Disconnection from the State

Does Ireland exist at all?

An acquaintance whose career is in psychiatry once provided a useful working definition of a deranged person : someone holding fixed false beliefs who is impervious to reason.

Looking at the actions of our leaders since 2008, in particular their decision to beggar the country in order to protect criminal conspiracies that could only loosely be called banks, I think there’s no escaping the conclusion that they are, by this definition, insane.

We were led by madmen, and the madmen were led by an idiot.  Furthermore, when the idiot jumped ship and went to live in a cupboard, the madmen began to display other worrying signs, including clear evidence of a severe personality disorder.  Brian Lenihan, after all, announced to a stunned nation that he wasn’t simply robbing the citizens in order to pay the gambling debts of billionaires.  His budget of 2009 was, in his own staggeringly self-important words,  nothing less than a call to patriotic action.

Lenihan made two fundamental misjudgements with that statement.  The first was the assumption that anyone listening had the slightest respect for him personally, and the second was that propping up a bunch of crooks had anything to do with patriotism, but yet perhaps we can’t blame Lenihan entirely, and I’ll explain why in a minute.

The patriotic action gaffe was, in my opinion, a manifestation of narcissistic personality disorder, which is characterised, according to the standard definition, by a pervasive pattern of grandiosity, need for admiration, and a lack of empathy.  Lenihan’s ludicrous call to patriotic action echoed, in a pathetic Irish-backwater way, the absurd, if apocryphal, statement attributed to Louis XIV: L’État, c’est moi. In a sad echo of the Sun King, who could forget Lenihan’s subsequent squirm-inducing moment when he reminded us that he had spoken to Christine Lagarde, the French finance minister, In French? French, of all things, as if we thought they might have conversed in Urdu, or Serbo-Croat.

Even if we only had this to rely on, I think Lenihan’s behaviour conforms very well to the definition of narcissistic personality disorder.  His need for admiration is as pathetic as it is obvious, and his grandiosity is beyond question.  After all, what else would you call it when a man commits €460 billion on behalf of such a tiny country, expects the rest of Europe to believe he can back up this bluster with action and then calls what he has just done the cheapest bailout in the world?

Even that very phrase, the cheapest bailout in the world, carries within it an ignorant, small-town arrogance that presumes everyone else in the world was too stupid to come up with the smart-aleck stroke he had just pulled, when in reality, everyone else in the world knew it was bullshit.  And now that everyone else in the world has called Lenihan’s half-witted bluff, we, the Irish taxpayers, are called on to pay the price for the likes of Quinn, Fitzpatrick and Fingers Fingleton.

I’ll leave it to the crucified taxpayers to decide whether they think the man possesses any empathy.

How did we get to this?

I think the entire country is disconnected.

Lenihan himself was raised in an atmosphere of stroke-pulling.  Bred in the bone.  His father was a consummate chancer, liar and Fianna Fáil apparatchik.  Some readers will be old enough to recall his cringe-making moment on the Late Late Show when he invited the audience to chuckle at his hilarious story of how he intimidated a policeman who had the cheek to raid a pub he was drinking in after hours.

Will you have a drink or will you have a transfer? he claimed to have said, and the whole crowd, including the dreadful Gay Byrne, yukked.  One law for Brian Senior and his crooked cronies.   Another law for the rest of us.  I still don’t understand why the audience laughed instead of taking off their shoes and flinging them at the self-satisfied old liar.

Was there any hope for Brian Junior when raised in the hothouse of distortion that was the Lenihan clan?  I don’t think so.  His father and grandfather were both members of our parliament, as were his aunt and his brother.  Like all the Lenihans, he was raised to believe that he had an entitlement to get his hands on the levers of power, and of course, with a sense of entitlement comes arrogance.

There are many kinds of disconnection.  The Lenihans are disconnected from the reality of our country by their position, their privilege and their money, but I’d like to say one thing now.  This is not solely about Brian Lenihan.  He simply happens to be the public face of a much deeper problem in our society, a problem I touched on before, which goes to the very heart of what exactly constitutes the Irish State.

It seems to me that Lenihan and his kind are the ones who ended up with all the loot after the civil war.  And when I say his kind, I also refer to the people who occupied the other side of that divide.  It seems to me that these two groups were never really fighting about principles at all, but about position, influence, money, property.  Ownership and oligarchy, in fact.  From what figures I can muster, the distribution of wealth in Ireland is what one might expect of a third-world country, with a disproportionate concentration in the hands of a very small few.

Right from the foundation of the state, the small people did not matter.   Emigration and TB were the friends of the rich, invaluable for thinning out the irritating underclasses who otherwise would have to be fed and housed.

