Thursday, October 06, 2005

On the Session with the Department of Health

A civil servant, yesterdayOpposition leader Enda Kenny makes front page news in today's Irish Independent with the shock-horror revelation that the Department of Health - you know, those bucks that close down the hospital wards and have superbugs running about in the ones they keep open? - spent €40,000 on the session in Sligo to celebrate the installation of a computer system that doesn't work.

To which your humble Spailpín Fánach can only reply well Jesus, Inda, what else is new? All Government Departments spend money like sailors on shore leave after a three year voyage. They shoot that stuff out the door - or across the counter, depending on the time of day. Ask anyone that's involved in private industry what it's like to work with a civil service or semi-state body. The reaction will range from the cynical laugh, like Bogart in High Sierra, the nervous palsy brought on by extreme trauma, or the hysterical weeping of one who has seen and suffered too much, too young. Think of Farmer Oak in Thomas Hardy's Far From the Madding Crowd when he sees his flock of sheep driven over the cliff-face by the world's most stupid sheepdog and you get a fairly good idea of what it's like to deal with these apes.

So where's Eddie Hobbs when you need him? The popular demagogue (pardon my tautology) is nowhere to be seen on this one, for the same reason that there are two hopes - Bob Hope and his brother, No - of any Government ever doing anything about the criminal waste of the country's money by sheer and willful incompetance in the civil service. It's the same reason that both Napolean Bonaparte and Adolf Hitler failed to invade Russia - there are just too many of the hoors.

This country is rife with people who are on the public purse. It's like Soviet Russia only without the space program, classical music, gulags and chess grand masters. If any politican or political party gets up on his hind legs to denounce muppetry and waste in the public service, and pledges to eradicate it, that means he's asking this great big chunk of the population to vote for the end of their job security and to ensure their heads get wrecked at work from now on until it's Gold Watch time. And no turkey is ever going to vote for Christmas. No wonder we're a nation of alcoholics - the ordinary tax-paying Joe is driven to drink by despair as a temporary release from the insanity of it all, and the boys in the Department of Health, according to Inda, are getting it all bought for them! God help us all.