The Editor, The Sunday Independent.
Two articles last week – one by Eilis O’Hanlon, the other by Eoghan Harris made me reflect about the need for more thoughtful, intelligent and balanced politics in Ireland.
As we begin a New Year, a year that will see Local and European Elections, another Referendum on Lisbon and perhaps, even a General Election, it might be also worthwhile reflecting on how Politics in Ireland is covered in the media.
Unfortunately, Political integrity and commitment are often presented as if they only occur at the extremes. Whether it be Joe Higgins from the illusionary and antiquarian far Left, Declan Ganley from the delusionary and somewhat obscure far Right or Danny, Michael or Jackie Healy-Rae from the distant but beautifull far South, views from the extremes or the margins are often presented as if the holders of those views are more committed, more honourable or more passionate in the pursuit of their cause than those who are more balanced in their approach. In short, the media should stop confusing a reasonable balanced approach, with that of “bending the knee” or less than fulsome commitment.
The reality is that it is very often the politics of hope – whether that be the Centre Left or, even God help us, occasionally the Centre Right – that offers solutions to the problems facing our Society. Those of us committed to consensus or balanced politics are as passionate and committed to that political approach as the extremes are to theirs. The difference being, that balanced advocates try to find solutions, the extremes just try to find scapegoats.
Perhaps therefore, in the course of 2009, The Sunday Independent might lead the way in shifting political reporting and commentary away from the “Show Business approach” so beloved by the Public Broadcasting Service (sic) RTE and some other media outlets. Perhaps too, this year, political reporting will no longer be based on whose Son, Daughter, Cousin, Nephew or Niece will inherit the family seat, but rather on the policies and ideas promoted. It will make a nice change and it might even give our Country and Counties, Politics and Politicians that deliver.
Councillor Dermot Lacey