Sunday 1 January 2012
Published in an early edition of the Sunday Independent, but elbowed out later and never made the website
Barry Herridge must leave the island. Now! I’m sorry about this, for Sinead O’Connor’s latest husband seems to be a nice bloke, but the committee that this year has decided who’s to be deported put him top of the list. The strongly expressed view was that Sinead is a national treasure, that anyone marrying her should expect a bit of stress and that he’s some kind of therapist, for heaven’s sake, and so has no excuse for a) exiting after only 16 days and b) reconciling a few weeks later and generally confusing us all.
Jedward were thrown out last year but the little wretches snuck back. The committee might have loftily ignored this transgression, but on Wednesday The Guardian maddened us with an editorial praising Jedward for cheering Ireland up with their ‘hyperactive on-screen antics and unflappable optimism’. Listen, you ill-informed sanctimonious Guardian creeps, we Irish are better than that. For every pubescent screaming promises of eternal love, there are a hundred adults grinding their teeth. Out, out, out with the pair of them.
Bono was exiled last year for being preachy and avoiding Irish taxes; this year he’s sentenced along with the rest of U2 to join their money in the Netherlands.
Which brings me to Peter Sutherland. Now I know Suds a bit and we have good friends in common, but I am a principled woman, so though unlike my fellow committee members, I don’t call him Top Smug Bastard Plutocrat, I endorse their decision to send him to Iona. For those whose monastic history is a bit rusty, Iona is where St Columba took himself in 561 to atone for the row with St Finnian over the ownership of a psalter that led to the carnage of the Battle of Cúl Dreimhne.
Now Suds hasn’t started any wars, and he’s done some good things. He coughs up generously from time to time to University College Dublin, our alma mater even if regrettably the money mostly goes on encouraging people to become lawyers. As Chairman, he rightly forced the Chief Executive, Lord Browne, out of BP because he was damaging both the company and the environment. But Suds’s record as Chairman of the AIB was inglorious (remember the covering-up of the bank’s collusion in tax-dodging?), he was on the board of the Royal Bank of Scotland when it did nothing to stop Fred ‘the Shred’ Goodwin marching into the abyss and he has made a huge fortune as Chairman of Goldman Sachs International, whose parent company showed the Greeks how to cook their books and thus get into and sink the Euro.
Since he is a fervent European federalist, you’d think Suds would be mortified by this and quit, but he’s not given to resigning. When the London School of Economics, of which he was Chairman, got into big trouble over taking money from Saif Gaddafi, it was the Director who went. Give Suds his due, it’s taken guts for him to lecture the Irish on the need for austerity, but I reckon you can overdo the chutzpah. A year-long retreat on Iona will do him no end of good.
To add to his mortification, he’ll be joined by what I’m sure he’d regard as the wrong Joan Collins. And she can take with her all the other TDs who are inciting people to break the law by refusing to pay the household charge. Our current culture of entitlement is hostile to the notion that bin-emptying and street cleaning and the other responsibilities of local government cost money. Until 1977, when wicked old Fianna Fail won a landslide victory by promising to abolish rates, there was in effect a property-tax. When this went, the additional burden fell on tax-payers.
Up North, they pay hefty council taxes and would weep with joy if these fell to €100. Look, lads, there’s no money tree. Someone has to pay. And anyone pretending otherwise is an irresponsible gobshite who deserved to be stranded on a bleak Scottish island with Suds.
While I’m on politicians, of course no year can go by without the forcible ejection of Gerry Adams. This year he’s being sent somewhere horrible with another arch-hypocrite, the Reverend Ian Paisley. I’ve just finished an excellent book on the origin of the Troubles (Belfast and Derry in Revolt), and am reminded yet again what a massive and malign contribution Paisley made to precipitating decades of horror in Northern Ireland.
The committee brooded long and hard about where to send this pair, and decided on a desert island which they will share with the corpses of those inspired by them to preach hate and kill for their tribe. They can spend their time boring each other or tending the cemetery. And if they don’t bear their fate stoically, we’ll send them Jedward to cheer them up.
Ruth Dudley Edwards