Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Wizard of Waffle

The sun came and conquered - and it's due to stay until the weekend. I'm as brown as bog water. I used to listen as the Irish complained whenever it got too hot. Those rare occasions, about once a year.
   'It's awful warm, isn't it?' they'd pant, their farmer's tan beginning to flake. I haven't heard anyone complain this time round. Then, how would I? There is no-one around.
   I've been soaking up the rays - stocking up on the old Vitamin D. They say the Irish don't get enough of it. I asked about it in a pharmacy once. They didn't stock it.

Today the sun shone particularly bright for some people. Namely holders of an AIB bond - cashing in to the tune of €2-25 billion in Irish tax-payers money. In this age of austerity, where hundreds of thousands of Irish lives have been ruined because of rogue banks involved in suicide Capitalism - all under the watchful eye of elected officials - this news should be news.
   In this age of increasing waiting lists to access health services, increasing child-to-teacher ratio's - and Jedward - this money could surely have been put to better use. But bound by the bank guarantee - the payment was made. Just one of many and one of many still to come. Yet it hardly gets a mention in our national news. TV3 flirted with it today - RTE, as far as I can see - ignorant of it. They led with the news of 100 new jobs at Amazon. Well, woofuckin'who!
   Those pre-election words from Leo Varadkar - 'not another cent' ring shallow now, don't they? Particularly for those who saw the new government as a ray of light. The ones who fell for the con. That politics could provide the answer. In the end, Labour and Fine Gael couldn't even honor their simple-minded mandate - remember it? That 5-point-plan. Just simple enough for ordinary folk to get it. Who cares after that?
   Well, the lights gone out now. Down a dark tunnel. Unlikely to re-emerge. They've played it dirty this referendum debate - the government tricksters. They've used the fear factor - scaremongering tactics - anything that might work.
   They've silenced the unpopular ones among them. Keeping them out of the limelight. Hoping the new found sunshine will give everything a more European feel.
   Enda Kenny prays that his refusal to debate the treaty with any of the other party leaders doesn't result in people wondering if the leader of the country and the chief 'Yes' man for Europe can't debate this treaty, then why not? He's taoiseach!
   More like The Wizard of Waffle!

Labour's demise continues as a poll at the weekend said that they were now the fourth largest party in the country - behind even Fianna Fáil. Sinn Féin's surge in popularity continues as they edge closer to Fine Gael off the back of opposition. It seems like only yesterday Eamon Gilmore seemed to be the man for all seasons. Now he's a government man. We all remember his famous, 'Frankfurt Way.' What a spoofer. The man called for Irish control over our budgets.
   Now in office, he's saying, let's hand over those controls - ie, more rampant austerity - in exchange for access to a fund which is hardly likely to cover the crisis emerging within the banking sector in Spain.
   If Labour don't act - and swiftly - they face an uncertain future. Not something they wanted to be considering in their 100th year. But like most Irish politicians over the years who dared to hog the limelight he has ultimately proved a disappointment. When Ireland needed a Statesman, Gilmore became an austerity-bearing Europhile.

About the same time as Gene Kerrigan was calling Enda Kenny a 'chicken', Gustav was roasting his own next door over a BBQ. Free food. Who was I to refuse?
   Linda was there. She looks so different from when she is at the supermarket. Like she's another person.
   'Linda has good news,' Gustav said, as the juice ran from the chicken fillets on to the coals below - igniting some of them. What - pregnant? Surely not!
   'There's an opening down at the supermarket,' she began. ' I can't promise anything, but I could get you an application form and maybe help you filling it out. Maybe swing it your way?'
   Christ, who does she think I am? What, I can't fill out an application form? I've an education you know. Be it a disappointing one.
   'What it is?' I asked, trying hard to hide my thoughts beneath my proudly tanned and newly shaved head. It would be difficult to go in straight to management. Even I knew that.
   'We're looking for a buffer - three hours - seven nights a week. It's part-time. From 4am till 7am.'
   'What's a buffer?' I asked.
   Gustav began removing the fillets from the BBQ grate.
   'It's when you dance with the floor,' he said. 'You know, with buffer machine. Where ever it bring you.' He began laughing. Linda looked at me.
   'I'm not much use cleaning floors,' I said. 'But thanks.' That was easy. See, I can talk up for myself. I mean, come on. Writers are known for strange things. But buffering?
   'No,' began Gus, laying the blackened chicken on to a plate of salad for me. 'Job is good. Easy money. You try for a few weeks. You not like. You leave.'
   'I can't promise you anything, though,' Linda interrupted, receiving her portion. The lines of the grill clearly visible on her fillet. Cooked to perfection. 
   'Get form,' Gus said as he sat down to enjoy his own. It looked somewhere in the middle of Linda's and I's. 'You worry for interview when it arrives.'
   'Sure what harm will it do?' she added, cutting through the chicken like it was made for the knife.
   'OK,' I said, removing the black coat from mine. 'I'll fill it out.' Like Ireland I surrendered. Slow and painful. Until the bitter end.
    Gustav's cooking got better as the evening went on - until a chilly breeze forced me to leave for the warmer climate of the attic. Still, it was nice to get out of the house.

My vote on Thursday will be 'NO.' My hesitation is in casting it. One way or another it's going to be bad. No body's calling for the banks to go to hell - the ones that cost us everything. We have to 'stabilize' the banking sector, they say. Yet no-one calls for a new one.
   No body's talking about correcting the deficit and the measures that need to be taken to correct it. Yet, with a new banking sector that safeguards those who didn't profit purely from speculation and a fair spreading of the so-called 'pain' and we might have had a future. Given the resources we have. Before we signed them away - to more speculators. Employment remains at record highs. Emigration ain't to far behind.  And Jedward! They finished bloody19th.

Thank fuck for the weather.


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