Really Trying Episode

20161102_095531It’s all a bit confusing. So Duffy was wrong to refer to the threatened Garda strike as illegal and perhaps tantamount to mutiny. But the GRA were fine in denying that what was planned by them in the first place, was a strike. And on RTE yesterday, Duffy’s efforts to explain the context of his remarks are brushed off, whereas the GRA Ciaran O’Neill’s stuttering defence of their plan as “individual” actions, is virtually unchallenged. Regardless of where you stand on the pay dispute, it would be helpful if RTE was not diving headfirst into tabloidisation, in a journalistic equivalent to AIB trying to catch up with Anglo Irish in power-hosing loans out across the counter. Disappointing. Go for a walk.

d’espair

There’s no such thing as “Islamic State”. It is the voice that shouts “Jump!” to the man on the ledge. The late night sucker-punch. The bottle hurled by a soccer hooligan. The ambulance chase. The videoing of crash victims. The courage inside the balaclava. Modern media unleash prurience, remote-control violence outs base instincts. The suicide-bomber enters The Matrix (where there’s a serious shortage of virgin dozens). Drones wash Pontius Pilate’s hands. During the Cold War, a handful had access to the red button, now everyone has, and there is always someone pushing one somewhere. Internet Trolls shit-stir immune. Beheadings are Hollywood. Yet, as always, the Emperor has no clothes; the caliph is in the altogether. Faceless prophet, naked lieutenant.

Latvia’s Cinderella second before Luxembourg takes over

The Greek crisis disturbs and perturbs the whole world. It is in a spin, and a slower one at that. To correct for this, an extra second will be allowed elapse tonight, extending Latvia’s 6-month EU presidency by a precious instant. Hands up all who knew that this European Union of equal partners has been led since January by our brothers and sisters in Riga? Well how about hands up who knew Luxembourg is in the chair from tomorrow? Mmmm. Perhaps we have all missed Ms Merkel regularly deferring to, referring to, through-the-chairing and acknowledging Laimdota Straujuma since January. Come to think of it, Tsipras hasn’t brought up too many points of order with Straujuma either.

Don’t suppose this EU, all-for-one-and-one-for-all, six-monthly first among equals thingy is a cod? Nah, Luxembourg will restore order; “through the chair, please, Germany, through the Chair and thanking you”! There will be no more second fiddle. Time will tell though.

Across from the GPO, Clerys falls without a shot fired

And still no stirrings. No sign of revolution. Whatever happened to the supposed spirit of 1916? Were there no genes passed on, or have they skipped this generation? How will we ever parade next year, celebrating what? Down our main thoroughfare, past its casinos, burger joints, bookies, junkies, and Clerys so recently cunningly captured.

There are so many sad aspects to Ciarán Hancock’s article on Clerys in the Business and Innovation section of today’s Irish Times. He sets out in laudable detail the stealth, planning and ruthlessness of the moves that took down Clerys. There is no comment on morality. It was legal, and that’s what matters. It was “business”. “Innovation”. Maybe Ms Foley and Co should actually get medals, awards, dinners held in their honour; sure doesn’t Denis O’Brien get lashings of them? Perhaps she is the hero of all this; the world is divided between wildebeest and lions and we should hail the hunter and what odds the prey separated from the pack and slaughtered. Sure, doesn’t it keep the herd strong to lose its, well, losers?

I thought perhaps the article, though not deemed worthy of the front page of the IT, would draw editorial comment. Nope, not a sausage. Maybe it’s just me. Perhaps old men merely rail, Lear-like, daft and doting, uncomprehending, out of touch with the new, real Ireland, where people adore and idolise the only thing that matters – wealth. We only hate O’Brien because we’re not him. Or perchance we just feel helpless.

I have seen the faces of those Clerys workers. Hidden, from my gaze at least, are those behind the entities that are OCS (in all its forms), Gordon Brothers, Natrium, D2 Private and Cheyne Capital (I may have seen Ms Doyle’s smug-shot somewhere on the net). But Hancock, in his piece, sets out how between them all, entirely legal, sneaky, cowardly manoeuvres were carefully planned and executed, military-style, culminating in shocked staff shown the door at a moment’s notice. Naturally, KPMG were involved; they can’t lose for winning.

Yes of course, our leaders gave out. Mr Kenny, the longest-serving and most fully institutionalised member of the Dáil, tut-tutted and then carried on giving people good-natured clatters on the back and maiming both logic and language when forced to speak. Mr Martin, the last FF princeling still standing, pressed that well-worn button delivering altar-boy sincerity and worldly-wise sad indignation, then shut up. And Ms Burton, from the party that’s actually supposed to care about this sort of thing, was, well Fr-Ted-irritated kinda, for a while. Mr Adams was annoyed too, though one would have thought the kind of stealth and planning of the Clerys operation might have roused in him a kind of Northern-Bank street respeck.

To whom can we turn? Is this country lost?