Leo Varadkar is the first Irish taoiseach to have the slightest grasp of pop culture. While critics have found his pop culture references - citing Love Actually ahead of a visit to 10 Downing St, writing a fanboy letter to Kylie Minogue - quite cloying, I've always thought people just don't like his taste .
Varadkar's politics are lamentable but unlike his rabbit-in-the-headlines approach to the general election campaign, he has remained calm and assured during this current crisis. His set-piece speeches often feature a little nod to the world beyond Ireland. His Paddy's Day speech ended on a Winston Churchill quote ('Never will so many ask so much of so few.') His address to the nation last night - where he announced Ireland was advancing into its next phase of lockdown - was more ominous, so he had to find a quote that truly inspired the plain people of Ireland.
So he dipped his toe into the Terminator universe.
'There is no fate but what we make for ourselves'. True words for a time of emergency. They're spoken by all of the main human characters in Terminator and Terminator 2 - John Connor, Sarah Connor and Michael Scott - as they seek motivation in the difficult battle against a crushing robot enemy. Varadkar spoke those same words last night.
🙁 When you realise Leo Varadkar only knows the one Terminator line
On Brexit in June 2018 ✅
On Coronavirus in March 2020 ✅
"There is no fate but what we make for ourselves." pic.twitter.com/I5b8wz13Sr
— Cillian O Conchuir (@Cilleroc) March 28, 2020
This is not the first time that Varadkar has used the line: 'There is no fate but what we make for ourselves.' Varadkar used the same line in a speech to a fintech summit in June 2018 in order to keep entrepreneurs calm about Brexit. So the line is clearly significant to him. Rather than tweak the man for finding poignancy in the Terminator, imagine the kinds of movies his peers and his predecessors would reference were they in charge during this global emergency.
Twitter enjoyed Leo's Terminator reference, as you'd expect they would:
"There is no fate but what we make for ourselves"
Leo Varadkar just quoted Terminator lmao #COVID19ireland pic.twitter.com/WDSqTdjSw5
— daní ᱬ (@LtMenalippe) March 27, 2020
Touching use of a quote from Terminator from our Taoiseach Leo Varadkar #NoFateButWhatWeMake #COVID19
— Dylan Murphy (@_DylanJM) March 27, 2020
"There is no fate but what we make ourselves"
- Sarah Connor
- Leo Varadkar
- Michael Scott#Terminator
— Seán (@GotGlint) March 27, 2020