Saturday 17 March 2018

'Tory toff' clichés abound on dismal Brexit report

Tory name: Jacob Rees-Mogg
Tory name: Jacob Rees-Mogg
Darragh McManus

Darragh McManus

By voting 'Leave' in the Brexit referendum, according to Jonathan Healy, the people of the UK got "what they wanted - Britain wrenching themselves free from their European oppressors".

This was merely the opening salvo in one of the worst pieces of radio I've heard for quite a while. Introduced by Pat Kenny (Newstalk, Mon-Fri 9am) as a look at how "political in-fighting hasn't helped Theresa May's cause" in sorting out a deal, Healy's report was basically a tirade against the English and their stupid ways and their stupid decision to leave the EU.

I'm not exaggerating. In a slot that hardly lasted five minutes, we had Boris Johnson described as "the spoiled blond child… taking advantage of Mummy and Daddy fighting".

Because those Tory toffs, see, that's what they call their parents, yeah? They say Mummy and Daddy, which is clearly worthy of mockery. Isn't it?

Jacob Rees-Mogg, apparently, has "a suitably Tory name" (that's a direct quote.) Liam Fox, meanwhile, is "a chipper chap" - 'cause they use words like chipper as well! Oh, you crazy Brits.

Healy added: "There's something rather unique in Britain, admitting they might have got this wrong." Really? Why's that, now? Do we think that every British person is arrogant and pig-headed in real life, and not just in the clichéd representation of dumb Hollywood movies?

I think this was all supposed to be funny. It wasn't funny, though.

It's almost as if people want this process to go badly for Britain. Why would you want bad times to befall our closest neighbour and best friend? What a bizarre, spiteful attitude to take.

Meanwhile, the deplorable Tom Humphries saga finally ended this week, almost seven years after allegations of sexual assault broke. The disgraced journalist was sentenced to two years for heinous crimes against a girl, beginning when she was only 14 and lasting more than two years (in a bitter irony, about the same duration as that desultory tariff).

The fact that Humphries' case took so long to be resolved had inspired some far-out theories about media cover-ups and collusion, the old boys' club sticking together and so on. Well, radio has certainly not stinted on devoting airtime to this story, especially once the media was legally allowed to name the paedophile.

Tuesday's sentencing was covered extensively by Radio 1 (Morning Ireland, News at One, Sean O'Rourke, Drivetime, Liveline), The Last Word on Today FM, and Newstalk's Breakfast, Hard Shoulder, Pat Kenny, Lunchtime Live and elsewhere.

At one stage on Tuesday evening, I channel-hopped across four stations, all discussing the Humphries decision simultaneously. The various elements were analysed: the apparent leniency of Judge Karen O'Connor's ruling, character references, safety protocols for children and more.

A good and thorough job, across all stations, on a fairly appalling story. And by no means was there sympathy or support for Humphries, from broadcasters, guests or listeners' comments. Judgment was damning and unanimous: a predator who deserved a longer sentence, end of story.

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