Late Late Show

I couldn't believe it on Friday night's Late Late Show (10th Jan 03) when, after the debate on Ireland's involvement in the impending war Pat Kenny actually said we had heard "both sides" of the argument. Both sides consisted of members of the Irish Anti-War Movement on one side and a single Israeli musician on the other. No government spokes person for Ireland or the U.S., no Iraqi citizens, not one Kurdish person etc. This is the fault of a pitiful research team obviously better suited to digging up the great and the good from the pages of VIP magazine. As a result we had Pat Kenny (bland but politically aware in my view) playing Devil's advocate to members of the Anti-War Movement. Now, I am in agreement with the Movement and I fully appreciate the efforts of the heads of the movement (all I do is attend the odd protest and write the odd angry letter to our 'kept press'), but I have to say that if I was an outsider looking in I would not have been impressed. I'm going to piss people off here and honestly say that had I tuned in half way through the discussion, not knowing its subject, I would have gotten the immediate impression that Kenny was involved in a confrontation with an austere sect of some sort. I hate to write that but that would have been my instinctual reaction and I believe that TV deals mainly in the visceral not the intellectual. I also thought Kenny got the upper hand on a many points, though not all of them. The TV show was not a communications triumph for the movement. The sad fact, known by every creep with an eye on getting a seat in the Dáil, is that presentation counts for a lot. As patronising as this seems it has proven to be an effective observation. This is something the Irish Anti War-Movement needs to learn. I'm not suggesting hiring a Spin Doctor (hell no), but I would recommend that how the Anti-War Movement appears to non-members comes high on the agenda. Most people share the movements views and it is these people who need to be appealed to if our country's part in the war effort is to be stopped. Another factor in the Anti-War movement's Late Late Show performance is that both panel members representing the movement ran for election for The Socialist Workers Party. Once this is pointed out, by The Phoenix Magazine or whoever, it will serve only to further alienate the general public from the Anti-War Movement, who they will assume is a front organisation for the S.W.P. All that said, well done for getting the subject discussed on the Late Late. The clumsy nature of the Anti-War Movement's first major TV outing was, I am sure, just a learning curve for an organisation whose motives are based in compassion rather than some loony anti U.S. resentment. It is easy enough for the agenda setters of the media to paint us all as cranks, we must do our best to appear otherwise. (Actually I am a crank but there's probably hope for the rest of you.) Regards, please excuse any wrong spellings etc.

Created By: Garret Shanley