I wrote a guest blog for Newswhip Ireland back in 2010. To be honest I can’t find the link or remember the title but the content is below:
I recently read E. L Doctorow’s novel about New York eccentrics Homer and Langley Collyer. In the fictionalization of the lives of two clearly insane brothers, the younger Langley devoted his entire life to the production of the ultimate newspaper that would only ever have to be read once owing to his theory that news never changes. There is always a natural disaster (earthquake, flood etc.) always a war, always crimes of passion, always a political scandal and so on.
So what would our timeless newspaper report? There is always:
- A parliamentary party that underestimates the wit of the general public trying to convince us that hindsight is a great thing and sure who would have known? Anyone with pre-school economics.
- A bad taste cavalcade of Mercedes and stretch limousines that clash with our new economic status. Take down the Galway races tent, the nouveau riche party is over.
- A coalition partner strop that threatens to walk; gets the nation revved up for a general election only to change their mind at final hour.
- An opposition who can’t seem to ‘carpe diem’ as they repeatedly tell us it’s time for change without offering a convincing alternative.
- Some public representative or public body that has overdone it on the expenses followed by an attempt at justification rather than an apology and pay back.
- An opportunistic chief executive of an economy airline with a PR stunt at the ready on the zeitgeist of the Nation.
- A union pundit talking about the ordinary working man from a six figured ivory tower pointing fingers at the old reliables and unable to see that they may be in some way responsible.
- A former head of state of a Teflon variety hiding in presses or a sports column maintaining the country was flying when he left, (flying a downward spiral for ten years of poor policy)
Then we’re thrown a few wild cards
- A baby turns out for a press conference.
- A head of state finds it acceptable to appear on national radio with a hangover .
- A public representative embroiled in a scandal relating to alcohol and cars.
- A half inch of snow that hasn’t been gritted by the €Xm spent on salt by local councils.
- A developer writes a book about the great old days and is actually given air time and not the grilling that any member of the public would do.
So attending to the media coverage (papers, radio and TV) of Ireland’s economic collapse over the past two years made me question the insanity of one of New York’s most notorious mad men.
I heard once that a Fianna Fail politician always sits in the passenger seat of a taxi while a Fine Gael politician sits in the back. Yes that great FF ethos of getting down and dirty with the common man, if only they could just step up a bit to our level and maybe we could meet them half way.