The flamboyant, ridiculous mixed martial arts fighter Conor McGregor is considering a run for the Irish presidency. ‘Potential competition if I run,’ he tweeted yesterday, along with a picture of Gerry Adams, Bertie Ahern and Enda Kenny, the three septuagenarian current favourites for the job. ‘Each with unbreakable ties to their individual parties politics… Or me, 35. Young, active, passionate, fresh skin in the game. I listen. I support. I adapt. I have no affiliation/bias/favoritism toward any party. They would genuinely be held to account regarding the current sway of public feeling. I’d even put it all to vote. There’d be votes every week to make sure. I can fund. It would not be me in power as President, people of Ireland. It would be me and you.’ No less a person than Elon Musk, the owner of the X platform, replied: ‘I think you could take them all single-handed. Not even fair.’
It’s tempting to dismiss McGregor’s bid as a typically absurd PR stunt from an athlete who, while young enough for politics, is past his prime as a fighter. He’s a publicity addict who spends a lot of time promoting various businesses on social media. But that would be to overlook the madness of global politics at the moment, the appeal of wrestling to the popular psyche, and the strangeness of what has been happening in Ireland in recent weeks.
More than Gerry, Bertie and Enda, Conor appears to have his finger on the Irish pulse. Shortly after a deeply distressing incident in Dublin two weeks ago, in which a mother and three children were stabbed, he took to social media in bombastic fashion, writing: ‘Ireland, we are at war’. The city then experienced its worst riots in recent history, with anger at suggestions that the attacker was a foreign national.