troops like this?

Ireland was one of the countries to give Austria 12 points, but come Monday morning the nation's top brass were much more concerned with a very different kind of hair piece. Donald Trump came to Ireland with a view to making one of those awful golf courses of his, and a host of local dignataries including the bloody Finance Minister met off the plane with red carpets and everything. Despite the environmental concerns, despite the suggestions it'll be done on the cheap, despite other more concrete employers not receiving such obsequiousness and despite Trump being a terrible, terrible person, a rich man blowing on The Jobs Conch will always get exactly what he wants in Ireland. That's the thing about being the Land of a Thousand Welcomes, not all of them will be particularly sincere.

You have to wonder what it was internet entrepreneur Paddy Cosgrave was getting at then when he announced his own jobs spree at the end of last week, but with some pretty stringent, assholic requirements. Is his genuine view that Trinity College Uber Alles, but failing that a First somewhere else will do? Is it an indication of misplaced elitism, or is he trolling for publicity? Whatever the answer to those questions, his former college lecturer showed even a Trinity degree holder can still get schooled.

At the other end of the spectrum Russell Brand has offered his advice on working hard for grades for A levels this week: don't. He cited the fact he's on the syllabus despite getting a results sheet like a selection of Countdown letters, but he was inevitably met with scowls of derision from people saying he should be a better role model.Though he has a point, it doesn't hurt to try and get a few extra points wherever you can. Just ask Liverpool.

Despite having previous, David Cameron has managed to stay clear of passing comment of Russell's recklessness, but he's had his hands busy defending that ostensibly clean cut role model, Gary Barlow. A Million Love Songs' royalties later, here he is, avoiding tax. I suppose he'll just have to Pray he keeps his OBE, but I wouldn't be Sure, So Sure. Either way, this will be a week he'll Never Forget, as It Only Takes A Minute to badly damage a reputation...sorry.

While the Prime Minister defends Take That, Nigel Farage has been told 'Away Ta Fuck' in Belfast, as he was denied permission to film in the city centre Crown Bar. Down South, Taoiseach Enda Kenny had a UKIP-esque response to a canvasser in Galway about the touchy subject of water rates: Laugh patronisingly at her, and question her nationality. Except Farage has never really done anything that blatantly dickish. Enda, meanwhile, would do well to stay away from canvassing near fast food outlets, if news from Sligo is anything to go by.

Pope Francis also got a bit rude this week while tweeting a prayer to the victims of the Turkish mine explosion, although completely inadvertently. So much so, that explaining the mistake to the Pope would be spectacularly awkward. Francis' spelling lapse may be because he has his head in the clouds recently considering the most ecumenical matter there is: should the Church baptise aliens? He reckons the answer should be yes. How far we've come in a short few years: Pope Francis would welcome a Martian, Pope Benedict would have turned Conchita at the door.