Thursday, May 17, 2007
RTE is the weakest link
When Margaret Thatcher became leader of the Conservative Party in Great Britain in 1978, she turned down an invitation to debate Prime Minister James Callaghan on television. The decision was probably based on the knowledge that she wouldn't win, but the reason her team gave at the time was that a president was not being chosen, so why should the two leaders of the parties debate each other?
I wonder the same thing about the Irish elections. Do people in Ireland really vote on who they want to see as Taoiseach, or do they vote based on what the local representative of a particular party can do for them and their local area? Unless you're in Bertie Ahern's constituency, you're not voting for him directly, so what's the point of the debate, really?
Nevertheless, RTE have spent the entire morning so far talking about last night's ridiculous festival of name-calling between the possible Tanaisti (is that the right plural?), and trying to get people to watch tonight's debate between Bertie Ahern and Enda Kenny. They talked about it on Morning Ireland, where I got to hear Michael McDowell's "oh no he di'nt!" line that he's clearly been batting around the office for weeks, about being on stage with the left, the hard left, and the left overs. Leftovers, geddit? It's great to live in a country where the kind of line they trot out for the lineup section on Never Mind the Buzzcocks is considered cutting satire. And there was Pat Rabbitte's line about McDowell being like a "menopausal Paris Hilton; he's an inveterate attention-seeker".
Oh please. I may not watch the debate tonight (let's face it, I won't), but thanks to Morning Ireland, Ryan Tubridy, and Pat Kenny, and their tireless self-advertising that passes for current affairs programming, at least I know it's on.