Entertainment Radio

Sunday 25 August 2019

'Bumbling Boris' may be little more than an act after all


Boris Johnson
Boris Johnson
Darragh McManus

Darragh McManus

After what felt at times like an interminable process, Boris has finally been elected leader of the British Tory party, and thus the next prime minister and a figure of some importance to us here in Ireland. Joe Duffy on Liveline (Radio 1, Mon-Fri 1.45pm) spoke of "the height of chaos in the UK, if you're to listen to commentators and radio presenters".

One of them was his guest: James O'Brien of London station LBC. O'Brien takes an unashamedly anti-Brexit stance, and whether he's right or wrong, what I found interesting was the way he described the thinking of hardcore Brexiteers: as so often in politics, ideology of whatever stripe can hold sway over logic, facts or even self-interest.

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"It's an article of faith for them," he said. "It's got an air of religion to it, as opposed to evidence-based analysis…(Some) people's entire careers, and to an extent their lives, have been built to a large degree on a perception of the European Union… To discover that this enemy at the gates is not an enemy at all is almost an existential threat to their intellectual security."

The Beyond Today podcast (BBC Sounds) asked the simple question: who is Boris Johnson? As we heard from presenter Matthew Price and a host of contributors, including BBC Radio 2 presenter Jeremy Vine, he's a man who "has made a lot of mistakes along the way - but in the end, his ambition and the sheer force of his personality got him (to Number 10)."

One of his recent gaffes involved Ireland, of course, with Johnson wondering why the Taoiseach wasn't called Murphy, "like all the rest of them". But they're legion: so many that the listener was left wondering by the end if the "bumbling schoolboy" persona isn't in fact a pose, covering an astute and very determined political operator.

A much nicer kind of "world event" takes place in Waterford this weekend, when the GAA World Games welcomes dozens of clubs from around the globe for matches with domestic opponents. As we learned on The Marty Squad (Radio 1, Sun 6pm), it's not all Irish ex-pats, returning home.

Many of the players are foreign-born with no Irish connections, such as the Chinese woman - called Fan, but her "Irish name" is Ciara - who got into GAA at university in Guangzhou, via her Irish teacher. She's been playing camogie for three years.

Meanwhile Dan Dan - AKA Sinéad - from Shanghai fell in love with "these fantastic games" through an Irish friend. Her mother's a big fan now, too.

The Last Word's (Today FM, Mon-Fri 4.30pm) musical gurus, the reliably and entertainingly curmudgeonly John Caddell and Larissa Nolan, picked their best summer songs. Classics every one - but no place for Whigfield's 'Saturday Night'? For shame.

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