Tuesday, May 31, 2011

How to Watch Doctor Who - A Five Step Program

The sixth season of the new Doctor Who reaches its midpoint finale on Saturday. It got off to a rocky start with a confusing two-part opener, but my goodness gracious, it’s fairly hit its stride now.

Now in his second year in full command of the series, Steven Moffat has brought the old warhorse to undreamed of glories. Moffat gets Doctor Who, and utilises his considerable powers as a writer and storyteller to make some very thrilling science-fiction television. The current Doctor Who is a lustrous jewel in the BBC’s starry crown.

Only thing is, if you sit down in front of your TV this Saturday night expecting to be blown away, there’s a very good chance you’ll have no idea what all the fuss is about. That’s one of the problems with TV as an art form, you see – if a series has been on air a long time, you have more than a little catching up to do.

And if the series dates back to the 1960s, as Doctor Who does – well, I mean to say. You’d need a time machine, wouldn’t you? There are 776 episodes aired and you may count on it that at least 500 aren’t much cop.

So what, then, is Doctor Who, why is it worth my while to watch and with so many episodes out there, where on earth do I begin?

It’s worth your while to watch because the age at which Doctor Who is best enjoyed, ten, is the age when you’re imagination is at its richest and the world seems full of possibility. The makers of the Star Trek movie understood this absolutely, which is why that movie was such fun, instead of a lot of po-faced sturm und drang. Best leave that to Bergman.

Steven Moffat has returned that childlike glee and wonder to Doctor Who. The BBC run Doctor Who Proms to help introduce kids to classical music, and they are currently running a competition where kids can write their own three minute episode. What’s not to love about that? Take a look at the kids' reaction to the entrance of the monsters at last year's Proms - really, if you're not charmed, you need to see another kind of doctor entirely.

Doctor Who’s origins are the derring-doers of British popular fiction, the Richard Hannays, Bulldog Drummonds and Sherlock Holmeses, mixed with the British scientific know-how that saw the Victorians conquer the world. The Doctor might be a Time Lord from the planet Gallifrey, but he’s as British as Marmite.

Any further attempt to explain and we turn into Comic Book Guy from the Simpsons. If you’re still interested, check out these stand alone episodes from the past six years. If you like them, then perhaps a boxset of Season 3 and, who knows, maybe even some Tom Baker or Jon Pertwee from the 1970s heyday for some hardcore exposure. Enjoy.

Blink. Season 3, Episode 10. The perfect Doctor Who story, on so many levels. Every story about time travel gives rise to paradoxes, and those paradoxes particularly engage Steven Moffat, the writer of Blink. In Blink, not only does Moffat unravel a complex timey-wimey story and ties it all up again in a perfectly formed plot arc, but he does it all with the Doctor himself sidelined, and the action led by Sally Sparrow, played by the wonderful Carey Mulligan, who went on to be Oscar nominated last year. 42 minutes of sublimity. Perfect.

Human Nature/Family of Blood. Season 3, Episodes 8 and 9. A two-parter in which the Doctor becomes human to hide from his enemies. The story is set in Edwardian antebellum England, a civilisation on the eve of its doom, and features a lovely performance by wonderful, heroic and terribly under-rated Martha Jones. In a story marred by some over-writing in the second part, Martha, a medical student having to work as a maid as part of her and the Doctor’s diguise, remarks to her friend that she likes this new teacher, John Smith, because he doesn’t discrimate against Martha because she’s a Londoner. I love that line.

Amy’s Choice. Season 5, Episode 7. Doctor Who is meant to be weird, and very few episodes have been as weird as Amy’s Choice. The Doctor and his companions find the TARDIS, the Doctor’s time machine, invaded by a Dream Lord, who is messing with their heads big style. It’s marvellous, spooky and especially interesting when we find out just who the Dream Lord actually is.

The Girl in the Fireplace. Season 2, Episode 4. The Doctor as hero. Another episode written by Moffat, in which Doctor Who returns to its roots as a program that will help kids with their history. Guest star Sophia Myles makes a very beautiful and suitably tragic Madame de Pompadour.

The Doctor’s Wife. Season 6, Episode 4. A thrilling tour de force, and the best jumping off point into the long backstory of Doctor Who. Guest written by Neil Gaiman. Marvellous. Just marvellous.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Government's Springboard Initiative: Learning to Mix Cocktails Does Not Count as Reskilling

The Irish Independent published a supplement yesterday called Springboard. It’s about getting people back to work; Springboard is described in the supplement as “the new initiative aimed at helping those who have lost their jobs to upskill and improve their chances of getting back to work again.”

Upskilling is a very necessary thing, as the skill base of Ireland’s workforce does not match the hiring needs of the market. And as Kathleen Donnelly, the Indo’s Education Editor rightly points out, qualifications are the single best protection against unemployment.

