Saturday 25 November 2017

Cutting short 'The Sunday Show' is a funny game to play

Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin TD. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins
Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin TD. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins
Darragh McManus

Darragh McManus

Two weeks ago, I put the boot into far-left politicians for the weird, robotic, surreal way they speak. Some people took this as evidence that us journos are just mouthpieces for the Establishment.

Au contraire - to redress the balance, I will now put the boot into mainstream parties. Exhibit A: Micheál Martin, challenging Enda Kenny to a debate on Morning Ireland (Radio 1, Mon-Fri 7.30am). It's not just Martin, let me stress; indeed he's one of the more intelligent politicians.

They're almost all like this, and it's almost always this dismal. Really - dismal is the only word.

We're blessed in Ireland that we don't get rabid, power-crazed fascists in office. But must our public representatives be so uninspiring, petty, grouchy, visionless? Everything is so small, dull and tedious.

It's like listening to children, constantly exhorting their own achievements and telling tales on the others. That was our achievement, not theirs; they broke their promise on such-and-such; we're the only ones to try to solve this; they're afraid of being caught out.

On and on they drone. Even Martin's main point, about Kenny's reluctance to debate, is meaningless and stupid to everyone, except political wonks who love all that bear-baiting at the rostrum.

Enda has many faults, but to pick this one is redundant. So he's useless at debates - so what? He's not going for extra brownie points in school.

Again: Micheál Martin isn't the only depressing dullard in politics; 90pc are worse. He's merely the one who caught me at a bad time.

Also annoying was The Sunday Show (Newstalk, Sun 11am) cutting short by an entire hour to facilitate commentary from a soccer match. I'm blue in the face saying this, but what the hell, we'll go again: the amount of people interested in sport is far less than programmers think.

This wasn't even a big event: an Ireland international, an All-Ireland final, a major Champions League or Premier League game.

It was West Ham versus Spurs: a mid-season dogfight, between two clubs who won't win anything, in a different country.

You're talking about a minority of a minority of a minority. This decision said to the non-sporting majority - their own listeners - "So you've tuned in as usual for news, discussion, politics, media, movies and whatever else? You can tune right back out again, because we're off for this non-event that most of you couldn't give a damn about."

I must add in passing, Dave McIntyre is as good a sports commentator as there is. His colourful phrase, "A rather agricultural hoik of the ball", made me laugh aloud.

But still, does this behaviour make sense? Maybe, but it seems very strange to me.

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