Sunday 17 November 2019

Curb mini-Berlusconis

Alan Shatter's opportunistic use of the Kate Middleton debacle to revisit the discredited media Privacy Bill represents yet another example of the deteriorating political character of this administration.

Though Mr Shatter got his answer from Pat Rabbitte, the opportunistic empathy for the British royals is symptomatic of the tendency of elements of this Government to behave like minor royals when questions are asked, in the public interest, about acts of political cronyism or their own complex personal affairs. Though Mr Shatter coated his pill with the usual decorative abuse about 'creeping keyhole journalism' the only 'creeping' that has occurred when it comes to the media in Ireland, is the attempt by a toxic duo of over-sensitive politicians and over-mighty barristers to bind the press in an ever tighter cleft stick.

Mr Shatter, who is one of the higher profile efflorescence's of this process, should be more circumspect, for he is unlikely to have things his own way in a Cabinet where more sophisticated political practitioners such as Joan Burton have expressed prescient concerns about the dangers to democracy of Berlusconi-style media complexes. A wise Taoiseach would curb the outbursts of his aspirant mini-Berlusconis and focus on pressing interests such as the damage done to Freedom of Information by a set of political predecessors this administration increasingly resembles.

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