Fine Gael’s bizarre approach to TV debates.

This is what Alan Shatter is quoted as saying in today’s Irish Times:  

” Meanwhile, Fine Gael justice spokesman Alan Shatter said yesterday he expected the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland to step in and stop any broadcaster from going ahead with a leaders’ debate without Enda Kenny. Mr Shatter accused TV3 of being “delusional” if they believed they could dictate the format of an electoral debate. He warned that any attempt to go without Mr Kenny would be in breach of the Broadcasting Act which mandates broadcasters to be fair and impartial.”

What if FF, Labour and TV3 decide to go to court, and make the argument that Fine Gael do not have the right to prevent other people to debate if they are offered an equal place themselves? The Broadcasting Act requires fairness. But it doesn’t give a veto. Yet that’s how Fine Gael want to spend the first week of the campaign? Seriously? Highlighting their fears about their leader’s inability to perform on the night? Is there anyone who really believes that Fine Gael are worried about John Gormley and Gerry Adams not getting a fair shake of the stick?

Fine Gael can’t stop FF and Labour hosting their own web debate. Journalists will turn up, many people people will watch online (not as many as on TV, admittedly), and Fine Gael ends up looking bizarre, especially if an empty podium with a Fine Gael logo is left on the set. That is not the way to start an election campaign. 

3 thoughts on “Fine Gael’s bizarre approach to TV debates.

  1. On what logic do you have a three-way debate? If it is on the outgoing Dáil, then the only creible participants are Kenny and Martin. If it is on opinion polls, then you have FG in the mid-thirties, Labour about 20ish, ans SF, FF and the Indos all about the same. So, you either exclude all but FG and Labour or you include everyone. So on what logic do you operate? If it is logic that is used…

    The simple fact is that there is no basis for viewing Martin as a potential Taoiseach – no other party has said they’ll enter (or even consider entering) government with FF and they don’t have anything close to the support to suggest they”ll get an overall majority. They should be treated like a party with support in the mid-teens, not as a driving force in Irish politics. A lot of people in Irish politics – especially those with leanings towards FF either overt or hidden – have yet to get this idea into their head, and still insist on treating FF as the most important and critical party. They are not – end of.

  2. Dead right. Couldn’t believe Shatter’s performance on Vincent Browne. Looking for loopholes and legal cover from having to debate. Really expected better.

    What a monumental error to make at the beginning of the campaign. Now, they either cave in and do all the debates – which Enda Kenny may well lose (although expectations are low) – or they stick to this tactic and spend four weeks being accused of running scared.

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