Those who did not take the emigrant boat or succumb to tuberculosis, settled into the sub-standard public housing estates grudgingly supplied by the State.  Many worked and struggled to improve their lot, and that of their children, but some began a long journey into the alienation and nihilism that today produces random street violence, gun crime and what is anaemically referred to as anti-social behaviour.

Why?  Could it be that the poor don’t see any connection between their lives and the country at large?

Yes, it could.  When you spend a lifetime being condescended to by petty officials, jumping when some doctor snaps his fingers at you, worrying, staving off the money-lender, it’s hard to have a sense of civic pride.  A sense of belonging to a State that has never shown you any respect.

I’ll agree that the political correctness of the 90s produced a mendicant class that feels entitled to be given whatever it demands, but that mentality didn’t come from thin air.  It was bred through generations of low-grade skirmishes between poorly-fed, poorly-educated people, and the slightly-better-fed but still poorly educated people who looked down their noses at the underclass as they pushed their dole money through the hatch once a week.

Of course, there was a different underclass as well, wasn’t there?  An underclass far more demanding than any tracksuited, hoop-ear-ringed chain-smoking teenaged mother shouting at an official in the dole office.

I’m talking about the underclass that had three Range Rovers in the drive.  The underclass that had the prime minister’s mobile phone number handy, and in a bizarre symmetry, this underclass was just as disconnected from the State.  As we have seen in the last couple of years, this underclass cared as little for Lenihan’s call to patriotic action as did some  sixteen-year-old single mother in a Health Board flat with junkies shooting up in the stairwell.

I’m talking about not only the property developers who did so well from McCreevy’s little boom, but also those who inherited the State when it was founded out of blood.  The doctors and the lawyers who for generations knew that they could grow rich by charging the poor large fees that would leave their children hungry.

That’s the legacy of our Freedom Fighters in 1921.  Not some idyll of comfort and safety, but a harsh reality that our people would pay through the nose to keep the cosseted elite in continuing luxury.  Unlike the UK which we left, there was never a comprehensive national health service.  Never an independent school system.  Never a proper public transport system. We kept the abusive industrial schools open long after the Brits shut them down.

And now, finally, we’re left with the one sector of society who believed in Ireland.  The middle ground.   These are the people who ultimately are being forced to pay for the dishonesty, criminality, greed and incompetence of the very wealthy.

The poor never saw themselves as part of this nation, apart from some absurd Celtic Twilight fantasy dreamed up by the wealthy and peddled by the  Wolfe Tones to keep them compliant.  The wealthy never saw themselves as part of the nation either, but simply believed they deserved to live off it in opulence.

This weekend, people in Limerick will be taking part in a run to raise funds for the Mid-West cancer unit.  Why?  Because the government has no money for anything except the banks.  Only today, we learn that all our insurance premiums will be taxed to pay for Seán Quinn’s greed.

People no longer pay their taxes willingly because they feel the money is going to an immoral end.  And if the middle ground has also lost faith in State, what’s left?

If the one remaining section of society that used to believe no longer has faith, the game is up.  We no longer have a country, if we ever did, and if it wasn’t all an illusion since 1921.



The Real Ireland

Reinventing Ireland

The Non-Fighting Irish

Time for Change

Let Ireland Grow Up

Time For A New Electoral System

Ireland Needs Vision and Focus

Queen’s visit

New Easter Rising

What Has Independence Given Us?

23 thoughts on “Disconnection from the State

  1. Will you have a drink or will you have a transfer?

    Kind of puts everthing in context, I had never heard of this quote before, pre -dates my time in Ireland, and I’d never heard it mentioned before.

    Thouroughly despicable, have things moved on from this ? Only a few months ago a drunk TD slurred something similar to a Guard at Leinster house as he prepared to drive off.

    As the penny drops that Sean Quinn is going to cost the tax payer money has the tide turned against him and the Familly (everywhere except Cavan / Fermanagh)

  2. Spot on the money there Bock.

    And as if I didn’t need any further proof, I went onto politics.ie and the first post I saw was about the Chief Justice lobbying Enda over fears that judges will be taxed on pensions above €2.3 million!

    Even moreso than Quinn, this is the purest example of what you’ve written about above. It also raises questions about the seperation of executive and judiciary, and what about judges lobbying the taoiseach privately?

    One rule for them another for the rest of us? It would be a concern if true wouldn’t it?

