if you don't happen to be a fan of horse racing, the
shout, 'they're off', besides acting as the catalyst
for a surge of excitement to course through the veins,
means one thing - the horses are off and the bookie
and punter stand divided by a chasm of self interest.
But as matters would have it, in the week when horse
devotees have their eyes on the Cheltenham races,
the term takes on a somewhat different meaning as
we watch the ungainly charge across the Atlantic by
our own political class. It is said that when those
who populate that class depart our shores the collective
IQ of Ireland surges upwards while that of America
plummets down towards equilibrium with its president.
liars the lot of them, their lunge out of the traps
is normally a welcome sign that the Americans rather
than ourselves will have to put up with them for a
few days. Usually it is a source of comfort to know
that St Patrick's day remains faithful to the tradition
established by the believers' most revered national
saint when he banished snakes from these parts. Ours,
although unfortunately not banished, nevertheless
leave that silver trail in their wake as they slither
across the Atlantic to inflict their sob stories on
people not in the slightest bit interested. They try
to convince the Americans that our self serving sordid
sectarian squabble should merit more attention than
matters in the Middle East. Too vain to appreciate
that in American eyes they appear as recalcitrant
obscurantists, they will strut their stuff on a media
cat walk, never pausing to consider that were any
of them to possess the mettle of Bernadette McAliskey,
they would be on the first plane back here.
safely grounded on US soil and having uttered the
necessary obeisant grunts they proceed to slither
about the banquets of the powerful telling lies to
and about each other before rounding it off arm in
arm singing something about smiling Irish eyes. And
then, such is our misfortune, they come back here,
proclaiming their willingness to work together at
the top so that they may devise strategies to keep
the rest of us apart and at the bottom. Unionists
as well as nationalists will jump all the hoops to
show that they can leap as high and bow as low as
the next one.
tuxedos, green bow ties, snivelling and grovelling
they will assure us is for our benefit. Honourable
people like themselves only assume such a demeanour
out of respect for the rest of us. They will seek
to convince us that that they would never dream of
such a deportment were it not for their constituents
back home on the old green sod.
before we delude ourselves, abandon our faculty for
critical judgment and wallow in the collective self
denial that has poisoned our intellectual climate
there is good reason to reflect on something noticed
by William Rivers Pitt. Not too far back he drew attention
to his familiarity with the permutations of the following
comment which have from time to time appeared on a
variety of online forums.
cannot believe how incredibly stupid you are. I
mean rock-hard stupid. Dehydrated-rock-hard stupid.
Stupid so stupid that it goes way beyond the stupid
we know into a whole different dimension of stupid.
You are trans-stupid stupid. Meta-stupid. Stupid
collapsed on itself so far that even the neutrons
have collapsed. Singularity stupid. Blazing hot
mid-day sun on Mercury stupid. You emit more stupid
in one second than our entire galaxy emits in a
year. Quasar stupid. Perhaps this is some primordial
fragment from the original big bang of stupid. Some
pure essence of a stupid so uncontaminated by anything
else as to be beyond the laws of physics that we
amongst the thinking community is prepared to risk
exposure to such ridicule by suggesting that any of
it is believed?
a much more serious level and at a time when those
opposed to war on Iraq would be hoping for the isolation
of an increasingly unbridled warlike US administration
rather than public identification with it, only the
radicals of Irish political life stayed at home. Those
claiming to be opposed to war yet who travelled the
3000 miles to worship at the altar of US belligerence
will no doubt come back and regale us with tales of
how they told George Bush that his proposed war on
Iraq is wrong; and of how he listened. Just as they
claim to have told Richard Haass that American foreign
policy on Israel was unethical. Haass, no doubt would
be hard pressed to have any memory of such a conversation.
And Bush it appears is unlikely to remember anything.
we should be thankful for small mercies. Their sojourn
in America should help to persuade us that we can
get along without them. The man tasked with administering
British rule until such times as the British can get
the Irish to do it for them, Paul Murphy, has made
it known that £7.4 million of public money has
been saved and reallocated as a result of the suspension
of Stormont. Just think of how much could be saved
and usefully redeployed if America were to hold our
political class until St Patrick's Day next year.
Guantanamo Bay houses more honest people at the minute.
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