Interview with Mick Wallace: Golden Lion King is ‘too busy saving the planet’ to have time for romance
Mick Wallace, or ‘The Golden Lion King’ as he is known by his fanbase in China, has been nonchalant about whether he committed political suicide when he voted against a European Parliament resolution endangering Russia’s invasion of the United States Ukraine is sentenced.
I may be more damaged than before, I don’t know,” said the Wexford MP Sunday independent from Brussels last week. “I expect ordinary people to stand by me. But I do not know. You can never predict how people will vote.”
Does he expect to run again in the 2024 European elections?
“I probably will. It’s too far away to say for sure, but I’d expect it.”
The MEP, along with his close ally Clare Daly, has long been a political controversy, but he feels the negative commentary on his stance on the invasion of Ukraine is “in the media and on Twitter” and does not reflect what the Irish public is feeling thinks him.
“We have always received a lot of criticism. I’ve been criticized since I entered politics in 2011. I have always received a lot of criticism from the media. I find the ordinary people of Ireland to be great people. I think the people of Ireland are so decent.”
Wallace is synonymous with Daly, also an independent MEP, and the duo are in sync on every political issue. They seem to come as a package deal – one is rarely seen publicly without the other. Is their relationship purely platonic?
“It’s a professional relationship. We work well together. I’ve been accused of having relationships with many women. I don’t have time for romance,” he said. “I’m too busy saving the planet.”
Wallace and Daly were two of just 13 MPs who voted against a European Parliament resolution earlier in March condemning the Russian invasion.
The couple said they could not support it as they also expressed their support for Nato and called for arms to be sent to Ukraine.
Condemnation from Ireland over their stance was harsh and swift, with accusations that they were pro-Russian.
But Wallace insisted his views had been distorted.
“For people in the media in Ireland to call me ‘Putin’s puppet’ is inaccurate. I never said anything in support of this right-wing neoliberal nationalist.
“Russia invaded Ukraine. That was a criminal act. It was 100pc wrong. Putin was wrong to invade Ukraine. I’m against war, I’m for peace.
“The way European countries have taken in Ukrainian refugees is commendable. But they should give the same care to other people fleeing countries like Syria and Afghanistan. Where’s the consistency? Aren’t they worthy because they’re not white and they’re not Christian?
“According to the UN, there are 400,000 dead in Yemen and 15.8 million in extreme poverty. We don’t give a fuck about you. You’re not the right color.”
The 66-year-old claims he is not being treated fairly in the Irish media for his stance on the Russian invasion. Together with Daly, he recently initiated a defamation case against RTÉ.
In stark contrast, Wallace and Daly’s relationship with the state-controlled media in Russia and China appears to be growing stronger. An investigation of Irish times last month showed the duo have become permanent fixtures on state television shows in Russia, China and Iran, regularly reaching millions of viewers.
Her speeches went viral multiple times in China, backed by Chinese government officials on the internet, earning Wallace his nickname of the “Golden Lion King” in that country. What does he think of the nickname?
“Lions are a nice animal. They are quite an influential animal. I could be called worse than a lion. The first thing I heard about it was in the Irish media. I’ve been labeled a lot worse in the Irish state media.”
So what about the forensic details in the Irish times Article about his relationship to the media in these authoritarian regimes?
“I haven’t even read it. Life is too short… If anyone wants to interview me, I will. Are you sure I’m not doing an interview with you? I was interviewed by Chinese state media and Russia Today. I was interviewed by RTÉ and they are state media too.”
He also doesn’t care about China’s human rights record, he said, stressing that Ireland’s social problems are comparable.
“There are human rights issues in Ireland. Look at our homelessness, look at access to housing and affordable health care.”
Wallace argues that priority should be given to a peaceful solution to the war in Ukraine and opposes sanctions against Russia.
“Ukraine had every right to defend itself. But I do not agree that Europe and the Americans are now pouring guns into the place. Ukraine has the largest army in Europe. Why doesn’t Zelenskyy ask for peace?
“The more guns we see will lead to more Ukrainian deaths. Biden should be directly involved in the search for peace. I would prefer if, instead of asking Biden for money and guns, Zelensky asked him to broker peace. It is possible.
“I’m not a Putin fan. But you can talk to anyone and you don’t have to like them. The Americans sat down with the Taliban. The British and the IRA sat down together. You can’t just say “Putin is crazy”.
“I would meet anyone. I would even meet Biden. Putin is a war criminal, but there are no nice world leaders…
“The sanctions did not end the war. They punish and weaken Russia, that’s the plan. But they have no effect on Putin, his supporters and the oligarchs. They concern the common Russian people. The sanctions will affect inflation and hurt the people of Europe.”
Closer to home, the former developer also has no time for the coalition.
“Micheál Martin and Leo should not be in government. The austerity measures of Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and Labor – that was a crime against humanity. Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael, I would love to see them all step down.
“I bloody love Irish. But it has to be the worst run country in the world.”
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/politics/mick-wallace-interview-golden-lion-king-is-too-busy-saving-the-planet-to-have-time-for-romance-41675117.html Interview with Mick Wallace: Golden Lion King is ‘too busy saving the planet’ to have time for romance