In his blog Kevin Myers lays before us some unsettling observations on what is going on in our country at the moment, suggesting at the same time that most of us have been fast asleep while our poor nation is being sent floating down the Swanee by a cadre of politicians who are either stark raving mad or just not up to the job.
I don’t want to write about this, mostly because you probably won’t want to read another bloody word about Covid, which is not exactly why I go to the trouble of… et cetera. But what precisely is going on when the only resistance to the insane rules now governing us come from the sort of people for whom the old padded-cells at Grangegorman should be re-opened and Albert Pierrepoint given his job back? Where is the voice of reason? Where is the “conversation” – and just when did that word acquire its slightly creepy note of bogus civility? – that should accompany the major transformations which have occurred in Irish society?
For the past year, the government has, effectively, being gift-wrapping the entire Irish retail sector and handing it over, lock, stock and barrel, to Jeff Bezos. Maybe some small specialist outlets – boutiques specialising in double-D cup bras for obese fourteen-year-old boys – might emerge amidst the post-nuclear rubble of our high streets and our shopping centres. But Ireland’s towns and cities probably have no commercial future. The original meaning of the word ‘shop’ – a place where things happen, as in workshop or bookshop – has been transliterated into its very opposite with that term ‘shopping-on-line’. A shop is not a location anymore but a meaningless meme circling like Pluto in the outer space of the Bezos mind.
How could so many bizarre and counter-logical rules have been accepted without challenge? How is suspending cancer-scans prolonging life? How is closing down childhood good for children? How is borrowing from tomorrow good for the day after tomorrow?
If it is illegal to travel more than 5km from your home, how can CIE still be running buses and trains between towns hundreds of kilometres apart? How is it possible that our airports are still functioning? Has Michael O’Leary devised a business model with an airline client-base that lives in tents at the end of runway Number One? And just why did the government make it illegal to go rough-shooting or play golf in the open air?
Across the world, beaches have been shut down, yet Mark Woolhouse of the University of Edinburgh recently told the House of Commons that not a single transmission of the virus could be attributed to people mingling in such places. Moreover, as the great Lord Sumption has observed, general rules that were devised for coping with the virus have been transmuted into iron laws, to be enforced by the courts, with prison sentences and criminal records for the “guilty”.
Read his full challenge here.