With Senator Norris, and with respect to the Minister who has left the Chamber, I believe this debate is a filibuster by a Government that has little to boast about or bring forward to this House. It is unfortunate that we are debating it in that context. Nonetheless, the debate is timely. It comes at a time when we, as a society, are at a crossroads. We are a more pluralist, multi-ethnic society as against the old conservative, Catholic country in which we all grew up. We have a choice regarding our outlook. Do we become liberal or remain conservative? That is the choice we must make. The same applies to our broadcasting but, as many speakers said, balance in broadcasting is what we must strive for in a tolerant, modern country.
If the Minister of State wishes, we could have a debate on that as well. It is important that we have a good laugh at ourselves at times. I appreciate that the item on the programme to which Senators Ó Murchú and O’Reilly referred, “The Late Late Show”, on which Tommy Tiernan appeared, was insensitive and wrong. Equally, what happened at the BBC was wrong, but we go overboard at times in our attempt to be politically correct. As someone who likes a good laugh every now and again, I believe it is important that we do that but in a way that is tolerant and sensitive to the views of all people.
I want to refer to the coverage of sport on television. We are fortunate in this country to have a very good sports broadcasting unit in RTE and TV3. It is important to pay tribute to people like Micheál Ó Muircheartaigh, Ger Canning and Marty Morrissey, who are excellent commentators and who do not degrade players, but there are some analysts who do that.
One of my bugbears is the new level of political commentator, the expert on the ditch, who comes into a studio and gives his tuppence worth about everything from A to Z in politics. I have one person in mind but I will not name him because I do not want to give him credit. He is against everything Fine Gael stands for. Then there are the people who write columns in newspapers who are now shaping opinion. They have become the new professors of life. There are people writing columns in the Sunday Independent who believe they are God’s gift to humanity and who try to shape public opinion on everythin