Sunday, January 29, 2012


Grand soft morning here on the Emerald Isle, thanks to The Buddha. The earthworms will be rising, giving the sparrows and robins something to slide down into them after the frost of the night before. They cautiously look around for an imminent attack by their distant cousins, the scavenging crow.

I wonder how these slithery megadriles, so valuable to the earth's Eco-system, are doing down there. I imagine where I'm living they're doing OK.
The excess of the Celtic Tiger came here - but not in the crazy way it did in other parts of the country. Places where ghost estates not only de-value small towns and rural settings, but provide a daily reminder of how far Ireland came, before having to leave it all behind.
Having been a site worker for half my life and seeing the way the thinking never swayed much into Eco-systems off into the future, and all that goes with that, I sometimes wonder about scandals. For instance, what's happening to the residents of Priory Hall or the unfortunate sprinkle of residents on abandoned estates littered throughout the country.
An RTE once-yearly half hour 'special' into such things hardly amounts to doing what a national broadcaster should be doing. Surely shaming and shaping has to be part of their remit. It is. It's just rarely gets done - and less so, never seems to make much of a difference. Specifically in the short-term. Lots of Ireland's past shames have had to be dealt with in silence. Generations of it. Passed down to be dealt with by other generations. Scandals - too many to mention.

Years ago I remember working on apartments on Sheriff Street in Dublin. A regeneration project. Dublin was beginning to boom. These apartment blocks were flying up. Property was beginning to become the name of the game. Cowboys and Indians came. the cowboys stayed.
Cardboard boxes with walls like paper. A great environment for the writer who had no ideas, but being able to listen to everything going on next door would soon have become a living nightmare to many who wished they hadn't been so naive.

Take things like sub-soil acting as topsoil. Little to cling to but the broken bits and pieces of materials that didn't quite make it on to some of the most expensive builds in Irish mortgage history.
Surely, if the earthworm thinks, they must be thinking we are a vandalizing lot. We'll chant 'progress' but surely progress has to be measured over our understanding of time, and not just in the instant. Grabbing desperately for any currency note available to work for the common good of the shareholder who benefits most all this.
When weighed up against time again, I wonder if Darwin was about today, he might be having his doubts. Particularly at the human end of evolution. While we are the only species to have to pay for the privilege of living on the planet, we do seem at times hell-bent on making sure it ain't going to be worth paying for a hundred years down the road.
I doubt even humans will be stupid enough to pay stealth taxes on toxic air rations. Or poisoned foods. Assuming we make it that far at all. At least there's genetic modification to be played around with.

I wonder how earthworm survive in Switzerland?
Enda Kenny scooted off to Davos this week to attend the World Economic Forum beneath the powdery snow of the Swiss Alps. No Ryanair flights or cheap train rides this time. But then, even we Irish, can't be having our state leader-in-name thumbing lifts on European highways and going cross country on skies.
Among the lavish surroundings Enda looked well. Doing Ireland justice after the lack luster style years of the anorak wearing Bertie and the disheveled Ollie Reed years of Brian. Nothing against the guys. I've worn anoraks. Dishevelled too.
Enda was allowed to talk in some of the media set-ups and may have even at times spoke well. But he is an earthworm in a sea of crows. They all know that. Even the maids and porters.

More worrying though perhaps is our leaders recent problems with memory. Who remembers his 5-point-plan at Irish salvation just over a year ago.

Point One - Protecting and creating jobs - Fail. The only reason there has been stagnation is because 50,000 are heading off the island each year. Expect that to double this year as more and more make a better lifestyle choice.

Point Two - Introducing better, fairer budgets to keep taxes low - Epic fail. Taxes are low alright. For the rich or bankrupted - depends on how you view it.

Point Three – we will create a completely new health system. Hard to call this one. If he meant 'new' in the sense it's going to be twice as bad, then they have achieved here. Your call.

Point Four - smaller, better government with the people’s money spent wisely on vital public services. The government, either locally or nationally is no smaller. The Séanad still exists. People's money is going into Zombie banks, but yeah to some they are a vital public service. Again it's up to you to decide.

