herald

Tuesday 22 January 2019

Eoghan Corry: Truth is in comedy as Cooke looks forward

Shortly before midnight we were given a shocking vision of an election to come.

It did not come from the feuding finance ministers on Frontline (readers can add further F-words of their choice), the harangue gang on Vincent Browne, or the slick kids on the Eleventh Hour. It came from comedian Gary Cooke.

He was playing Brian Lenihan on the Eleventh Hour's comedy sketch, the Nineteenth Minute. Brian is handing over the ATM card to Michael Noonan when he adds: "It will only be for a few months."

Cooke says we have another election coming down the tracks in 2011 to cheer us up. He gets these things right more often than most pundits.

TV3 and RTE Two have been leading the telly-election poll so far. Last night RTE One seized back some of the initiative.

Five aspirant ministers for finance togged out for Frontline. Michael Noonan won by a distance.

RTE Two's slick new programme Eleventh Hour spent most of their allotted time analysing the sister station.

The second most vocal of their panelists was Alastair Campbell.

He is surprised at how angry people are with politicians and at the level of detail that ordinary people have grasped about our election.

"The bankers appear to barely figure," said the astonished Alastair. "The extent to which a small number of politicians are getting in the neck, when the whole country should look at itself."

"There is a broader picture that people should look at. The politicians do have to have a manifesto and argue their case."

A few hours earlier Fianna Fail's pitch to join Fine Gael was launched by the real Brian Lenihan. It was subtle, but it was there.

Nine years after putting on the worst telly debate performance in Irish electoral history, Michael Noonan enjoyed his hour of glory.

His strategy was to virtually ignore Fianna Fail and turn the guns on Joan Burton instead. It wasn't pretty, in a Munster front row way.

Vincent Browne announced he had an interview with Joan Burton on Monday then unannounced it. Now we know why. She should have stayed with Vincent.

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