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The denigration of politics January 5, 2013

Posted by Oireachtas Retort in Irish Politics, media.

The press don’t “give a damn” and Pat Rabbitte is not pleased.

It’s been a bumpy few weeks for Pat and the PLP,  inside and out. The year finished with he and former colleagues duking it out in the national press while the Minister’s The Week in Politics comment played on loop for most of December.

This week we’re fighting a war on two fronts. Papers one day, social media the next. It’s difficult to know whither debt or negativity will do us in.

Back in May, before refusing to outline a single example, Pat thundered

Nowhere has the standard dropped so much as in the coverage of politics,


Well, if you were to read the orgy of negativity that’s around the place today, including from RTE, you would get the impression that, in some quarters, there is absolute glee about the remarks of Angela Merkel and then you ask me, with a straight face, why is the Tanaiste concerned?

and yesterday

There is an all-pervasive negativity in the media that is not helping the mood of a people that is in distress and difficulty. I don’t think the media give a damn about where this is going to bring politics. It is worthy of some thought of where the constant denigration of politics is going to bring us,

The cribbers and moaners are still with us but isn’t it remarkable how far the standard has dropped since Pat took office?

It’s been noted here and elsewhere that political correspondents often aren’t given a whole lot to work with not to mention the calibre of their subjects.

Last year while Ministers posed for photographs, assembled journalists found themselves kept in glass boxes at the gates at Government buildings before returning to find the Taoiseach’s answer to questions never asked in their inbox.

In Oslo, Enda & our Nobel prize had to be tracked on information from the Norwegian PM’s office,  no one was informed of his visit to London and the year finished in Brussels with Handlers deciding our’s would be the only the Prime Minister declining a press conference after the final summit before we assume the EU presidency.

He later appeared for a hastily arranged doorstep.

Three questions & fifteen minutes late.

But none of this really accounts for the, evident, denigration of politics. Journalists now longing for the breezy communications of Brian Cowen doesn’t quite cut it.  Could it be linked to the wave of personal abuse sweeping the country?  Recently highlighted when Ming Flanagan spent two minutes under a barrage while trying to make a point about his own children being on the receiving end because of comments made in the House and elsewhere.

Could it be the Taoiseach surfing twenty odd months of leaders’ questions with ad hominem attacks on the opposition. Is denigration a rattled Tánaiste, in response to the conundrum of Reilly, NAMA and that site, shouting

How many bodies are buried on this island because of Sinn Fein?

before passing same bodies around cabinet for shield against further questions of respite care? Absolutely but not entirely.

Is denigration just the general to and fro of parliamentary politics?

The Tánaiste: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  That is why we are undertaking to reform our public services. Those reforms will be announced later today by the Minister. They will involve a reduction in the number of——

Deputy Billy Kelleher: Information on Billy Kelleher  Zoom on Billy Kelleher  Labour Party Deputies.

The Tánaiste: Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  ——public servants which will be done through the mechanisms provided for in the Croke Park agreement, in other words, by voluntary arrangements that have already been negotiated and provided for.

Kelleher’s remark and other heckles usually show up on the record as ‘(interruptions)’. A search of which runs to over ninety seven pages with twelve or so instances per page.

It wouldn’t give near an idea of how much time is wasted in a parliament with already huge constraints on speaking time.


The denigration of behaviour in Dáil Éireann probably runs parallel to the denigration of the institution itself and many others.

The futile debate mirrors the sheer pointlessness of what passes for representation and it’s here we get closer.

Pat nailed it in his own interview.

“We have garnered some brownie points with our paymasters and our European partners. [The State’s] standing and Ministers’ undertakings are of value and are accepted.”

The denigration of politics. Ah but the market..


1. irishelectionliterature - January 5, 2013

From Spring 2000 ‘Restoring confidence in politics’ …Pat Rabbitte defends a beleaguered profession

The above link for for the site of the former DL quarterly ‘Times Change’ which is still online and has a few decent articles still there.


doctorfive - January 5, 2013

first line is bittersweet


doctorfive - January 5, 2013

” Politicians themselves are primarily responsible for the damage done to politics. “


2. tomasoflatharta - January 5, 2013
3. kevbarring - January 6, 2013

Think it’s time to go read a little Lenny Bruce and perhaps even my own love song to the net outside Pat’s gaffe. Anyone up for coming along?


4. steve white - January 6, 2013

what polticians say and do has much moreweight then the average person, suggesting that all carers or social welfare receipients are fraudsters as politicians do ever year around the budget is so much more bile and vitriol and damaging then if anybody else said the same, can the economic actions of politicians while mostly beingenacted by speech and signature can be dangerous and devastating and violent when applied to the population


5. Richard - January 6, 2013

Complaining about the denigration of politics while talking about ‘brownie points’ from our ‘paymasters’ is rather like complaining about gratuitous foul language with ‘F*** off and die’ tattooed on your face.


eamonncork - January 6, 2013

Sure who hasn’t done that from time to time?
You’re right in fairness.


6. tomasoflatharta - January 6, 2013

Gardaí Seeking Help In Finding Pat Rabbitte’s Sense Of Humour http://www.thepotato.ie/2013/01/gardai-seeking-help-in-finding-pat-rabbittes-sense-of-humour/


7. EamonnCork - January 6, 2013

Maybe Rabbitte had a point. I think this is a totally inappropriate theme tune for the new season of The Late Late Show.


8. EamonnCork - January 7, 2013

I see Gavan Titley is going to have a piece in tomorrow’s Guardian about the social media moral panic. That should be well worth reading.


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