For generations, the Catholic clergy warned Irish people about the evils of Britain, and with good reason. Over there on that neighbouring island, they have all sorts of bizarre practices and peculiar beliefs that are completely alien to our Irish way of life.
For instance, if a person is suspected of wrongdoing, the police arrest and question them. Now how on earth would that work in Ireland? If we started doing things like that, the holding cells in police stations would be full of assorted beef barons, property developers, serving policemen, former prime ministers, county council managers, bishops, lawyers, Vatican diplomats, race-horse breeders, night-club owners, supermarket bosses, civil servants, Christian Brothers, doctors.
Even nuns and judges!
You couldn’t be doing that. It just wouldn’t be right to make decent people share cells with common criminals in their smelly tracksuits.
I know we have laws, but we never really had a tradition of enforcing them because, you see, we’re Irish, and that makes us special. We’re the best in the whole wide world for making laws. Jesus, we’ll pass a law about two flies walking up a wall, but the way we get around that is very simple. We don’t appoint anyone to police the new laws we pass, except, of course, when we find out about a 14-year-old girl going to England for an abortion after being raped. Then we enforce the laws. We even hold constitutional referendums to make sure that raped 14-year-olds don’t get over to Britain where the heathens are so degenerate they allow such dreadful things to happen.
Yes indeed. Over there in Britain, they arrest influential people — something so incomprehensible to our Irish way of life that we can hardly, well, comprehend it. They jailed Jeffrey Archer for something that in Ireland would possibly earn him an honorary doctorate or at the very least an invitation to late drinks in the Dáíl bar. They even arrested Rebekah Brooks — former chief executive of News International. Imagine that! Arresting a journalist and a business leader.
It’s true that we have arrested and charged journalists on this island, but they were generally of the troublemaking kind. The sort who stirred up difficulty for their betters when there was no need for it. Journalists like Susan O’Keeffe, who exposed gigantic fraud in the beef industry, prompting the establishment of a tribunal, and who was the only person ever charged in connection with the scandal, for refusing to reveal sources. Quite right too. We couldn’t have the Irish police investigating billionaires and prime ministers. Could we? It’s just not our way, here in the land of the welcomes and the nod and the wink. Just not our way.
Isn’t it ironic that Ireland leads Britain in protecting the right-thinking, connected classes? Maybe we should point out to them that we’re supposed to be the classless society, not them. What sort of Communistic takeover has happened that a country such as Britain has started to arrest the rich and the influential for a matter as trivial as breaking the law?
Here in Ireland, we know full well that laws are for the little people. After all, isn’t this the land of the little people? And that’s why we wouldn’t dream of arresting men as influential as the Papal Nuncio or the bishop of Cloyne. Don’t be ridiculous.
It seems the sun has finally set on the glories of the British Empire. Thank God Ireland is still here to carry the flame.