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In brief: President bid could destroy Gay's reputation

GAY BYRNE probably thinks he has nothing to lose by publicly considering a bid for the Presidency. He's wrong.

Gay has a reputation. The reputation of being the greatest broadcaster that has ever lived. If he had finished The Late Late and totally, completely retired he wouldn't have to give a thought to maintaining that reputation. But he didn't. He stayed in the public eye as Chairman of the RSA, where he expressed more views and opinions than we had ever heard from him, albeit in the relatively narrow confines of road safety related issues.


In a campaign for the presidency we will learn what he thinks, feels and believes across a broad spectrum of issues. That process may forever change his legacy.

The nearest parallel was when Pele advertised Viagra. People worried that it would tarnish his image. He did not, and ultimately it did not. He knew that making money from erectile dysfunction would not harm his reputation; people didn't love him because of his potence in bed, they loved him because of his potence on the pitch.

And the latter is the legacy Pele protects to this day. He tries always to avoid being pictured or filmed kicking a football because he wants people to remember his footballing as that of a young sporting genius, not an ageing retiree.

So it is with Gay. He spent a career avoiding the expression of his own opinions, and in so doing he allowed his interviewees to believe he was totally objective and he allowed his fans to believe that he thought and felt just like they did. Gay is loved not because people agree with his opinions, he's loved because people believe he silently agrees with their opinions.

He should protect that belief, because it is central to his legacy.

Tubs, don't give it away

RYAN Tubridy has quit Twitter. The only surprise is that he was ever on it. He gets paid a huge amount of money to say things on Radio and TV. It therefore made no sense that he would do the same thing for free, by firing out little pellets of pointlessness to an audience a fraction of the size of the one he gets on the telly. It was the equivalent of a butcher spending his lunchbreak throwing sausages at strangers. Now we can only hope he has started a trend and the rest of RTE follows his lead.

Calm rioters with the zap of a Taser

TONS and tons of analysis has been poured into the UK riots. Sky News has been running a special called 'Why did they riot?' It's being treated like a major sociological puzzle.

There are doubtless a lot of contributing factors; social exclusion, lack of education, political disenfranchisement and societal inequity. But let's not over-complicate things. There's one main reason; free stuff. Free TVs DVDs, clothes, iPods, sneakers, laptops, booze and make-up.

On top of that, rioting is almost certainly great fun. (We aren't meant to say that, but did you see anyone in any of the footage who didn't look like they were having a good time?) This is why we need to see more use of Tasers; nothing takes the joy out of an evening's looting like 20,000 volts.

KOTHER than the rioters, the only person on the planet who seems to have enjoyed England's troubles was Muammar Gaddafi. His government put out a statement saying: "Cameron and his government must leave after the popular uprising against them and the violent repression of peaceful demonstrations by police. These demonstrations show that the British people reject this government, which is trying to impose itself through force." Nice to see Muammar hasn't lost his sense of humour.