Praise for Declan Burke: “Burke shows again that he’s not just a comic genius, but also a fine dramatic writer and storyteller.” – Booklist. “Proust meets Chandler over a pint of Guinness.” – Spectator. “Among the most memorable books of the year, of any genre.” – Sunday Times. “A hardboiled delight.” – Guardian. “Imagine Donald Westlake and Richard Stark collaborating on a screwball noir.” – Kirkus Reviews. “A cross between Raymond Chandler and Flann O’Brien.” – John Banville.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Sheer Geneius

Gene Kerrigan is one of the finest Irish novelists around at the moment, in CAP’s not-so-humble opinion, and those of you who haven’t read his latest offering, DARK TIMES IN THE CITY – which, I suspect, is most of you – should hasten to your nearest bookstore and purchase it forthwith, sparing not the horses, James.
  I’m also rather fond of Gene Kerrigan’s columns on the back page of the Sunday Independent, which have taken on something of a quixotic poignancy in recent times, as he vainly tilts against the windmills of Ireland’s entrenched vested interests. The most recent subject of his ire is the McCarthy Report. To wit:
It’s like we’re all on a lifeboat. At one end of the lifeboat, we’re being told that things are so bad that we must choose which amongst us is to be served up as dinner, so that the rest won’t all perish.
  And, from the other end of the lifeboat, we can hear the enormous farts from the bloated arses of the Very Serious People, on the fourth course of their blow-out.
  As this column said before, this battle is about the quality of wine on the dinner tables of the elite. People who routinely uncork a €48 bottle of wine will, indeed, make sacrifices in our hour of peril. They’ll settle for a €36 bottle of plonk. But they’re damned if they’ll slum it with a crappy €22 bottle.
  Geneius. For the rest, clickety-click here ...
  The McCarthy Report, for those of you interested, is a report on where savings can be made in the Government’s public sector wage bill. It targets, for the most part, education, health and essential services – one proposal, for example, suggests closing down half the rural Garda stations.
  Here’s the situation in Ireland:
  A Fianna Fail-led government has been in power for over a decade;
  We’ve gone from boom to bust in the last three years;
  The same government who led us into the tailspin are now proposing to pull us out;
  They propose to achieve this by commissioning a report from a group of people who are ideologically wedded to the economic model that got us bust in the first place;
  The overall aim is to reassert the status quo, although possibly with more safety-nets built in for the very wealthy individuals whose greed caused the bust in the first place;
  The cost of paying for the stupid greed of a gilded elite will be picked up by the taxpayer, and the taxpayer’s children, and very probably the taxpayer’s grandchildren, because the government insists on bailing out useless, rotten banks by investing billions that could be spent on education, health, and essential services.
  Meanwhile, the opposition parties clamour for an election, pretending that they want to be in charge of the fiasco, but no one seems prepared to say that it’s the system that’s at fault; that it’s the system that has provided us with a generation of utterly useless politicians, bankers and captains of industry; that it’s the system that needs to change. Otherwise we’re just shuffling deckchairs on the Titanic.
  My father, bless his heart, is no political or economic savant. But for as long as I can remember, going back to the early ’80s, when it was clear to everyone with eyes to see that Charles J. Haughey was filthy to the core, my father was saying, “We need to ask Fidel to come over and sort us out.” A benign dictatorship was what he was proposing, in effect. And you can laugh if you want to, but answer me this: with Ireland on its way to hell in a hand-basket, broke and bust and borrowing billions at a punitive rate of interest just to keep up with the day-to-day spending, this a few short years after the Celtic Tiger was roaring all over the world, at anyone who’d listen, about how wonderful the Irish economy was – answer me this: how much worse of a job would Fidel Castro have done at managing the Irish economy than Bertie Ahern and Brian Cowen?


Uriah Robinson said...

I hear your cry Dec, and would be even more sympathetic if we did not have a similarly incompetent crew in charge here in the UK.
In that great film about the German Democratic Republic [an oxymoron if ever I heard one] and the Stasi at the end Sebastian Koch tells the former minister, "to think that people like you actually ran a country."

As someone who was once a kindly left wing social democrat and am now in uncharted waters I think Fidel Castro would have done a grand job in Ireland.
But here in the UK we need a Pancho Villa or Emiliano Zapata and then that benign dictatorship for a decade. We need a generation of potential politicians to grow up who put their fellow citizens welfare before their own bank balances. Is that too much to ask?

Uiscebot said...

We're focked! And nobody wants to fix it really.