Musical Chairs

A chair painted yellow, yesterday

A chair painted yellow, yesterday

The Irish General Election is just over two weeks away and tonight TV3 will hold the first televised leaders debate. The independent TV station extended an invitation to the three leaders who have the most realistic chance of becoming Taoiseach (Prime Minister) next month. So, essentially they have invited the leaders of the country’s three largest political parties to come on the show. With the most recent government on its last legs, Fianna Fáil replaced Brian Cowen as leader, with Michéal Martin stepping into the big man’s not inconsiderable shoes. Even though this move was a bit like changing deck chairs on the Titanic, Martin will appear on the show tonight. So will the man a lot of people would like to see as our next Taoiseach, Eamon Gilmore of the Labour Party. However, the person who is favourite to lead the country for the next five years has decided to sit this one out

Enda Kenny of Fine Gael cited previous disputes with the man who’s going to chair tonight’s debate as the main reason for his decision to stay away. He has since claimed that he has other plans tonight and has already committed himself to three other TV debates. The most likely reason he has pulled out, of course, is that he’s just not up to the challenge of taking on the formidable challenge provided by journalist and broadcaster Vincent Browne. Browne’s style is certainly direct and abrasive and he doesn’t sit on the fence when faced with the difficult task of getting a straight answer from a politician. I’m sure that most armchairs critics would have been on the edge of their seats at the prospect of watching Kenny squirm under pressure from Browne. The presenter has hinted that TV3 may replace Enda with an empty chair, a gesture that Fine Gael has been experimenting with to great effect recently. Still, it’s unlikely that these debates will have any significant effect on voters’ intentions and I’ve no doubt that Enda & co will continue to peddle their wares around the country between now and election day

Staking a claim for the yellow jersey

I guess tonight’s TV debate will be filmed before a studio audience. They’ll have the best seats, I suppose, though the TV audience at home will have pretty good ones as well. The Wonder Stuff welcome you to the cheap seats on their 1992 hit that appeared on their Never Loved Elvis album from the previous year. Some viewers have yet to decide who they’ll vote for and perhaps it’s these floating voters who will get most out of the debates. Sitting on a Fence is taken from London O Hull 4, the 1986 debut album from The Housemartins. Glasgow’s The Twilight Sad sing about watching a chair painted yellow on a b-side from 2007. Finally, Monty Python were as adept at penning humorous ditties as they were at writing funny sketches and no more so than on Sit on My Face. Given his reluctance to appear on the show tonight it’s unlikely that Enda will be singing this to Vincent any time soon. I, for one, would fall off my chair if this were to happen

Welcome to the Cheap Seats – The Wonder Stuff

Sitting On A Fence – The Housemartins

Watching That Chair Painted Yellow – The Twilight Sad

Sit On My Face – Monty Python

Image of Enda from the Irish Times