Humbly Bowing to Our Betters Whilst Passing Bowling Balls




I am sometimes asked, in the Public Bar toilets of this country, if I really feel as strongly towards our appalling politicians as I appear to when I write this and other columns.  I also get asked if I’m really that angry all the time.  Now why public toilets bring out these questions in people is rather interesting.  Do we subliminally associate politicians and their utterances with the men’s room?  Does it perhaps say something about the current state of the national psyche?  Who knows?  I just know it’s damned awkward.  I’m much more approachable when sitting at the counter.  I mean, there you are washing your hands in the Gent’s when you become aware of another bloke staring at you.  It’s almost a relief, weird as it is, to be asked about politicians.  At least it’s not going to turn into a George Michael moment, so be thankful for small mercies.  Actually, it has only happened twice so I was exaggerating there; but twice is more than enough, to be honest.

Still, to answer those who are kind enough to email me with the same questions:  well, first of all, of course I’m not angry all the time.  What do you think, that I go around with a permanent cartoon thundercloud over my head, little flashes of lightning coming out of it?  I’m actually reasonably laid back. Or as reasonably as is possible in this insane country.  However, am I putting it on when I do go mad?  Oh no, I really do despise our current crop of liars and they really do make me bloody angry.  Unfortunately it’s an impotent sort of anger as it seems impossible to wake anyone out of their complacency in Ireland.

I’m also not interested in sugar-coating how I feel about them.  If they have lied to our faces then they deserve to be called on it.  Instead, what I have often seen here are people who will be in a bar giving out yards about what the bastards have done now and how they wouldn’t trust one of them as far as they could throw them; and on and on and on.  And then it has often happened that a local politician (I’m in the Galway area) will come in all hail-fellow-well-met and there will not be a word from the barstool philosophers.  That would be bad enough, of course.  But as a rule the suit-and-tie sleazoid who has just seeped in under the door will immediately stand a round (as long as the place isn’t too full, of course) and do you think that anyone would refuse? What, anybody in a bar in Ireland turn down a free drink? Even from one of these swine who has his hand in their collective pockets? Since it’s coming from a politician they’ll even find a way to justify it and make it into a noble gesture.  But it’s cowardice and it’s hypocrisy and they can kid themselves as much as they want.

I once watched with admiration as a woman sent the barman back with the drink that was being put in front of her, simply because she couldn’t stand the lies or the ‘policies’ of the politician who was buying it.  And you can be sure that she was made out to be the one in the wrong, the one that was rude, by the fine strapping ‘men’ who were throwing his gargle down their necks.  Hell, if they had been wearing caps they would have been doffing them.  Is it any wonder that our politicians regard us with utter contempt?

I don’t get it. I just do not get it.  You voted them in.  THEY work for YOU.  At least that’s the way that it should be.  But you’ve been bowing and scraping to them for so long that you have forgotten that—and you have let them forget it, too.  Good God, you act so damned grateful if one of them does a tiny favour for you.  “Ah sure, he looked after me just grand with that.  I may not agree with him but bejeesus he’ll be having my vote next time.”

HE IS JUST DOING HIS JOB!  IN THE NAME OF SANITY WOULD YOU GET THAT INTO YOUR HEADS!  It’s not as if he won’t be making you pay through the nose in some other way, you can be sure of that!

Hell’s fire!  How did you ever let it get to the stage where they are so completely isolated from the ordinary Irish citizen that there is no way for them to relate to us anymore?

Here is an example. Get a load of this:  some flunkeys from the Labour Party have been out canvassing in the upcoming Meath East by-election for Labour Councillor Eoin Holmes.  Now normally I would have said, well you just have to admire their courage, give them that.  But incredibly courage doesn’t seem to have come into it.  They seem genuinely shocked that no one can stand their leader Eamon Gilmore.  I mean, HOW can this be a surprise to them? How can it be?  They’re Labour canvassers so they are almost by definition totally thick.  But even the cannon fodder of Labour must know how despised Gilmore is.  There was a very instructive comment from one Labour TD to the Irish Daily Mail on Sunday:

“He is absent a lot of the time, and he is viewed as aloof and out of touch.  We are hearing this on the doorsteps in Meath East.

“A lot of people in the party weren’t aware of how unpopular Gilmore was until this campaign, but they are now, and it’s not pretty.  We are being received badly on the doorsteps and being led by a leader who’s perceived as being absent from the centre of power.  Some canvassers are describing it as like the Somme.”

