I know I said I would devote this entry to the “No” side of the campaign, but I just couldn’t find enough suitable entries.
I just couldn’t pass off giving third place to this exchange from the Vincent Browne show, between Sunday Independent journalist Carol Hunt and Labour TD and Minister for Communications Pat Rabbitte. Discussing the “Mission to Prey” issue at RTE and the Ministers role, she suddenly throws this into the discussion:
Hunt: “OK. Well I would have to wonder at that. That the buck stopped at the News Editor. That the journalist got the blame. That the News Editor got the blame. That the buck did not go any further. And you minister yourself said, at the time, you know that ‘shoddy, unprofessional, cavalier piece of work’. That’s what you said about the Prime Time Investigation. Now you were, I remember, called to be a witness I think in a libel action over comments you made in an RTE news programme about that time. Now they settled but I think it was on the same day that you made those comments.”
Rabbitte: “So what?”
Hunt: “Now that would, you know, that would have been…”
Hunt: “Distracting, distracting for you.”
Rabbitte: “It would what?”
Hunt: “It would have been distracting for you.”
Rabbitte: “It wasn’t distracting for me. I do several things in a day.”
Hunt: “All right.”
Rabbitte: “Whatever you’re insinuating, say it.”
Hunt: “No I’m not insinuating anything.”
Rabbitte: “Well if you’re not insinuating anything then, withdraw it.”
Hunt: “I’m wondering..why..OK…”
Rabbitte: “What are you implying?”
Hunt: “What I’m saying is why did you at one stage think that it was so shoddy, so unprofessional, you called everybody in at 8am.”
Rabbitte: “I still think it’s shoddy.”
Hunt: “And yet there should be no resignation.”
Rabbitte: “I still, I still, I still think it’s shoddy and unprofessional.”
Hunt: “Uh-huh, and what are you going to do about it?”
Rabbitte: “And you tell me now what the innuendo is about the libel action.”
Hunt: “No, no I’m not, I’m not making any innuendo.”
Rabbitte: “Why bring it up?”
Hunt: “Because it happened on the same day. It happened on the same day.”
Rabbitte: “So what?”
Hunt: “Just one thing happened, then another thing happened. And I’m wondering…”
Rabbitte: “So what? Many things happened on the same day.”
Hunt: “And what are you going to do about it?”
Rabbitte: “What am I going to do about what?”
Hunt: “What are you doing about what happened? Not just with the BAI investigation, what happened afterwards, what happened as Vincent was saying.”
Browne: “Carol I think Pat has a reasonable query, what is the relevance of this other libel action to the issue that we’re talking about?”
Hunt: “It..It’s just, it happened on the same day, I’m researching.”
It goes on for a while after that, with both Minister Rabbitte and Brown trying get Hunt to elaborate on what she meant, and her refusing to do so.
The implication here is somewhat odd, that Minister Rabbitte’s response to the “Mission to Prey” issue was clouded or even effected by his role in a separate libel action that involved RTE as well. Hunt seemed to have wanted to give out that impression, making her opponent look bad, without straying into outright libellous language. She failed in that, coming off looking gutless and two-faced, happy to hit the Minister with negative hearsay, unwilling to offer any kind of explanation when pressed directly. You cannot imply that a Minister is getting let off on a libel case in return for playing nice on another issue, then not back that up. Not without looking very stupid.
Second place goes to Labour TD Ann Phelan, who wants caviar put on the Dail menu. Lovely attempt to create a positive public perception of the Oireachtas there, god forbid they should be seen as overpaid elitists with no sense of reality. It is occasionally unreal, the kind of things that TDs come out and say in public, with regard for how it will actually be viewed.
First place goes to Sinn Fein, and this poster spotted by Twitter user @unlaoised. Enjoy.