So you can imagine your regular correspondent’s disappointment and horror when a little research revealed the whole Springboard project to be an exercise in lost opportunities, waste, window dressing and despair.

People who want to reskill are encouraged to visit a website called Bluebrick.ie by the Independent supplement. According to its own about us page, “BlueBrick.ie is part of the HEA Strategic Innovation Fund project: Flexible Learning. This project represents 14 institutes of technology including DIT.”

Spidey senses should already be tingling at the clumsy prose in both those sentences. But reader, gentle reader, remove yourself for potential sources of self harm; you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

A cursory search of what’s on offer unearthed a gem, a twenty-four carat gem from DIT: they’re offering a course in Advanced Cocktail Making. Not regular now; sure any eejit could do that. This is advanced cocktail making.

You can’t just walk in off the street and do it. Oh no. “Learners should also have successfully completed the Continuing Professional Development Programme in Cocktail Making TFBS 1021 or equivalent qualification.”

How much does this course in Advanced Cocktail Making cost? Why, it costs €650. And what qualification do you get? (You know, this is my favourite bit. Out of all of this, this is my favourite).

Completion of DIT’s Advanced Cocktail Making course gets you a Certificate in Continuing Professional Development, which scores an eight on the National Framework of Qualifications. The same as an Honours Bachelor Degree or a H Dip. So, reading left to right, we have the guy with the B Comm who’s running a business, every educator in Ireland and Tom Cruise in the 1988 movie Cocktail, all on the same training and skill level.

Is this a freak result, as can happen? So what if a guy who’s working in the hospitality industry – about the only indigenous industry we have – wants to egg his pudding a biteen? What else is an offer at DIT?

I’m so glad you asked. DIT will charge you €670 for a course in Advanced Wine Studies. You have to have taken Wine Studies regular first, of course, before your brain is able for “deepening the knowledge of the matching of food and wine in terms of taste, quality and price.” Again, you can’t just walk in off the street.

To say you couldn’t make it up is a cliché. But my Lord and my God, you couldn’t make this stuff up. And more pertinently, why would you want to? Aren’t things bad enough as they are?

The mission statement for Springboard on page 4 of the supplement says its purpose is to develop employability skills. You can paint An Spailpín blue and call him a smurf if doing courses in Advanced Cocktail Making or Advanced Wine Studies makes anyone more employable in Ireland, 2011.

One hit, one, from a Bluebrick.ie search for German when the EU has never been more important. Carlow IT will charge you €300 to do a course that will get you a Certificate in German that scores a six on the National Framework of Qualifications, one higher than the Leaving Cert.

They’re running course that will give you better German than five intense years of the Leaving Cert? That’s not very easy to believe. Not least as you don’t have to the primer course, as you do in Advanced Cocktail Making or Advanced Wine Studies. For German you can just walk in off the street, because the National Framework of Qualifications presumably judges it an easier skill to pick up than mixing a gimlet or slugging a bottle of Blue Nun.

If a man were a cynic, he'd think the National Framework of Qualifications is a bit of bloody joke.

Do a Bluebrick.ie search for “cloud,” as courses on cloud computing are all over the course lists in the centre pages of the Indo supplement. Nothing.

Go to the IT, Tallaght site, which lists cloud computing courses in the supplement, and do a local search there. Nothing.

Don’t click the Gaeilge link in the Bluebrick.ie top nav. It’ll only make you sad.

Page four of the supplement tells us that “Springboard is a government initiative managed by the HEA on behalf the Department of Education and Skills.” And that part does make sense.

Because one worthless public body on its own couldn’t make as big a balls of something as this. It’s only by combining their resources that they could make a pig’s ear of such monstrosity that it wouldn’t surprise me if it were visible from space or had its own gravity.

Yes we can? Nein, wir können nicht, actually. We really, really can’t. God help the country. Run while you still can.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Well Done The Sunday Game, the Most Important Program in Ireland

Des Cahill’s Sunday Game goes from strength to strength. Cahill’s tenure in the most important job in Irish television got off to a wonderful start last year when his effortlessly amiable manner put GAA men at ease, as opposed to the Defcon 1 necessary for a chat with Cahill’s immediate predecessor, Pat Spillane.

The standard of analysis on The Sunday Game is so much better than it was too. Rather than ape what’s emerging as the RTÉ Sport house style of forming panels along the Contrarian/Someone with a clue model, Cahill allows his panelists to share what they know from lifetimes in the game. Not all the panelists are great of course, but still. It’s a start.

Last night Cahill rose to another challenge, and he deserves credit for it. Sligo v Leitrim was never likely to be a feature game when Kerry, Cork and Kildare are all playing. The fact that people expect their TV sports presented in a certain way makes it hard on Irish broadcasters too, because the GAA, to its glory, is not a professional sport.

