Sunday, September 02, 2018

Rancid Ruminations - August 2018

The Presidential Election

What a waste. It’s clear the incumbent will get back in but we’ll have to endure months of guff in the meantime. A blessing for the media who will no doubt attempt to generate spurious drama from the foregone conclusion. I’ll certainly vote for Higgins again. It’s nice to have a literate, poetry-loving man representing us. He may be slightly effete and occasionally lapse into preciousness but he’s basically sound. Much will be made by his opponents of his praise for Castro on the latter’s death, but that’s a positive for me. Those who consider Castro a despot should bear in mind the almost universal sorrow in Cuba when he died. Batista’s followers and descendants may have rejoiced in Miami but genuine Cubans mourned. Some people value independence.

Pope Bashing

Now God knows I’m not a practicing Catholic and have no time for the whole “vast moth-eaten musical brocade of religion” (incidentally that phrase is from Philip Larkin’s Aubade – perhaps the most terrifying poem in the English language). However, the attacks on Pope Francis by the right-on brigade in the media seemed to miss the point. Of course the Church has behaved appallingly and protected criminals and perverts from the consequences of their actions. And of course it should be hounded for this. But an equally  important issue is how and why successive Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael governments handed over responsibility for health, education and unmarried mothers to an organization staffed by reluctant celibates with a belief in a glorious afterlife for those who suffer in this life. It was never going to end well. From Cosgrave and De Valera onwards the political establishment have been complicit in this and only now are we slowly beginning to disentangle ourselves.

The Summer’s Gone.

Is there anything more depressing than those back to school ads – that usually start in early August. They send an atavistic shudder through me. And yesterday to cement that dread I hear an ASTI apparatchik on the radio banging on about parity in pay for teachers. This is the union that not too long ago sold new hires down the Swanee so they could hang on to their own entitlements. No mention of parity back then. Once in a lifetime it would be nice to see teachers threatening a strike about something other than pay or an initiative that threatens their light work-load and comfortable routines.