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Darragh McManus on radio: Looking forward to a vote-getting election slogan



Richard Curran

Richard Curran

Richard Curran

Elections, as only the most naïve among us knows, are all about selling a dream. And how better to deliver an alluring promise, to market yourself and your policies, than with a catchy and memorable campaign slogan?

Pity nobody told Fine Gael wonks this, though, as their slogan - 'A Future To Look Forward To' - is tautological and meaningless. Sure where else would you look towards the future, but forwards?

The Business (Radio 1, Sat 10am) looked at election slogans and gimmicks, past and present, ranging from the succinct and successful - the Tories' 'Labour Isn't Working' during the Thatcher era - to the dull, pointless and, in the case of those awful election songs we suffered, surreal and borderline horrific.

Richard Curran asked John Fanning, lecturer at the Smurfit Business School, if we in Ireland do election slogans well. He replied flatly, "Not really, no, I don't think so."

So what does work, then? According to Kate Shanahan, head of journalism at TU Dublin, "The main thing is when the slogan is coming out of some sense of reality; it's authentic. If it's quite meaningless, it doesn't bother you too much - but it doesn't excite you either. And that slogan dies."

Interestingly, they name-checked two Brexit catchphrases as influential: 'Take back control' before the vote, and 'Get Brexit done' more recently. Short and snappy, with a clear message that sticks in the brain.

Moncrieff (Newstalk, Mon-Fri 2pm) returned with its very enjoyable rapid-fire politician interviews, beginning with Green Party leader Eamon Ryan.

Politics - indeed the whole grand whirl of human life - is, at its heart, absurd and risible.

The quick-fire quiz acknowledges that. It's not sneering at the subjects, it's not nihilistic - it's merely recognising the importance of keeping a sense of perspective, and even more importantly, humour.

The format is three minutes of questions from Sean - roughly 40 in all - then three more from schoolchildren. Ryan gamely answered and got into the spirit of the thing. His "yes" to the enduring conundrum of "would you put pineapple on pizza?" had the host wryly describing it as "this contentious issue".

Away from the election, the Ted Talk Radio Hour (Newstalk, Sun 8pm) featured a fascinating lecture from Indre Viskontas, a neuroscientist and operatic soprano - ooh, I hate these ridiculously accomplished people - on how the application of science can make for better art.

And a News at One (Radio 1, Mon-Fri) report that 24,500 had applied to manage three cottages on the Blasket Islands was mind-blowing. Any chance some incoming Minister might look at properly repopulating them?

Indo Review