Saturday 24 March 2018

Ten things to watch out for on tonight’s Prime Time European elections debate

Prime Time Presenters Miriam O'Callaghan, Claire Byrne and David McCullagh in studio together.
Prime Time Presenters Miriam O'Callaghan, Claire Byrne and David McCullagh in studio together.
Brian O'Reilly

Brian O'Reilly

TONIGHT sees the final of RTE Prime Time’s European election debates.

It’s not often our politicians prove entertaining, but as the last two nights have shown – debates are the exception to the rule.

So what can us weary electorate expect tonight? Crack out the popcorn.

The fringe candidates

Ah yes. Mr and Mrs looper, taking the opportunity they will never be afforded again to air their view on national TV.

Usually confined to ranting on their unread blog, trolling politicians on Twitter or desperately ringing Liveline, this is their time to shine.

“Wait, you want me to come on live TV and tell the country why I believe the EU is an alien illuminati conspiracy hell-bent on taking over the world through mind control chips in our microwaves? I’m there!”

On both nights so far RTE has decided to keep the best of the bunch to the second part of the broadcast, so don’t be too upset if you miss the first part.


The ‘new guy’ excuse

The political equivalent of ‘but it’s my first day’.

“I’m proud to stand for this party. I believe in this party. But I completely disown everything they have done politically up until this point.”

Certain parties will use this more than others in this election, but all have been guilty of using it in the past.


The props

Oh, the old fashioned prop.

Nothing makes your half-baked argument more believable than when you wave a concocted list of facts you printed off Wikipedia 11 minutes before going on air in your opponent’s face.

Pens are also a favourite prop – rather than looking lost and confused admitting a line of discussion is lost on them, our candidates will feverishly write on a sheet of paper while their opponents argue.

What they write remains a closely guarded mystery. Shopping list? Never-to-be-published crime novel? Who knows.


The fantasists

An important part of going for any job is reading the description of the role before the interview.

Some of our candidates clearly overestimate the meagre power they will have should they be elected an MEP.

“Yes, when I’m elected I will begin Ireland’s much-needed space exploration program, make every Monday a bank holiday and have leprechauns hand-deliver a pot of gold to every household.”


Muffled noise

It happens in every debate. Every time.

The candidates become so outraged over the outrage on that outrageous issue, that they can’t help but shout over each other.

The new debate rules should automatically be candidates have a hip hop dance off in the event of shouting.


The Europe haters

Not Eurosceptics. These are a different breed altogether. These are the ones are the ones who want to destroy the EU.

Their method would appear to be some modern Trojan horse-style system of attack, whereby they will dismantle it from the cushy junket-filled inside.

You’ve a better chance of dismantling the EU by strapping some dynamite to yourself and doing it kamikaze style.


Exacerbated presenters

I bet they draw straws on who gets to present the second part of the programme. They all want the first part with the current elected crop and an early night.

Last night poor Claire Byrne just looked as if she was pining to go back to presenting the afternoon show she did with Daithi.

The champion of the world knitting championship and a mother explaining how her son got a lollypop stuck up his nose made for an easier life than that crowd.


Irrelevant questions

“What would you do about water charges? And how would you stop the pylons?”

You may as well be asking Jedward how they’re going to de-escalate the crisis in Ukraine.

More relevant questions would be: “Are the seats in the parliament comfortable? Do you pretend you actually have make-believe powers when you’re voting? Is there really a secret room where MEPs have money fights with piles of  Euro notes?”


Dodgy clothes

You’re on national television. Hundreds of thousands of people are watching. But you just picked up that shirt at the top of the laundry basket.

And who needs to iron? You’re going to iron out those pesky Euro politicians.

Thank goodness it’s not smellovision.


The Meltdown

Ah, the classic meltdown.

Things aren’t going your way, you’re counting down the clock.

What do you do? Attack everyone - it's clearly the only logical thing to do.

You’re against everything. You’re against that party. You're against your own party. You’re a maverick who breaks the rules. You’re an unemployed politician come May 24th.


Twitter: @Brian_O_Reilly

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