Now there’s a fairly short statement.  You shouldn’t be able to mess that up too much but just look at it.  “We are hearing this on the doorsteps…People in the party weren’t aware of how unpopular…” Seriously, you are going to trust this gombeen with…ANYTHING?  Does he ever get out of the Dail bar? Do any of them?  How can they NOT know that Gilmore is even more loathed than Dame Edna Kenny? How is that possible?  Labour have sold out every principle that they ever pretended to have.  And all to hold onto power with creeps like Fine Gael.  They are led by a man who is a self-proclaimed atheist.  (Nothing wrong with that, except that he gives atheists a bad name).  Can you imagine the tussle with the old conscience that Gilmore must have had in the run-up to St. Patrick’s Day?  I can:

“Now we have most of the junkets covered, although that swine Kenny is getting the White House gig on Tuesday.  It should have been me, I’m the one that’s been backing up every feckin’ U-Turn that he’s done.  Ah well, I can’t be minding that now.  At least I got the wife a €62,000 a year job out of it.  Ah, sure, where’s the harm in it?  A bit of nepotism never hurt anyone. Isn’t this grand country built on cronyism and ‘jobs-for-the-boys? What harm did it ever do us? And I’ve lasted the whole two years without being thrown out on me arse so the pension’s secure, so it is.  Now, this Patrick’s Day thing.  Did he have to be a bloody saint?  Makes it awkward, that does,  me saying I don’t believe in God and all that.  I suppose the decent thing  to do would be to take a step back and let someone else go, someone who believes in saints and sky captains.  Ah, to hell with it, nobody ‘ll notice.  And let’s be honest, I’ll be booted out at the next election for sure, so I might as well grab me only chance and milk it for all it’s worth.  Might be able to squeeze a few speaking arrangements out of the Yanks for later, just like Bertie Ahern.”

And I really loved that shocked, bothered and bewildered closing thought from our aforementioned innocent, astonished Labour TD:  “Some canvassers are describing it as like the Somme.”

Did you get that?  Like the Somme.  You know, I don’t actually know what to say to something as Class 5 Deranged and Stupid as that.  I mean, I’m a bit young to have been at the Somme myself; but I’m reasonably sure that getting blown to bits in No Man’s Land was probably worse than knocking on someone’s door just when they’ve sat down to their dinner and getting that door slammed in your face along with a parting:  “Labour?  Hold this for me, would you?”

I tell you:  you would really have to be scraping the bottom of the barrel to get anyone to skulk around the neighbourhood saying that they represent Labour.

The Somme.  I still can’t get over that one.  On the one hand we have some fools irritating people when they’re trying to watch the soaps and on the other we have over one million casualties.  A little over-dramatic, I would have thought.  Mind you, from the way that Gilmore has talked up how good ‘austerity’ is for we peasants I could definitely see him as one of those deskbound warriors sending people to their deaths.

Does anyone remember last week’s column where I mentioned the informer Luke “Ming the Merciless” Flanagan?  Well, I’m not singling him out this time, I just like his name.  Back in January—and that is eons ago in politics—the Public Expenditure and Reform Minister Brendan Howlin puffed his chest out to an alarming degree and announced that he had abolished expenses claims being made by TDs who had no receipts.  This is Ireland, so unvouched for claims were perfectly legal.  So this was a good thing, right?  In actual fact, before you could say ‘Dale Arden’ Ming and 33 other TDs found that they were actually getting more loot.  And you can’t blame them for this one.  What a system.  I feel one of my headaches coming on.

Also last week I mentioned our merry band of globe-trotters who were visiting your shores in a ‘search for Truth’.  (Cue dramatic music.)  No, this wasn’t a St. Patrick’s Day junket, paid for by the tax payer.  This was a different kind of junket, paid for by an anti-abortion group called Family & Life.  I said that I thought that the Fine Gael hot-shots might be a bit put out because of this.  Well, it turns out that they are.  In fact, the Standards in Public Office Commission are now ‘advising’ that all free junkets—sorry, travels—taken by Oireachtas members might just have to be declared as donations.

Man, that’s going to hurt.  I mean, asking any of these good people who are travelling on a freebie to travel more or less at their own expense…you know that will never happen.  The truth might be worth seeking out but not if I’m going to be paying for it, suckers!

And what ‘truth’ anyway? The truth is that Ireland has been happy for decades—DECADES—to see young women shipped off to England for abortion.  That’s the truth. You don’t have to travel all the way to the States to figure that one out.  As long as it’s not happening on our doorstep then it’s not happening.  We must be the best Existentialists in the world. If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it, did it ever really fall?  We can still hold our heads high and tell the Pope that we do not allow abortion in this country.  What they do in that sink of depravity across the water is their business.

Ah, give me a break:  you wonder why I get angry?

Irish politicians have avoided talking about abortion for as long as they can.  They’ve had a good run at it but that day is over.  It will be interesting and instructive to see which of our sit-on-the-fence leaders actually says something that is not in a mealy-mouthed way that can be construed as talking out of both corners of their mouths at the same time.

For myself, I believe that this is down to a woman’s right to choose.  That’s it.  It is her body.  It is her choice. I hate this PC rubbish that sees grown men telling you: “We’re pregnant.  We’re going to have a baby.”

To you men out there:  Get a grip, WE do not get pregnant.  WE are not carrying a living being around for nine months.  WE should not have a say in it.  The woman is the one who is pregnant.  WE do not know what it is like to give birth.  As Robin Williams once said , not unless you know what it’s like to pass a bowling ball through your ass.

And the very LAST ones who should have a say in this are male Irish politicians.  Not that the female ones are much better, mind you.