Where, many people ask me, has the Irish tradition of satire gone? This is after all the land of Swift and a place where the curse of a bard, that he would sing satirical songs about you, was a powerful force in keeping the upper classes in some semblance of order in Celtic times. They have a point : we could do with some satire, to whet the mind of incipient Myles na gCopaleens. Northern Ireland is blessed with the demented wit and literary genius of Colin Bateman. We need someone to take up the mantle of Juvenal, Rabelais, Twain and to become an Irish Colbert (Stephen, not Jean-Baptiste) or Stewart (Jon, not the scottish soi-disant Kings).
There is no shortage of material. Although a dull dog for the most part, I have racked my brains (all economists have two, the rational and the normal one) and come up with some ideas.
- A left-wing union oficial demands the immediate bailing out of the country by the IMF.
- The left want an outcome that will enforce immediate budget balancing while the right want to continue to spend more than we earn as a nation.
- The prime minister goes on a charity climb to raise funds for services he has presided over cutting back.
- A man in supreme moral authority claims to be unaware as a 36 year old of the effects of child rape and orders raped children to be silenced to protect them.
- A state pours billions for two decades into a bank that never makes a loan and never takes a deposit.
- In order to not nationalise the banking system the state takes steps to ensure that they nationalise the banking system.
- A man gets elected to parliament on the basis that he will allow people to continue to strip-mine a wasting resource.
- A man gets elected to parliament on the basis that he will build a massive casino in the middle of nowhere.
- The state demands that a man who has no legs appear regularly before a doctor to ensure that he is still disabled.
- Despite a massive property crash, the state makes it illegal to tell people what property prices are.
- A bankrupt state gives billions to a bankrupt state agency to allow people lose money on the property market via negative equity guarantees.
- With no functioning banking system and people facing falling income, and with a hundred thousand or more unsold houses, the central bank insists that the housing market is massively undervalued.
- A man gets 6 years for smuggling garlic while rapists get the same.
- An organisation that was rife with organized, systemic, institutionally covered up paedophilia gets to control over 90% of primary education.
- The state pays tens of millions of euro to store equipment it never used and which it never will.
- Bankrupt property developers say that they need to keep a massive luxury car fleet to impress people who might lend them money
- A finance minister solemnly tells a group of international bankers that there is no danger of capital flight as we are an island.
- While presiding over cuts and increased taxes on one part of an island a political party decries the same cuts and taxes on another part.
These are just a few random thoughts. I’m sure people would laugh themselves sick at the preposterous nature of the scenarios but sure that’s the point of satire. Isn’t it?