It’s 3:00 am and my Jack Russell is giving me the eye from the far end of the couch. Once she catches my attention, she hops down, moves up to my end of the sofa and starts an impatient little dance on the floor in the general vicinity of my head. It’s fair to say, Coco doesn’t seem too bothered by my failing attempts to articulate my disgruntlement with the current Irish government.
A break for a smoke might be good and she seems quite eager for a toilet break before resuming her methodical chewing of the cushions. So I get up and we move proceedings to the backyard. It’s small and concreted. I spark up an L&M blue and recommence my musings. It’s cold so I start to walk around the edges of the garden and ponder a few snippets of information that have been swirling around in the washing machine of my mind.
The Black and Tan’s fiasco is still current and my main takeaway from it is that – if creating trouble out of fresh air for themselves – was an Olympic discipline this government would be Jamaican and run the 100 in under 9.6.
That a government party would make a blunder of this magnitude comes as no surprise considering one of the features of the recently introduced Junior Cert Framework is that History went from being a mandatory to an optional subject. Sure why would anyone need to know anything about the past. If you have teenage kids you may be very familiar with that decision as I recall it caused plenty of blow-back at the time. Once again the government had to row back somewhat on the initial decision by granting the subject ‘special core status’ – as if it were a jaded refugee washed up on our shores fleeing persecution from a Middle Eastern Ayatollah.
I light up another cigerette reflecting on this, while also looking up at the back of the house I call home. I bought it in 2001 or 2002 and spent all of 5 minutes thinking about the purchase beforehand. That’s how 26 year old’s rolled in the Celtic Tiger. You might rock into a bank looking for a mortgage and rock out with two apartments in Bulgaria as well. If your 26 today reading this – that’s the main reason you can’t a buy house.
Of course, back then, I never considered that my current abode would turn into home. And yet here we are in the dead of night 19 years later. As I scan the exterior walls and windows I must admit I’m not too disappointed at how things turned. Things could be a hell of a lot worse and are for a lot of people. She’s in good nick too for a 110 year old light on insulation.
The housing crisis gets my thoughts kindling again and just reaffirms my belief of this government’s casual arrogance. No-one seems in the least embarrassed that they have overseen the biggest oversupply of housing in the history of the state to the biggest under supply in just 10 odd years.
A fella I work with comes to mind. Early 30’s with a decent job and married to a woman with a career too. They’ve been renting in a village, in the middle of nowhere, to save for a home while also starting a family. Not long ago they had their second child. The banks reaction, by all accounts, would’ve been a preference to hear an admission of having a crack habit rather than a child. These are not the type of people that broke the back of this country or will in the future. Unfortunately they are targeted as people chosen to pay for the sins others.
Leo Varadkar seems to be under the illusion that an early February election could be a Valentine’s massacre for some of the other parties. I wonder if I’m the only one that thinks that there’s a better chance of Qassem Soleimani being Taoiseach at the end of the year than himself.
This Valentine’s massacre quote was the cherry on top of a United Ireland cake he was baking up in his brain where he indicated the public’s reaction to the Royal Irish Constabulary memorial will delay a United Ireland. Ah sure, of course, every overspend, mishap and misdeed is actually our fault – to question the leadership is nigh on treasonous in some lofty quarters of Government Buildings. They know best.
“Comrades!’ he cried. ‘You do not imagine, I hope, that we pigs are doing this in a spirit of selfishness and privilege? Many of us actually dislike milk and apples. I dislike them myself. Our sole object in taking these things is to preserve our health. Milk and apples (this has been proved by Science, comrades) contain substances absolutely necessary to the well-being of a pig. We pigs are brain-workers. The whole management and organisation of this farm depend on us. Day and night we are watching over your welfare. It is for your sake that we drink the milk and eat those apples.”
Maybe Fine Gael could organise a Famine memorial to get the public back on track. To distract the milk-less and apple-less. Perhaps a suitable remembrance of the 1840’s would be a celebration of ‘Peel’s Brimstone’ – the yellowy maize got a terribly bad rap back in the day – sure it only half-killed the poor, starving masses. Which in Fine Gael (Pig) speak means it kept them half alive and we should all be mature enough now to recognise and celebrate that……………..
A couple of birds start chirping and interrupt my wandering thoughts for a time. I look around for sight of them but it’s still pitch black, the darkness broken only by the trill of their tiny voices. I take a gander at the clock on my phone and conclude it’s a bit early for the dawn chorus. I guess climate change effects us all in differing and mysterious ways.
My ruminations move to Richard Bruton and the recent announcement that all new Diesel and Petrol cars will be illegal to purchase by 2030. A big on headlines, low on detail kind of proclamation. To be fair, I’m long past due having a chat with myself about the climate subject and settle in for a conversation on the garden bench.
I suppose, at the end of the day, the only problem I have with climate change and the demands it places on us as a people, is that my gut tells me, in the twilight zone of the cross-over from old world to new – it’s poor people that will bear the brunt of the cost. History tells me they always do. Carbon taxes for everyone in the audience that already can’t afford to buy a house. Credit Union loans for a fill of diesel might work I suppose. Why does this government constantly behave like the Irish economy is one where every single worker earns an 80 grand a year minimum wage?
The government have made a commitment to have 40% of all electricity produced from renewable resources by the end of this year. But what is the effect of gradually adding 2.6 million cars to the electricity grid. Is it in effect, really only a 20% commitment based on the huge expansion of electricity usage that is coming our way?
How much infrastructure investment is required ?
Can the government make a commitment that 100% of our electricity will be produced by renewable’s in 2030?
Shouldn’t the government make this commitment also? – but then I remind myself they’re very good at placing demands on the people rather than commitments from themselves. When I finally hand over the keys of my tired old diesel Passat, I would at least like a guarantee, that the 4 or 5 hours of electrical charge on my second hand Electrical Vehicle isn’t coming from electricity produced by natural gas or coal.
Is this a fair expectation? – neither of us on the bench are sure – Alas we won’t solve it tonight methinks………………….
The cool of the night seems sharper now or maybe the heat of my thoughts have finally subsided somewhat. The birds still sing and Simon Harris probably isn’t having sleepless nights about the Health service – so I won’t go there either.
Finally I’m drawn to a warm feeling on my right foot. I glance down at the pair of canvas trainers I’m wearing and feel the spread of something damp and liquidy. I’ve wandered into a corner of the concrete jungle Coco calls home and I guess she’s not too pleased about it. I remove the soiled runner from my foot and enter the house mildly annoyed. I’ll treat myself to a cup of tea in consolation and hit the hay. The thought of it’s sweetness and warmth lifts my mood again. And as the kettle starts to whistle, the tune that’s been evading my senses all night finally nestles into my ear by way of an amused whisper.
Fine Gael – The party that can’t stop pissing on your shoe.
I might knock a story out of that when I wake up.