It exists in a different sort of reality and the Irish media hasn’t really come to grips with finding the correct voice for that, a voice that finds the balance between the journalist’s duty to report facts, and common decency’s duty not to hammer a guy who did his best and has to go to work in the morning. It’s very hard to strike a balance between the marquee needs of television and the pride of village needs of the ordinary GAA person.

But last night The Sunday Game came up trumps. They can’t have been expecting the story of the day to happen in Markiewicz Park on Sunday morning but it did and The Sunday Game were able to change their schedules to accommodate it.

Again, it doesn’t seem like much, featuring Leitrim’s triumphant win over Sligo first in the show rather than down the order, but it was something that was beyond the Sunday Game’s newsroom colleagues at six and at nine o’clock.

Is this because RTÉ have upped their game in the light of Newstalk’s challenge on the radio? It’s possible, but it doesn’t matter. All that does matter is that there is a rising standard in the way the games are covered. Each can make the other better by forcing excellence, instead of settling for the mediocrity that comes from monopoly.

Your correspondent was contacted on Twitter during the weekend over some robust criticism of a GAA piece on The Journal on Friday night, since taken down. My friend told me, in not so many words, that we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God and, as such, perhaps I shouldn’t have gone so medieval in my remarks.

And I take that on board. Few things are as hateful as bullies. But it’s also important to have standards and if we don’t excoriate the mediocre we can never identify the good. So hail, then, The Sunday Game, for not going through the motions and giving Leitrim their due.

GAA isn’t like other sports. There is nothing more local than the GAA and it’s from this local rivalry that the organisation derives its great strength. The GAA doesn’t exist in the same world of glamour as English soccer or European rugby. But for the people of Roscommon and Letrim in the joyous three weeks of anticipation ahead of them, it’s Heaven descended unto the Earth.

The GAA means nothing in the world of Eurovision or X-Factor or Glenda and Rosanna. It exists somewhere else; in shops where people get messages, marts where farmers look and don’t buy, bars that sell pints of special and locals keep money for funeral pints in jars. It’s outside church gates and chip shops and petrol stations and all the places where people meet to talk and ask well; how do you think they’ll do on Sunday? It’s a magical place, really. I think they call it “Ireland.”

Monday, May 16, 2011

Queen Elizabeth's Visit to Ireland: The Father Noel Furlong Connection

Is anybody else wondering just which tourists the nation hopes to attract as a result of the visit of the Queen of the United Kingdoms of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to this slice of a country this week?

At a guess, people who enjoy visiting cities with deserted streets and heavy police presences will flock to Erin’s green shore as a result of this visit. We've read of rings of steel all week, and there were so many Gardaí in high-vis jackets strolling in pairs around Dublin on Saturday evening that one couldn’t help but wonder if there were that many members of Dublin Metropolitan Police on the trails of Dan Breen and Michael Collins back in the day.

As well as a tourism opportunity for those with taste for cities where cops outnumber people, the other purpose of Elizabeth’s visit was to show that we, the Irish nation, have “moved on.” Well, the ring of steel security has fairly knocked that one on the head.

It’s an extraordinary visit where we, the nation, are not allowed to meet our visitor, and anybody who does meet her will be carefully vetted first. If we had “moved on,” we wouldn’t have to lock down the streets of the capital city for the visit of a little old lady.

The streets of that same capital will be thronged the week after for Barack Obama, and not even the “Irish” Anti-“War” Movement are kicking up about that. People will fly American flags in a way that you cannot imagine them flying Union Jacks, or being let fly them.

That contrasts shows exactly how much we’ve moved on. We haven’t moved on at all, and just because people wish it doesn’t make it so. The world isn’t like that.

So who thought a visit from the British Monarch would be a good idea? An Spailpín wonders if the people who talked about “moving on” were just using it as an excuse, and if Elizabeth’s visit isn’t just Castle Catholics – who haven’t gone away you know – finally getting their wish to turn the clock back to before the Solohead Beg ambush in 1919.

People are certainly entitled to aspire to being ruled by a British monarch again, as in the dear old days, and God knows they’ve been out in numbers lately. But what An Spailpín doesn’t think people are entitled to do is put the city on high alert at a cost of many millions to prove something – our having “moved on” – that patently isn’t so.

We haven’t moved on. Not because of any fault on Elizabeth’s part. Elizabeth has been one of her countries greatest ever sovereigns by any measurement, but because of ourselves, because we’ve made such a shocking balls of running the country without help from Westminster. Everything that’s wrong here is our own damned fault.

