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Mums singled out for scorn

On Sunday's Dunphy Show John Waters took on the powerful elite that has ruined everything: single mothers on social welfare.

Then fellow guest Jim Power, who accurately described himself as "not a sociologist", blamed the UK riots on the "liberal agenda" and advocated corporal punishment.

Former governor of Mountjoy John Lonergan suggested that they mightn't fully understand working-class problems.

Power seemed hurt by the suggestion that a middle-class economist mightn't understand ghetto life ("You don't have to live in a stable to understand the life of a horse," he said).

Waters, in contrast, insisted that he was actually working class and started listing his credentials. It was guest-host Ger Colleran who really put the boot in.

He said Waters' characterisation of single mothers was "an utterly disparaging way to view people", and queried why nobody brought such sociological analysis to the parenting of Seanie Fitzpatrick.

This was beside the point, apparently. Colleran's problem was, according to Waters, that "pseudo-compassion" had blinded him to the clear-thinking logic of a working-class, black woman like himself (I might be embellishing his sense of victimhood).


"It would be very easy for me to come out with pious platitudes and say I'm all in favour of being nice to the poor. Well, I think you could be killing the poor by being too nice to them," said Waters, before leaving the studio to go taunt the homeless (I made that bit up).

"What is love?" asked likeable host Jonathon McCrae during a discussion of men and women's supposedly different attitudes to the subject on Wednesday ("We're generalising," he said. "But it's fun to generalise.")

People were getting in touch to share their experiences. One 14-year-old girl texted about loving a boy who barely noticed her and co-host Michelle sympathetically recalled her own experiences as a teenager in love.

Another chap explained why he never strayed. "Why go out for McDonalds," he said, "when you've got a five-course meal at home?"

A nation said "aww!" not considering that he might have meant it literally. "Don't eat your girlfriend!" I yelled, just in case.

Later, a 16-year-old girl, channelling an old maid in her autumn years, said she had never known love. She had never had that "butterflies in the stomach" feeling.

Jonathon observed that people might find love with someone who wasn't "the butterfly person".

Then there was a discussion about this "butterfly person". The term made me picture a human/butterfly hybrid with flapping wings, polished shoes, carrying larvae in a suitcase and sitting alone at a speed-dating event.

"Marry the butterfly person!" I yelled. "He's freakish. No one else will love him."

("It's not a panto," said my wife, tired of me shouting at the radio.)

On Monday on 4FM, Gareth O'Callaghan was doing his 'Your Song' segment where he reads real-life stories over a soupy instrumental, followed by a euphoric pop-hit of the listener's choice.

A listener called Peter provided an uplifting tale of triumph over unemployment, praising his "rock of strength" (a human woman, not a Butterfly Person) and requesting the music of Linda Ronstadt.

Weeks before on 'Your Song', Aidan had written in about being torn between an old flame and his fiance weeks before his wedding. This week Gareth informed us that Aidan had emailed again and that he would tell us his final decision, "after the break".

After the break, I waited as Gareth played A-ha's Take On Me and Hot House Flowers' Don't Go. When he returned to the mike I sat up in anticipation. He would be telling us about Aidan's life-changing decision ... "Right after the news."


"Get on with it!" texted Pat from Cork after a few more classic hits.

Finally Gareth informed us that Aidan had gone ahead with his wedding, and I suddenly realised that I didn't care.

So I wrote a letter about the experience for next week's 'Your Song'. My musical choice will be Easy Lover by Phil Collins.

Donal Dineen has probably never played Easy Lover, but it was sad to hear his excellent Today FM music show would be ending soon.

Actually, after 14 years he probably has played Easy Lover at some point in his career.

Kudos to Mr Dineen.