Sleeping With The Enemy

Ireland has come a long way from De Valera’s vision of a country bright with cosy homesteads, laughing happy maidens and athletic youth. We are heading into the summer of 2007 full of talk about divorce, separation, co-habitation, promiscuity, arranged marriages, all manner of conception prevention and even forced abortion. Yes, we are in that three weeks of chaos called a General Election, a period when political stars promise the moon.

Bertie would prefer to remain faithful to Michael, though he is not too pushed about it, and he will play the field if it suits him. Enda and Pat have also agreed to tie the knot, but that looks like being anything other than a monogamous relationship. Whatever happens, there can be no double wedding, but there may well be a threesome, a foursome or even an orgy. This time we will be asked not so much to elect a government as to approve a conjugal arrangement. The election is not a debate about who will win, but about who will end up sleeping in whose bed. Of all the endless matchmaking possibilities, the two main proposals of wedlock could end up needing fertility treatment before any marriage can be consummated.
I do, I don’t, I might, I won’t. Labour Party leader Pat Rabbitte protests he doesn’t fancy Bertie and has no wish get into bed with him. But behind all his protestations (or lack of them), there appears to be a possibility of seduction, in the very face of his formal engagement to Enda. Cynics suggest that the wedding of Fine Gael and Labour is a desperate marriage of convenience, contrived just to grab the dowry.So far, the only partner who has not been proposed as a suitable spouse for Bertie is Enda, who harbours hopes of sleeping in the master bedroom himself. Even with our new found multi-cultural and multi-ethnic conversion, this is a mixed marriage the nation might well refuse to recognise, suspicious about the motivation and unconvinced about its fertility prospects, a bit like same sex marriage.

Pat Rabbitte maintains there is no prospect of marriage to Bertie, nor will there be one, and even if there is a proposal, he cannot say what his answer would be, because he won’t be asked the question (no, I can’t figure it either). The family can, apparently, decide for him, but only if he asks them, and he is not going to do that. Is that definite? Yes, absolutely. Well, maybe.

Rabbitte, lusty as his bunny namesake, desperately wants to marry his betrothed, Enda, even though there is little of the affection necessary for lasting nuptials. He says his insuperable differences with Bertie would lead to a loveless and inevitably unstable relationship. However, family considerations could mean we end up with an arranged marriage, even if the groom himself withdraws before the last minute rush up the aisle of Leinster House.

The PDs are about to go through a trial parting period, one they hope will only last about three weeks, but as with all these things, it could so easily become permanent, depending on assorted courting activities during the separation. The Rottweiler, like all domestic pets, will be sacrificed to the vet’s needle should family considerations demand. There is a good possibility that his invitation to the wedding will be cancelled altogether, so that could be that for his involvement in the post election hanky-panky.

Sinn Féin won’t share a bed with Fianna Fail, not that they have been asked! They say they don’t fancy Bertie and will refuse to get into bed with him in the unlikely event they are propositioned. They are already distracted trying to consummate their marriage to Dr Ian up in Belfast (after a shotgun wedding) but they are virgins south of the border and appear to be holding their purity for a proper church wedding on this part of the island. They would do well to keep in mind that the road to heaven is paved with good intentions and they would not be the first to fall at that virginal hurdle.

Meanwhile, in spite of being legally allowed to have a bigamous marriage, their relationship with Fianna Fail will be confined to occasional weekend flings in Belfast and London.

All is not rosy in the garden with the Green Party either. Their leader, Trevor Sargent is adamant that while he will not share Bertie’s bed. He will go to the wedding and will even join the bridal party on the honeymoon, but he will pass his spot in the bed to a brother or sister in the event that his family force an arranged marriage.

West Dublin Kerryman Joe Higgins doesn’t believe in marriage, preferring instead an existence free of any corporate union. Not for him the cosy comfort of a big warm double bed, Joe will slum it alone, if necessary in a single room in Mountjoy. He also has a problem with wedding presents

There are, of course, lots of other suitors. These come from all sorts of backgrounds but they are not really suitable bed-fellows, wanting, as they do, to maintain their independent lifestyles while having all the benefits of a stable marital relationship. They know they will not get Bertie’s hand in marriage but they will fight like Kilkenny cats for a seat at the top table. They are unapologetically promiscuous by nature and would just as soon hop into bed with Enda or Pat, or anyone who would offer them a small slice of wedding cake.

In the muddle of all this match-making we cannot help but conclude that this is not so much about who sleeps with whom, but how the bed is made and whether we want blankets or a duvet.

Meanwhile Bertie stretches out in his bed, hoping that the forthcoming bout will fluff up his pillow, or maybe change it for a softer, more feathery one.

Whatever the outcome, we can look forward to the wedding of the century. And, like most celebrity weddings that are conducted in a blaze of in-your-face publicity, it will not last very long.

© Ronan Quinlan 2007  

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