On The Frontline.

pat-kenny-frontlineWas asked by the lovely people of RTE to do “The Frontline” as one of the audience “pundits” last night. Don’t know why I do it, as I always feel when I have to be very short that I end up looking and sounding like a rabbit caught in headlights saying trite things: ” Eh. The EU. It’s good, like, eh.” I could see the RTE researcher looking at me and probably thinking “Jesus, we give him a chance and this is the best he could do? We might as well have  got someone to read the back off a box of cornflakes.”

Still, my good pal Andrea Pappin (she of the red shoes) did very well, and showed that she really has the television thing down. I predict big things for her.

As I’ve said before, I was never a fan of Pat Kenny on The Late Late, but he continues to impress in this format, and has realised that cutting through the political guff to specifics is good television, and something he does well. 

5 thoughts on “On The Frontline.

  1. Fergus,

    I think his strong views are tolerable because it is so rare for someone in Irish public life to express a strong view on anything. Most Irish politicians spend 80% of their time summing up a problem and the “pain and suffering” of all involved, and then call for, not a fixed idea like higher taxes to fund better services, but more likely ” a full scale comprehensive review.”

    We could replace most Irish TDs with an Eight Ball. It would be cheaper.

  2. You don’t think that Mr Kenny’s all-too-obvious strong views get in the way of rational discussion just a little too often ? Or is it OK because, even when they do, it makes – I definitely agree – “good television” ?

  3. Knowing her better then I do, I will certainly agree that it may not be her way, and I will happily retract the word “smug”. However, the rye smile and the “sure he wouldnt know any better” tone was a throw back to my experiences with Ireland For Europe and Gen Yes. It may not be intentional, but it is unnecessary. A factual error may be corrected without amending one’s tone and facial expression, and can be conveyed in a neutral voice. From my perspective, that one one interaction with Mr McGurk was enough to diminish the worthwhile, and enjoyable contribution she had made to the show. As I have said, it was the tone and smile which I became so accustomed to in I4E, which I was uncomfortable with, and I had always viewed it as condecending coming from those who had not even mobilised in 2008 when the Campaign was in a mess (not for one second am I suggesting that Ms Pappin or her organisation were not heavily involved in 2008, I am just speaking from the perspective of somebody who campaigned heavily for the ratification of the treaty in 2008, and was unaided by many of those who appeared out of the woodwork for the 2009 Campaign)

    P.S, i greatly appreciated your suggestion about prior discussion of the budget in the Oireachtas. It is wonderful that somebody has finally proffered the idea that Budget Day can be an incremental thing as opposed to one giant giveaway, or slash and burn job. Thanks for that !

  4. Patrick, I’m always curious what people mean by “condescending”. She corrected him on a factual point which was actually wrong. Have we reached a level of political debate where correcting factual errors is now regarded as “condescending”?

    As for “smug”, I’ll admit that there are plenty of smug people on the pro-European side. But having known and worked with her for quite a few years, smug is not a word people who know her well would use to describe her. More than almost anyone I have met in European politics, Andrea Pappin has tried to reach out and accomodate people from outside the traditional pro-European camp.

  5. Jason,

    Do me a major favour and tell Ms Pappin not to be so condescending when dealing with matters of the EU and the Integration Treaties. It was this type of condesending attitude which was rife in groups like “We Belong” and “Ireland For Europe” which was so unattractive, and was likely to turn people away from the cause.

    Notwithstanding the fact that she has the look and the communication abilities to make it big, and the first part of her involvement in the discussion was nothing short of superb, her performance was destroyed for me by her smug and condesending response to the remarks of John McGuirk. It brought me back to my involvement with the Lisbon ii campaign, and was something which needs to addressed within the ranks of the Irish EU lobby.

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