Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Yes, we can (well not really but we'll pretend).

For all those who don't know, Ireland is in shite. Yes, we are. We owe billions out to the IMF and the EU (thank you by the way!). Up to 1000 people are going to be emigrating every week for the next few years, unemployment is around the 14% mark and those who are still employed have been hit by tax hikes on an incredible scale (I know and have heard of people that have been hit with 400 euros + in tax in January). The minimum wage has been reduced by 1 euro. Child benefit has been reduced by 10 euros a month (unless you have 3 children, your 3rd child for no explainable reason but being born 3rd, has taken a 20 euro hit!). People in receipt of benefits or allowances such as carers, blind people, and the unemployed have seen their payments reduced by 8 euros a week.Now, you might be wondering why I am painting such a poor picture of this country. The reason is because that's the truth. That's the way this country is.

Last Tuesday, after much debate and nonsense, Brian Cowen (Prime Minister and former Minister for Finance in the ''boom'' years) decided to dissolve the Dail (or Parliament). That came after some 6 ministers walked out on him, his ''partners'' in government, the Greens, didn't allow him to name replacements for the ministers that walked out, and we ended up with a government of 8 senior ministers heading ministries such as the Justice and Agriculture (am I the only one with pictures of prisoners frolicking in the middle of a field tending to cows?), or better Department of Health & Education (put the sick and the young in the same bag why don't you?). Eventually his party turned on him and the first minister to walk out on the current government was named Leader of the Party. So we had a Prime Minister, that not even his own party people trusted to lead them, leading the country with 8 senior ministers. Great! (feel the irony). Oh and, in his spare time, when he is not too busy fattening his pension,  he likes to play a round of golf and have dinner with one of the biggest crooks bankers that sunk this country and subsequently ''moved'' to the US.

Anyway, with this rant you might ask. Because you see, now that he finally let go after weeks of hanging on to power by his fingernails and anything else he could hang on with, we are going to have an general election. On the 25th of February, the people are going to go to the polls and vote for a new government. So the posters are up, the debates are everywhere, debates about important things and debates about debates (with or without Enda Kenny, with or without Vincent Browne, on RTE or maybe TV3). I had hoped, probably naively, that there would be a wind of hope that things could change, a la Obama. You know, yes we can. Sadly, it's far from that. For a start, none of them are half as good looking as Mr President of the US (yes, I admit it, I find him quite attractive). As my dad said, if any of your politicians try and have kids, they have to be killed at birth. It's a joke, people! All, he is trying to say is that they are as ugly as ugly can be and their offspring wouldn't have a wonderful start in life. That's all. Ok, it is a bit superficial, judging people by their looks. If at least, they were efficient or inspiring. But no, they're not. I used to work doing presentations, I'm sure I could give those guys a bit of training in that field. How can they believe that they are going to engage people, and inspire them when they speak in the most monotonous voices? Good orators, they are not. It's all finger pointing and aggressivity, and some kind of contest to see who can say the most words without taking a breath. Oh and a perfect display of how manners do not matter, since they just keep interrupting each other!

All you see now in the news, is hand shaking, puppy holding, baby petting (or should that be the other way around?). The world has stopped spinning since the campaign began. Reports of people being chased by election posters literally (well it was very windy), of a chicken walking into some party headquarters (or was that some kind of metaphor for the fact that the leader refused to take part in a televised debate?). The most interesting bit is how much they are being shouted at and how surprised they look that people don't like or trust them and shout at them.

I am glad I live in the country as they don't really come knocking on your door. But, you know what? I would welcome them and listen to them (as opposed to Mr Foodie who would tell them to fuck off and threaten to unleash the dogs at them. We don't have a dog but he is quite sure that Noelie can do as good a job as a Rottweiler, judging by the bite mark on his finger.). I might even ask them a few questions. And then, I would politely turn around and inform them that they have just wasted their time, just as they have wasted this country, because you know what? I'm not allowed to vote here. (By the way, if anybody can explain to me why British citizens have the same rights as an Irish citizens when it comes to voting and other Europeans don't, please feel free to let me know!)

Anyway, rant over.

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