The line-up for the Irish election was looking distinctly shaky: a former terrorist/freedom fighter (take your pick) whose erstwhile friends didn't recognise Ireland as a state, a couple of hacks, a Tennessee-dwelling hard-right Catholic-rights former Eurovision, an Apprentice (or something) competitor involved in handling political donations from a criminal, a man who was in and out of the race depending on what the papers found in his love-life, and Michael D Higgins.
For a while, it looked like the classic failure-of-the-state election, in which the TV bullshitter would win because confidence in the governing class had been hollowed out by 80 years of cronyism, corruption and incompetence.
But huzzah for Ireland (and take note UK, with your silly hereditary nonsense): the people have elected Michael D Higgins.
Academic? Oh yes.
Poet? You bet.
Founder of the Irish-language TV station.
Anti-war? Not half.
Friend of the oppressed.
Invested public money in museums and Irish film.
Ended political censorship.
Now that, my friends, is my idea of a political leader.