    Link to P.ie thread: http://www.politics.ie/current-affairs/159122-chief-justice-our-multi-million-pensions-arent-enough.html

  3. Excellent article and all the better for the absence of profanity. Would you be offended if I compared you favourably with Fintan O’ Toole?

  4. Excellent article. It is a mystery how so few people in such a small country as Ireland can rip each other off, time after time and never getting it, i.e. understanding what’s going on. In many other parts of the world, corrupt politicians. civil servants, developers, etc., would have been hanging from lamp posts by now.

  5. Does Ireland differ from anywhere else in the world? The argument is simplistic at best! Who nurtures wealth? The State? Private Buisness? Criminals? How should that wealth be divided? Does the guy that starts a factory employes people share the wealth he generates proportionatly? Does the state provide more than the fair share for people that refuse to work? The problems above won’t be solved by a red wave but a blue one. The banks are partially to blame for sure when normally smart people got themselves into huge debt there were two to blame! Now what is the solution how did we get out of the last recession? If I had the answer I would give it but I don’t but I do take responsibality for my actions and life could be worse. The people disconnected from the state didn’t get invented here it is everywhere so Ireland is doing what it always does and just wnats to be loved. Get used to the recession it’s here to stay for a while.

  6. Thanks for an excellent piece Bock. The level of frustration I feel at even the mention of the traitor Lenihan reduces me to foaming invective. Thanks for putting it so eruditely and not stooping to my level, I’m sure it will have better effect on those that are still blind to the rapacious greed and stupidity of Fianna Fail.

  7. The poor never saw themselves as part of this nation, apart from some absurd Celtic Twilight fantasy dreamed up by the wealthy and peddled by the Wolfe Tones to keep them compliant. The wealthy never saw themselves as part of the nation either, but simply believed they deserved to live off it in opulence.

    Yes a fair point, but a lot of our freedom fighters in the early part of the 20th century came from the throngs of poor people who lived in Ireland at that time. Why? because they imagined they were fightinh for a new nation/republic, where all its citizens would be seen as equal. And finally the poor of Ireland would have a voice. Thats why most of our volunteers were made up of farm labourers and the poor and disenfranchised from our towns and cities. But the civil war put an end to any possibility of a true republic. Any revolutionary leader with any social/socialist background, were isolated along with their comrades, given a medal and promptly told to fuck off back to the lanes they came from, while the blue shirts and catholic Fianna fail divided up the goodies.

  8. I must admit to an attempt at researching more about the incredulous Mr Lenihan after I read your extremely well written and magnificently vociferous post Mr Bock. However, I soon began to lose the will to live when I discovered that he was a friend of that Clara born fuckwit, Brian Cowen.

    It was akin to setting out for a glorious black pint only to find that some bastard with a dog collar was standing at your own special place at the bar.

  9. That’s a very acute piece, Bock. Narcissistic personality disorder covers it pretty well, and the Greens learned it in short order from their ‘partners’.

    As for the professional middle classes of hospital consultants, accountants, tame journalists, lawyers, experts in dodging taxes – they shall indeed inherit three-quarters of this benighted island, while the rest of us succumb to emigration or descend into the TB-carrying strata of impoverishment.

  10. Brilliant post Bock. This State was founded with the blood of a direct forefather of mine. My stomach is sick to think that so few people have brought this once great country to its knees! We have even gone so far as to accept a 7billion Euro bailout from Great Britain.The arrogance of this bollocks to now try to rewrite the past in blaming the I.M.F.for forcing us into accepting a so called ‘Bailout’ beggars belief. Recently we,the little people, were told we will now have to bailout the Quinn Group, because of his criminal behaviour, is obscene in the extreme! It really is time for the people of this country to stand up and protest and say ‘I’m angry and I’m not going to take it any-more’. Time to not pay any taxes that they cant take from our wages. i.e.. Car Tax, Water Charges to businesses, T.V. licence fees. It has really gone beyond a joke. Clean out the pockets of the working class to pay for the greedy bastard investors! Keep the little people where they belong indeed. This mantra is being carried on in spectacular fashion by F.G. and Labour. ‘Not another cent to the banks’ promised Enda BEFORE the election. Laugh,,,I think I’m gonna be sick ! Keep up the good work in exposing the Gombeen Men.

  11. “time for the people of this country to stand up and protest .. Time to not pay any taxes ” = try to rock the boat here and you will experience the pain whether it be in fines and penalties, or from the end of a baton. It’s a tragedy that people have stood before firing squads for this thing we call a country. The thing that galls me most is the fact that we STILL call ourselves a Republic!

