Pole Position

I was thinking about Irish attitudes to immigration. Given that the Late Late Show is considered to be a sort of bellwether of Irish society, I went to see if it had featured it on any of its shows. Turns out it had.

Pat Kenny asked this question of Kevin Myers on the Late Late Show recently:

If you take the Poles – they’re Catholic, they’re white, they are facially sometimes indistinguishable from us, and they embrace the Irish way of life, and they are like the Normans and Danes… become more Irish than the Irish themselves.

Here’s the video:

Kenny was asking Myers to explain what his problem was with immigration, using Polish immigrants as an example of how immigration could be beneficial. But in so doing, he was saying that there are some immigrant groups more desirable than others. So -from an Irish perspective- a Catholic is preferable to a Protestant, a white person is preferable to a black person, and we should prefer those whose facial physiognomy is similar to our own.

Was Kenny asking the question on behalf of his audience, whom he believes to be interested in racist lines of questioning? Or was he just being a bit of a racist himself? (Honestly, it seems like these days you can’t make remarks about immigration without someone calling you a racist.) And to what extent does his questioning reflect general attitudes to immigrants in Irish society?

These are the matters occupying my mind this morning.

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2 Responses to “Pole Position”


  1. 1 Mark Waters February 28, 2008 at 11:18 am

    On the Late Late Show Pat has a tendency to dumb down the arguments to what he perceives is the intelligence level of his audience, more often then not resulting in super delicious car crash TV moments.

    Of course, I’m never sitting in on a Friday night so I wouldn’t know anything about these things.

    On another note, are TV Pat and Radio Pat really the same person? Impossible to prove I suppose without TV footage of Radio Pat. Which of course would make him TV Pat according to the observer effect (damn those quantum physicists). I suppose I could always turn him into Schrödinger’s cat by turning off the TV and the radio.

    These are the matters occupying my mind this morning.

  2. 2 Hugh Green February 28, 2008 at 4:12 pm

    I defer to your greater expertise on Pat Kenny’s approach to interviewing. If he dumbs down his arguments as you say he does, it shows his contempt for the viewer, which is hardly an uncommon characteristic of employees of RTE, I have to say.

    I for one am all for locking him in a container and hitting him with radiation and contemplating what might happen be happening as a result.

    Speaking of cats, there is a post I meant to stick up yesterday.


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