Monday, February 07, 2011

TV3 & Vincent Browne should not have injected themselves into the campaign

Enda Kenny looks more foolish every day as he trots out a new excuse for skipping tomorrow night's TV3 debate. First he wants all 5 party leaders; next it's that he doesn't like Vincent Browne because Browne said something mean about him last year; next it's that he's just too busy, can't work it into his schedule. Sheesh.

Ridiculous. Still, there's no doubt that Vincent Browne & TV3 entered the political arena when they fixed on their 3-way debate for tomorrow night.

Kenny was onto the right answer when he insisted that all 5 party leaders should be in the debate. If he agrees to a 3-way debate that has a number of positive effects for Labour & Fianna Fáil and negative impact on Fine Gael.

Labour has put up "Gilmore for Taoiseach" posters, trying to implant that radical idea in the minds of the voters. Having Eamonn Gilmore appear along side Micheál Martin and Enda Kenny serves to promote that idea. Why would Kenny go along with that? Makes no sense politically.

Secondly, both Labour and Fianna Fáil have something to fear from Sinn Féin. They definitely gain a lot by sidelining Gerry Adams, regardless of how he might perform. Fine Gael has nothing to fear from Sinn Féin as they're not competing for the same voters. Based on poll numbers, SF has more right to stand along-side Labour & FF in a debate than either of those two have to stand alongside FG.

I don't know exactly why Browne was so determined to have a 3-way debate, but there's no way he innocently stumbled into this. He must have known this was playing politics. Maybe he didn't care and just figured a 3-way debate would be better television, which it probably will be. Still, he shouldn't have joined the anti-Enda campaign (not that Kenny doesn't deserve almost all of what he's getting today).