Monday 18 December 2017

Lee made an ass of himself by opting for wrong party

Bruce Arnold

IT is difficult not to form the opinion that George Lee has made a complete ass of himself. He joined the wrong political party, brought to it limited economic ideas, and failed to explain them adequately and get them accepted. All this was exalted aspiration on his part. He had exaggerated views of his own importance, and when all of this fell apart he left in a huff.

After a week of blanket coverage we still do not know what he had to offer, what his policies were and why he failed to grasp the basic essentials that confront any new member of Dail Eireann. Despite the week expended on this story, Lee's departure is of less significance than Deirdre de Burca's resignation. The huge hyping of the story was in part the product of RTE's own exaggerated view of his importance. Olivia O'Leary has been a cheer leader for him, regretting his departure, calling for his return to the RTE fold and then welcoming him back.

It is difficult to see how he can return to what he did before without invoking serious questions about his objectivity, balance and fairness. On Monday night Pat Kenny abandoned his planned 'Frontline' programme in favour of an hour with Lee. The programme was structured in a way that protected Lee from direct questioning. Instead, Kenny acted as go-between. But there wasn't much going between. Early in the programme a member of the audience raised a question all of us wanted answered: what were the George Lee policies he had brought with him from broadcast comment and analysis to the harsh realities of the Dail?

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