  12. Another quote from Brian Lenihan Snr. As Minister for Education in the late 1960s he visited Artane Industrial School, where one boy told him that the Brothers were badly punishing bad boys like himself. A nearby Brother passed the remark off as impish exaggeration (and probably thrashed the boy later). As Lenihan was being driven out the front gate he said to the driver: “Get me out of this fucking place!”

    Part of the culture of corruption in post-civil war Ireland was the Irish Hospitals Sweepstakes, whose headquarters were in Ballsbridge where AIB is now. Joe McGrath and cronies ran the enterprise privately and to great personal profit, without any awkward questions being asked by government. This link to a report about a book that tells the story: http://www.irishcentral.com/news/Irish-sweepstakes-was-a-scam-says-new-book–103917434.html

  13. Since March 2003 I been predicting on various websites that this Republic would be destroyed in short order. Because those elected (and re-elected, and re-elected) to steward this State and Society’s common weal had betrayed both to cowardice inhumanity and rapine at Shannon Warport, allowing foreign despots to drag their slaves unto illegal opportunist Imperialist wars of aggresion and conquest, and the Irish people were wholly complicit in this utter betrayal of 1.4 million murdered Iraqi People who had not offered us harm nor threat and wholly complicit also in the utter betrayal of Ireland’s cause, history, and karma.

    Now this Republic is destroyed in all but name. You have lost your sovereignty. The very land your forefathers fought for is being stolen by NAMA in conspiracy with foreign banks, who will ‘buy’ Irish land, Irish properties, Irish real estate, in vast amounts using bits of coloured paper that the ECB has been running its presses nite and day to print, and give these bits of paper to the Irish Satraps qua ‘government’, so that the latter may hand them over to the same foreign banks and the ECB, in payment of a vast 200 million Euro debt hung round the necks of the Irish People and their children and their children’s children yea unto the hundreth generation. Do ye see the circularity of it? Do you see how your country is being stolen? It’s not my country anymore, so I’m just telling ye with the disinterested dispassionate pinsharp observation of an outsider who doesn’t really care. Suck it up baybeez this is your Karma. Couldn’t happen to a more well deserving bunch. It’s one thing winning your country. It’s quite another thing holding it. The Irish are now a bunch of neo-Judean slaves, strangers in their own former land. It’d be tragic if it wasn’t so fucking funny.

  14. Under Brehon Law there was no death penalty, I understand. The capital sanction instead was for the offender to be excluded, shunned, ‘boycotted’ (altho’ Captain Boycott was a long way off in the future) as it were. No different today. Someone who commits the ‘capital’ offence of telling the unpleasant truth in this country about some cosy consensus, some gilded circle, some of our own home-grown aristocracy of Christ-and-Caesar hand-in-glove, suffers exactly the same fate. To be shunned, ignored, laughed at, abused, and as Myles na gCop found out, to have their career and indeed life damaged by the Establishment at the earliest possible opportunity. Everything sung and said in Ireland is a Lie. Yeats said that long time ago. He was right in that and wrong in another thing he’s famous for saying. Nothing has changed. Utterly. Nothing.

  15. Finally someone who can express in the written word,the truth about the political and so called pillar of society class,that have fed like some kind of malign parasite on the backs of Irish People since before,during and after the formation of the incomplete state.

  16. The ‘cheapest bailout’ comment always struck me as very curious; at the time, I assumed that Brian Lenihan and his advisors understood what a bank guarantee was, and that therefore they must have a plan for how to avoid the State actually carrying the can, while still creating the conditions of confidence so necessary in a banking system.
    Now we know that he didn’t understand the risk at all. He probably knew what a guarantee meant in a technical sense, but he clearly didn’t believe that it would ever be necessary to actually implement it. He did not understand the scale of the problem. And yet, he pretended he understood everything, and that he had pulled a stroke on the entire global financial community. “Look at me, the cute hoor from Longford, I’m smarter than all you London financial types”.
    For this reason alone, he should be disbarred from public office in the country – the sheer arrogance and half-wittedness of it is legendary.
    Lenihan is now clearly trying to rewrite the history of the destruction of Ireland, and it is up to people like Bock to call bullshit on his efforts. He failed, failed utterly and a terrible beauty was born.

  17. …or maybe it was a terrible pile of shite. I’m not sure. But Leinster are in the HC final, so I’ll go with beauty for now.

  18. Whatever else it is, I wouldn’t call it beauty. Anyway, for what it’s worth, I think Leinster will beat Northampton, equalling Munster’s haul of trophies in the Heineken Cup.

  19. In the early seventies, the government of the day had all firearms confiscated from the citizenry.
    Today only the State and the drug gangs retain use of firearms.

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