Tuesday 24 April 2018

Radio: Running election for President gets my vote

Tilt at the Áras: Senator Gerard Craughwell
Tilt at the Áras: Senator Gerard Craughwell
Darragh McManus

Darragh McManus

Should Michael D Higgins run for President again? The Pat Kenny Show (Newstalk, Mon-Fri 9am) heard from Senator Gerard Craughwell, who intends to stand against the incumbent if he goes back on an earlier declaration that he'd only serve one term in the Big House (that's Áras an Uachtaráin, by the way, not a prison somewhere).

Lots of people appear to support the notion of a two-term Mickey D, but Mr Craughwell does not. A former TUI (Teachers' Union of Ireland) president and now a senator - part of some boondoggle called the Cultural and Educational Panel - he doesn't, at first glance, strike you as hugely impressive.

Craughwell speaks in the overly modulated voice-tones of an Eamon Gilmore or Pat Rabbitte… oh, most politicians really. He uses lots and lots, and lots more, of political jargon and clichés.

However. None of this means Craughwell is wrong in what he says about Michael D, which can be summarised: he said he'd only serve one term, and while he's entitled to change his mind on that, it should now be voted on by the people. It would be undemocratic for a second term just to be presented as a fait accompli by the political establishment.

Irony

We had a classic 'outrage' explosion on Liveline (Radio 1, Mon-Fri 1.45pm), after a British website called Country Squire wrote something stupid about Ireland and Irish people. (It's possible the article was cack-handed and unfunny irony, but we won't go off on that tangent.) Really, that's about the sum of it - but callers to Liveline were affronted, enraged, shocked and appalled.

I'm not being contrarian for the sake of it, but… so what? So some obnoxious idiot called Jim Browne writes nasty things about this country. What of it? I don't particularly like it/him/his words, but he's entitled to be obnoxious and stupid.

And you're entitled to ignore him, make fun of him, slag him back, try to change his mind, whatever… I favour ignoring, which is actually quite easy to do. Like, unless the guy is shouting in your ear, it's pretty straightforward to tune him out. But calling it, as one contributor did, "racism at its worst" - this is an overreaction, no? Surely something like the Holocaust is "racism at its worst".

This, on the other hand, is literally someone name-calling. It's a schoolyard idiot. It's a loudmouth moron shouting outside the pub. It's just words. Sticks and stones, remember?

Journalist Ken Murray told Joe that he'd reported the article to the London police, which I find scarcely believable. It's now illegal to be an eejit? Sure in that case, half the population would be locked up.

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