REGINA’S DIVIDE AND RULE
Regina Doherty’s suggestion that the state pension could be determined by factors like geography provided prime fodder for daytime radio, as callers and panellists were pitted against each other in a game of parochial poor-mouth.
To support her argument, the Social Protection Minister conjured up the figure of “a lady in Donegal”, an unfortunate creature who was then set upon or defended depending on where one stood.
It marks the return of divide and rule politics practised during the bailout years as government and media manufacture divisions between young and old, between urban and rural, between public and private sector and anyone else in the way of another round of cuts.
Moreover, it signals government’s effort to manage expectations ahead of budget 2020, where they may not have as much ‘fiscal space’ as they would like heading into a general election. Memories of the ‘grey army revolt’ in 2008, following proposals to end automatic entitlement to the over-70s medical card, still linger in Leinster House so any attempt to even countenance pension reform indicates that economic clouds are indeed on the horizon.
The phony war between old ladies of Donegal and Dún Laoghaire is ready-made media drama. Almost overshadowing the minister delicately framing her policies in the language of “fairness”. Any such moves, however, along with perennial anxiety about child benefit, can be viewed within an agenda to do away with the idea of universal benefits altogether.
SPOT THE DIFFERENCE 3714
||Acts like royalty
|Acts like Robbo’s friend
||Claims to be the princess’s best friend ever
|Really annoys Sheikh Mohammad
||Really annoys lots of people
|Considers herself more important than the other wives
||Considers herself more important than everyone
|Fled to London
||Fled to the UN
|Desperate to fade into the background
||Desperate to fade into the foreground
FURY AS TRUMP FAILS TO INSULT ANYONE
There was anger across Ireland last week as US President Donald Trump left the country without bad mouthing a government TD, insulting a news organisation or even ridiculing a left-wing member of a gay organisation claiming disability payments.
Outraged protestors, who had campaigned against the two-day visit, accused the president of “failing to deliver” and “deliberately misleading” his host country.
Said one fuming painter protesting in Doonbeg, “I took a week off work to prepare for this demonstration against right-wing, xenophobic racism and that orange buffoon didn’t even call Simon Coveney a four-eyed culchie! He couldn’t care less about people. It’s outrageous!”
SPOT THE DIFFERENCE 3710
|Michael McDowell’s dog
|Wandered aimlessly around Ranelagh
||Wandering aimlessly around Dublin
||Kept on a tight leash by handlers
||Muzzled since late 2017
|Barks at strangers
||Barks at Mark Durkan
||Hopes to be top dog in Europe
||Always has a bone to pick
|Has number on collar
||Has Leo Varadkar’s number
HOW THEY FANCY THEIR CHANCES
The real question is how many people out there want me to f**k off out of Ireland and stay out. If enough people are pissed off with me, my scruffy hair, my dress sense and all that odd stuff about my finances, then I’m home and dry. So personally, I think I’ll be dans le parliament non bother, mon ami!
Ming ‘Luke’ Flanagan:
For the past five years I may not seem to have been doing anything except downing cappuccinos on the Rue de Rizla, while drawing down a massive salary. But that was part of the plan to wait in the long grass – which is of far better quality than the stuff I can get my hands on, by the way. So with the element of surprise, I expect to be lighting up the place for another five years. Pass it on man.
Dublin is the ‘group of death’; but trust me that I’m a safe bet. “Success,” my daddy said to me, “will come your way by being twee”.
THOSE PUTIN DENIALS IN FULL
TRUMP praised Putin’s “very strong” denial of interference in the 2016 US general election, despite US Intelligence services saying they were as good as certain that Russia was behind it.
But speaking to the media, the Russian president had a few denials of his own…
“Haha! Yeah right! We poisoned a few people in England! Next you’ll be telling me I used to do this kind of stuff for a living!”
“Of course gay people aren’t being persecuted in Russia. You can almost make the word FAB-ulous out of our FSB acronym.”
“Almost 100 journalists have been murdered in Russia since I came to power? Hey, it’s a dangerous job! Just ask Charlie Bird.”
“Would FIFA have trusted us to hold the World Cup if we were a corrupt human-rights abusing kleptocracy? I haven’t been accused of crimes against humanity in Chechnya. I’m actually known as the BAKER of Grozny.”
WHY I SHOULD BE PRESIDENT
I can assure you that I can always be relied on to provide populist sound bites about the first thing that comes into my head. I am also semi-bilingual and travel well, so should have no problem whatsoever following in the tired footsteps of President Higgins who is now, sadly, far too old for foreign junkets.
In my much-loved role as RTÉ’s most popular dragon with a varied collection of raffish dark grey pin-stripe business suits, I know for certain that I can build on Michael D’s tireless self-promotion. He has done quite a fabulous job despite his extreme old age. But I will breathe fire into what is otherwise likely to
be a very dull campaign, dominated by simpering old bores.
My historic Áras record speaks volumes – just as I do myself – having willingly undertaken every assignment, however ridiculous – as long as it was overseas and involved reciting my verses to the diaspora while being followed by adoring TV crews. Ireland does not need a jaded dragon who has run out of puff. It needs a man of immense culture who has age on his side. (That’s more than enough dreadful candidates – Ed.)
Britain’s Foreign Secretary tells it like it isn’t
CRIPES ALL ROUND! Just when the whole Brexit thing has been getting completely out of hand along come the July 12th Orangemen to save the day.
So thank goodness for Johnny Loyalist and our DUP pals who are on the move again and banging the drum for Britain – just like yours truly.
Say what you like, but there’s something jolly uplifting about all those chaps parading around in the sweltering summer heat in their colourful black suits and bowler hats. What’s the harm in playing a few religious wind instruments to commemorate some battle or other and then chilling out with chums around a traditional sectarian bonfire?
