Wednesday 13 December 2017

Radio: Weird worlds of politics and beauty pageants

The arrest of Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams has not affected the party's standing in the polls, it is claimed
The arrest of Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams has not affected the party's standing in the polls, it is claimed

Darragh Mcmanus

It may make sense to insiders and aficionados, but the world of politics seems weird to me. Both on macro and individual levels, there's something slightly odd about this circus and the people performing in it.

Here's some random(ish) stories from the last week of council and European electioneering, to prove my point. Breakfast (Newstalk, Mon-Fri 6.30am) sent reporter Kieran Cuddihy on the hustings with Sinn Fein's Gerry Adams.

The fact that Adams is a TD in the Republic, after spending his whole life in the North, is weird enough. Then Cuddihy said the Sinn Fein man had pretended to be a Belfast pizza shop when the reporter made contact – what?

Of course, Jean McConville was addressed too (or rather, not really addressed at all). A parliamentary party leader being questioned by police in connection with murder? That's definitely not normal.

Meanwhile, Newstalk's Lunchtime (Mon-Fri 12.30pm) had Suzanne Lynch discussing and explaining exactly what it is the European Parliament does, and what Irish MEPS do there.

Our representatives, perhaps surprisingly, have good attendance records. The inner naïf says they're great people, working hard, far from home. The inner cynic says it's for the air miles and other expenses. But what I took from it is that, ultimately, our MEPs don't have much power.

We, as a country, don't have much power. Which makes you wonder why we bother electing MEPs in the first place.

On Drivetime (Radio 1, Mon-Fri 4.30pm), Barry Lenihan's report had one independent candidate on RTE criticising, eh, RTE for ignoring independent candidates. Another man was standing for the EU parliament on a self-confessed anti-EU platform. Weird.

However, all of this pales in comparison with a different form of election campaign: the beauty pageant. The Tubridy Show (2FM, Mon-Fri 9am) this week launched something called the 2fm Miss Personality competition, which will involve live interviews with competing "girls" next week.

You want weird? This is primo-grade weird.

Why in the name of Hugh Hefner is a state-funded broadcaster running a beauty pageant?

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