Wednesday, November 30, 2011

What a difference a night makes

There was a little girl who had a little curl,
Right in the middle of her forehead.
And when she was good, she was very, very good,
And when she was bad, she was horrid.

While Vincent Browne is neither a girl (fully grown man) nor has a little curl (lots of curls), this little ditty could easily have been penned about his late night show on TV3. Since the show started I have been quite the fan, but of late I have become less enamoured of my late night political gossip. Too many shows end up with the same old faces making the same old points and so since the start of the Presidential Election campaign I have actually given up watching except for odd occasions.

However, the last few weeks have seen my schedule become more regimented and I find myself sitting on the couch waiting for 1AM to roll around so I can give Ailbhe her final feed and then go to bed. This has led to my getting back into the swing of JML ads, snippets of Family Guy on BBC3 and relentless frustration from Vincent with all of his guests. And like the poem, some of the shows have been amazing and some awful.

Take for example the day that Sinn Féin produced their budget proposal (16th November). Joining Vincent were Pearse Doherty from SF and Simon Coveney from FG who spent the entire show tearing strips off each other. Coveney was shown to be either completely clueless, completely unbriefed or else told to fall on his sword to avoid letting any pre-budget strategy be revealed. It also helped that Marie Sherlock from SIPTU was on the panel and she made some particularly insightful contributions attacking both the SF and FG positions as required.

On the other hand the following evening Aodhán Ó'Ríordáin was part of the panel discussing the number of election promises that had been broken by the government since taking office in March. This was the most mind numblingly boring episode I'd seen in a long time. There was no real debate between the panelists and despite his best efforts, Vincent couldn't get the deputy to admit to any broken promises at all.

Last night was another doozy, where Constantin Gurdgiev destroyed Damien English on the potential collapse of the Euro. While I don't think the doomsday scenario outlined by Gurdgiev, he had the figures and the expertise to back up his position. English didn't want to even engage in a what-if scenario and could only repeat the mantra claiming the ECB would do the right thing this time. Again, maybe he was badly briefed, but English came out of the show very badly. One wonders why FG continue to send out people like him and Paschal Donohue rather than some of the heavy hitters like Shatter, Bruton, Noonan or Reilly. I guess it's the same reason Conor Lenihan was such a regular on #vinb before the election - plausible deniability for the government.

I'll keep on watching and hope for more fireworks in the next few weeks as the budget appears and the Eurozone continues to flounder from crisis to crisis.

PS - there's a really good piece written by Stephen Kinsella posted on Irish Economy. Definitely worth a read.

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