Back Chat: Have you got the X factor to save moronic FF from extinction?
She may have retired from bulletin reading but Anne Doyle is still making news. The revelation that the former RTÉ newscaster has turned down an approach from Fianna Fáil to run in next year's European elections is extremely telling. Despite their pious talk of repentance and reform, it seems, Micheál Martin and his backroom bozos are still wedded to the moronic culture of "showtime" politics.
The use of celebrity candidates has always been a favourite tactic among our political parties. Sportsmen in general and GAA sportsmen in particular were long regarded as the ideal election poster-boys. The competence and intelligence of these individuals never mattered. What counted was their instant familiarity and the feelgood aura that surrounds popular entertainers.
The quest for candidates with showbusiness pedigrees was by no means confined to Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael, with their shared devotion to the lowest common denominator. The Progressive Democrats presented themselves as a uniquely high-minded bunch yet no Irish party has demonstrated greater appetite for celebrity gilt by association. The frequency with which they sought to recruit radio and TV luminaries became a running joke in broadcasting circles. Despite vigorous lunching and cajolery, however, the PDs' ability to make VIP signings proved modest.
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