There were jubilant scenes around Leo Varadkar’s camp last Friday, as the results of the Fine Gael leadership election came in, confirming that he would be the new leader of the party. Simon Coveney, however was visibly distraught as his dream’s of becoming the head of Fine Gael, and thus the probable successor to Enda Kenny as Taoiseach, came tumbling down around him.
Mr. Coveney’s misery has been compounded by the additional ignominy of breaking a tradition that has been ongoing since the foundation of Fine Gael in 1933. In all the years of the party’s existence, over the numerous leadership contests that have occurred, each, without fail, have been won by an openly straight man. Simon Coveney’s loss to Leo Varadkar marks the first time the party has deviated from this long standing tradition.
“It’s been very hard for Mr. Coveney,” said a representative from his campaign who spoke on condition of anonymity, “Despite it being known that he was trailing Mr. Varadkar in terms of the numbers of pledged Fine Gael supporters, he had been hoping for a miracle on election day. On top of losing, he’s really taken the whole focus on his heterosexuality very poorly.”
Many have said that Mr. Coveney had been playing up his hetero-normativity in the build up to the leadership contest in the hopes that the party would opt for consistency with its legacy of exclusively electing straight white men to its helm. There had been speculation that Mr. Coveney had hired a PR expert to help cultivate and project to the public a carefully constructed image of his heterosexuality.
“He’d spent thousands on bolstering his brand as ‘the straight candidate’,” continued our anonymous source, “He was careful to always be seen acting as classically ‘hetero’ as possible. Whether it was being seen either drinking mass-produced lager; or with his wife and their three biological children, each of whom have been produced through the act of fucking; or being photographed proudly wielding one of his vintage Playboys, it was all part of the act. Of course he has nothing against Leo or homosexuality, he just thought that historical precedent would be on his side in this. The tragic thing now that he’s lost is that he keeps prattling on about how we and the media should’ve focused purely on policy rather than on the sexuality of him or Leo- sorry on Leo Varadkar, Fine Gael’s first openly gay leader.”