And as for Mrs Foster, she might be a plain Jane, and although she has been reaching out to Belfast’s Muslim mullahs and the Republican gay sports movement, let’s not write her off as a total failure. In fact, Arlene shows true grit when it’s needed – unlike some other female politicians – not that I want to utter a bad word about poor old Mrs May or her completely shambolic handling of just about everything.
Our patriotic DUP chums in Westminster are the kind of good eggs that Bozza can do business with and they clearly recognise the next fun-loving British Prime Minister when they see him, ie Bojo – so let’s all keep marching in step, chaps!
THE PHILIP ROTH I NEVER MET
by Phil Space
UNLIKE everyone else writing on this very sad weekend, I am unable to remember the moment when I first met Philip Roth. The extraordinary feeling when he swept into a fashionable literary party in downtown Manhattan was something I never experienced.
Indeed, it’s almost impossible to encapsulate Roth’s sheer genius as a colossus of American letters – particularly when you’ve never met him or read any of his best-selling novels. Fortunately, it’s perfectly clear from even a quick glance in Wikipedia that the great Jewish writer was a “fearless narrator of sex, religion and mortality”.
This means that leading literary critics like myself can now comment on how Philip Roth explored life with a simmering intensity in bleakly-comic novels, such as Portnoy’s Complaint, American Pastoral, Goodbye Columbus, Nemesis (We get the idea – Ed.)
Although the prestigious Nobel prize evaded this iconic author, Roth won the acclaimed Pulitzer Prize for fiction as well as numerous other literary honours, including the US National Book Award, the Critics Circle Award, the PEN/Faulkner Award and… (That’s quite enough – Ed.)
But for those of us who are looking back on the life of this powerful and prolific talent, it is appropriate to shed tears of regret as we contemplate the white-dominated space we have to fill with stories of encounters we never had.
Rejected St Patrick’s Day Grand Marshals
- Johnny Vegas
- Frosty the Snowman
- Boris Johnson
- Jack Frost
- Fredro Starr
- Arsene Wenger
- Eddie Jones
KIDS REACT TO BRUTON’S PHONE BAN
Rugger buggers back in action
THE STANDS are full, the days are bright, the steroids are flying off the shelves (surely ‘Natural supplements’? – Ed). Yes it’s Schools Cup Rugby time and the fab Phoenix has all the teams to watch this year. The media is on fire with the legal threat by St Bicep’s College over the ineligibility of a 29-year-old former All Black who moved to Ireland five minutes ago to “repeat his Leaving”.
Dublin powerhouses of St Oaf’s and Creatine College are expected to clash in the Leinster final with 18st winger Josh Benchpress facing Oaf’s 19st Ross Dumbell. In Munster, ambulances are on standby as Savage’s Comprehensive face St Stabby’s Incomprehensible; in Connacht Mercedes College face the mighty Beemers (“the 520s”) while north of the border Planters’ College should just pip Inbreds’ Academy after their success in the B Special league. Exciting stuff, with the girls from St Pernod’s of Perpetual Action ever-present on the sidelines. (Surely “Around the back”? – Ed).
Out-of-contract politicians may opt to move abroad
By IRFU correspondent Gerry Corney
MANY OF Ireland’s best known politicians may be plying their trade in the UK, France or Germany next year. When, as expected, a general election is called early in 2018 as many as 158 Irish TDs will be “out of contract” with some unlikely to have their national contracts renewed by the Irish electorate.
Provincial contracts with local city and county councils are expected to be thin on the ground for experienced politicians with key positions being taken up by “academy” politicians from party youth sections.
Language could be an issue for some with Mattie McGrath, Michael Ring and Willie O’Dea having to take lessons in spoken English to have any prospect of getting that lucrative move abroad. Leo Varadkar is reported to have lined up a move to French club Macron Blue Sox, Shane Ross is being watched by Westminister Warriors, managed by Boris “Buffoon” Johnson while Borussia Merkelgladtobeback has an interest (What rate of interest would that be? – Ed) in acquiring PeopleBeforeProfit en bloc and turning it inside-out and back-to-front.
RTÉ Festive Highlights
Strictly Come Striking Out
It’s Christmas on exclusive Palmerston Road and Amy Huberman’s beautiful 80ft Christmas tree lights have blown. Worse still, the people next door are threatening court action. Luckily, Amy is absolutely radiant as she stars in this gritty drama.
Mrs Brown’s Boys’ Secret Accounts
The country’s favourite mammy gets a festive financial shock when she browses the Paradise Papers and finds her lovable family has diverted more than £2m into an offshore tax-avoidance scheme. Who do you trust, for feck’s sake! Heart-warming offshore fun.
Xmas News Break
Amy Huberman’s new-look three-minute celebrity news round-up, aimed at Irish family audiences, particularly those with no interest in news. With sports headlines presented by Brian O’Driscoll, followed by the latest weather updates with Baz Ashmawy and Vogue Williams.(That’s enough RTÉ – Ed)
Jack – Stocks
Those ‘libellous’ Indo comments in full
@RobbiePITT — Re: robots taking over our lives, I know this seriously rich chap who has a mup… sorry, puppet, called Les that actually looks like he’s real when he gets him to sit, dance, sing and even bid for radio stati… (The online editor reserves the right to curtail any comments deemed unfit for publication _Ed)
@FiNtan_ToolIT — Sometimes in the dark darkness of my pillowed sleep I dream of a Hook-less, liberated Newstalk, where women are free to roam the prairie of their talents without being hunted down for the ornamental ivory of their gender.
@CathMurph4TEESHOCK — Re: thread on paranormal activities, I may have info about skeletons in a cupboard owned by a portly businessman. Anyone interested?
Wilbur – chins