I think it was Des O’Malley (founder of the Progressive Democrats) who brought that phrase to my attention many moons ago: “in the national interest”. Many years have passed since then and the bridled chaos, held fast for so many years by nothing more than lies and the singular interests of the civil service, has now been let loose upon a chamfered society that is without direction. Ireland, litter tray of the Celtic Tiger, is now more like the pissing bed of a much more sedate and hapless creature; one that I will call the Hiberno Hamster. Yes, an animal that will happily feed away on its own faeces while running nowhere on a wheel until such time that a burst of energetic necessity causes it to keel over and self-terminate.
For too long this country has worked on the creation of the perfect little onion society. Layers within layers of workers whose sole purpose was to do the job of their superiors and justify budgetary spending of biblical proportions. Then there were layers of media and publicity that covered up why budgets were disappearing without product and they too burrowed into our state’s resource hamper and ate the yield of our tax payers. We have now started to peel the onion and unravel the putrid, stinking, flesh that is the sorry excuse for humanity, charged with the guidance of this country. We are still nowhere near the core of this rottenness but the vile odour has already seeped into our financial markets and removed all but the minute shreds of economic DNA necessary to just about keep the species alive.
Regular readers of my blog will be painfully aware that during Ireland’s so-called boom period, I bitched and moaned about inadequacies and misguided spending in Irish society. I fully attributed blame to those I saw as being wholly accountable for ill-founded invoices and I removed the veneer from the million dollar chipboard cabinet that was sold to us as progress. The time for blame was then; many media gurus feel that the time for blame is now but yet again I stand ahead of their morbid appeal and go out on a limb to suggest that blame will indeed get us nowhere in this dank quagmire of economic collapse. We need an amnesty on accountability and an rapid advent on action.
We the people now need to step up to our call. The time for complacency and inaction has long passed; no longer can we shrug off the inadequacy of our political leaders in humourous satire. The onus is on us as a nation and not us as an elected government, to do something about all that is around us; to remodel our society such that maybe, just maybe Ireland will not disappear down the rabbit hole and into a weird and wonderful land induced by poverty-stricken hallucinations. Can we do this? I do not know…
We concern ourselves with complaint about what our governing forces are not doing and yet for the vast majority of Irish democratic history we have never sought change in political leadership. Why? A nation divided by political colours and not civic duty is more akin to football hooliganism, destroying all that is good about the beautiful game. Our wretched attitude goes way beyond political adversity however. We have lost community drive, no passion in presentation of our roads, our streets, our homes within cities; no desire to go an extra mile to make something to be proud of – sure the council will clean it up. The only thing that Irish councils have cleaned up is the excess of tax monies left lying carelessly about the hallways of the Department of Finance. We have removed ourselves from caring about social issues that destroy communities by developing legislation to grant us immunity from acknowledging what is wrong with certain “minority” groups’ behaviour and a whole manner of other things. We developed tax and welfare loopholes so that the victims of society (mostly those who make victims out of society) can be kept hidden from view in council estates and be given the money to get along with things without us ever really knowing how they justify their handouts. Sometimes this skill is passed generational so that the trade is never lost, meanwhile Jack must prove his job finding trail to gain dole payment after 6 months unemployment following 20 years hard slog in the factory.
Yes, as a nation we have successfully failed to deal with everything that ever landed on our doorstep. From immunising ourselves from responsibility by introducing legislation to rejecting the voice of the people when they speak out about dissatisfying referenda, we’ve done it all. Ireland – a nation that just couldn’t give a shit! Unless of course it severely hurts the back pocket of the individual but even then they’ll just march on the streets until somebody else does something about it. The national interest? There is no national interest – the nation just isn’t interested.