Point Five - a political system that achieves more and costs less, with the Government leading by example. Epic is too small a word to describe the failure of this one.

However, Enda's dementia seemed to take on some new dementia this week. Just 6 weeks ago, Enda broadcasted himself to the nation. You all remember -
'This is not your fault,' he told a hopeful public - before taking €4billion off them the next day.

This week in Davos he changed his mind. It actually turns out - it is our fault. We got greedy he said. Wealth created from cheap credit. And now we must pay for that. Some unfortunately with their lives. 30 suicides in Ireland to the middle of January. Defies believe.
Enda's playing the medium term here. He's looking to get a 'fairer' deal from the bailout. Maybe even have it's repayment put off so economic worries can be addressed. Give the island a chance at least. If he succeeds it's a noose taken from our throats. For now. The interim period between such a deal and its payment could define Ireland once and for all.
I'm still of the opinion all this is a nation grab. Soon the family jewellery will be sold. If Europe and America come to some 'arrangement' cheap money could be available again. EC grants for infrastructure. Ireland's going to need it for all the oil and gas tankers to take our natural resources out of the county.
'It's jobs', they'll chant. We'll probably cheer. And the Diaspora will sigh relief that they got out in time.

The media had a field day on Enda's flip-flop. I'm not going into it much. The only people seemingly being blamed for our economic woe is the Irish public. Because cheap arrest gestures to coincide with unsecured bondholder payments is not putting any firm blame on those few people - and they are just a few - who bankrupted us back to the 1980's.
If we're playing the blame game there may be reasons. Particularly when you have capitalist cheerleaders like Bertie Ahern telling citizens to top themselves if they talked down Bertie Economics. Why shouldn't a nation trust their leader?
Let's lob a quarter off everyone's debt and be done with it. OK, it may only save me about 500 quid - which is about how much this weeks bondholder payment will eventually cost me - but I'm sure it will benefit lots more people a whole lot more.
This unfortunately now is costing people their lives in worrying proportions and the longer the issue goes on, the more blood the banks have on their hands. Another thing capitalist junkie's are not held to account for.
Enda's home now to work on how to avoid a referendum on the upcoming treaty changes. Early polls on that subject suggest an even split. Once the fear machine goes into action that will sway it. Even if it goes to the polls, he's safe on that. At least he won't have to worry about a leadership challenge from Leo Varadkar anytime soon. I had a little comment on that one. Tired from calling it for what it is - I changed tact and decided to support Leo. A cheap wit that componded to me only one thing. Ireland's still in serious trouble.

The speed up to save the Euro gathers pace, with wording on the new treaty expected this week. The only way Europe can save itself now as a fiscal union is to print money - and fast.
That will be done if countries sign up for it - meaning further erosion to national sovereignty. The United States of Europe will be here.
Controlled by the ECB - Europe's own Federal Reserve system. Working toward a common currency with America even? Must have been plenty of Fed money went into the old Marshall plan at the end of the last world war. I'm sure they have their suckers firmly implanted in the ECB too.
Austerity is the only game in town right across Europe. Driving down living standards in an effort to compete globally with the emerging superpowers of China, Brazil and China, to name but three. But put in simple terms - it's impossible. Europe would go to war long before they would subject themselves to conditions these countries subject some of their employee's too. That's just the reality now. People are seen as a natural regenerate-able resource. A corporatist commodity - there to be used and abused as long as the shareholder don't have to see it or be subject to it.
In return for a dividend, Capitalism may have created the illusion of a progressive society - the real story is rarely broadcast or carried - no advertising money in that. Consumerism for the sake of it is not progressive. Wait for the years to come.

Now those Kardashians on the other hand. Sunday afternoon. Little gathering. Leave Bruce Botox out of the equation. Multiple camera angles. Them, being directionally driven for Eco-profit - of course.
Who'd be an earthworm?! Or a crow!

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