An Spailpín hopes nothing bad happens the Queen on her visit here. Anybody who picks on an eighty-five year old woman has something the matter with them. An Spailpín also hopes that nobody gets shot in the North in order for as foul a pack of traitors as Ireland has been cursed with (and we’ve had some doozies down the years) to make headlines for their own fully evil and utterly traitorous purposes.

But chiefly, above all, An Spailpín feels deeply sorry for the ordinary people of Ireland, who are getting another kick in the head from their ruling elite. On Saturday, driving through the town and looking at the security in place to enable an occasion for which citizens didn’t ask, have no interest in, will be inconvenienced by and will then be stiffed with the bill, it struck me that the perfect metaphor for where we are now was in an episode of Father Ted called “Hell.”

The Irish nation is the youth group trapped in a horrible little caravan in a horrible little caravan park. All we want is for the suffering to end but we can’t say so because we don’t know how to escape.

The elite who govern us, the muppets who think we’ve moved on and people shouldn’t be negative when they’re hunched over from debt and worry and too much Morgan Kelly, are represented by Father Noel Furlong, the worst kind of trendy priest, dancing jigs and telling us how happy we are, are you happy, isn’t this great, isn’t this wonderful, aren’t we all having such fun? And outside, the rain continues to pour relentlessly down.

God save the Queen? Let God save Ireland first. The Queen, with the greatest respect to her, can paddle her own canoe.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Mayo Championship Preview 2011

The fifteenth of August is the day of the fair in the great town of Belmullet, sentinel between the sweet county Mayo and the wild and wasteful ocean. They will talk about football in the bars in Belmullet on the 15th of August, because they must. What else is there?

What determines whether or not James Horan’s first year in charge of Mayo has been a success or a failure will depend on whether or not that football talk in Belmullet is looking back at a quarter-final loss or looking forward to a semi-final. That’s the measuring stick.

So far James Horan has been a complete success since he was appointed manager. Horan has been a success because he was appointed in the first place, showing that the Board put football ahead of money. They may have needed a twitch on the bridle along the way but no harm, no foul.

The second success of James Horan has been a perfect League campaign. Mayo did not get relegated, and Horan looked at as many players in as many positions as he could.

People have chosen to see Mayo’s scutching against Dublin as a sign that Mayo are in trouble. It’s the opposite. Horan never cared about the result. If he did, he wouldn’t have waited until the second half to make his first substitution. Horan had bigger fish to fry.

Horan got the name of Mr Mix-’Em-Up in his team selections. The smallest number of changes he made between one game and the next was six, but he made eleven changes once and ten three times. Horan was determined to look at everybody and give everybody a chance.

What’s particularly fascinating is when you chart out his teams over the League, you see a very clear method to his madness. Changes appeared random, but there are clearly patterns to be seen. (And we have to take a moment to once again salute the great Willie Joe of the Mayo GAA Blog, without whom these stats would have been more or less impossible to track down).

Three players started all the League games – Ger Cafferkey, Kevin McLoughlin and Andy Moran. Only Cafferkey always started in the same position. McLoughlin was either seven or twelve. Andy Moran was 10 once, twice 11, twice 12, and twice 14.

As the games went on, a clear evolution in Horan’s thinking became clearer. He knows whom he wants where. He’s given players chances – Tom Parsons started three games out of seven for Horan before being dropped from the panel.

Horan has problem positions, of course, but who doesn’t? His biggest problem may be where to play Aiden O’Shea – O’Shea’s been most effective at midfield, but that then leaves the question of whom to play at 13. Who takes the frees is another question. Or who goes where in the full back line.

But it’s always been the Mayo way to look at what’s not there rather than what is. It’s a loser mentality that’s held the county back for so long. So let’s treat ourselves for once and see what’s there rather than what isn’t – the thrilling prospect of a summer lit up by the deep and terrible threat that the inside line possesses.

Mayo haven’t had an inside line that’s been feared in years and years. But suddenly Jason Doherty, Horan’s great find of the year, and Alan Freeman, the one thing to come from last year’s disaster in Sligo, have claimed the 15 and 14 jerseys. They’re both young and unseasoned, but that has as many benefits as it has dangers. If Mayo can get ball to those men, they can do damage.

Defence continues to be a work in progress but it does seem that the players are there. Tom Cuniffee, the Feeneys, Cathal Hallinan, Keith Higgins, James Burke, Kevin McLoughlin, Cafferkey – the men are there. It’s just a question of where to slot them.

The shot in the arm that the Under-21 success has provided Galway is a headache that Horan didn’t need, but no matter. Even if Galway do win in June or if there’s a disaster in the Connacht Final, the odds are against Mayo getting a disastrous draw in the qualifiers. Mayo have the men and the manager to make the last eight. After that, it’s all to play for. James Horan has given the people of Mayo reason to hope once more. Maigh Eo abú.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Football 2011 Preview: The Either/Or Championship?

Will 2011 be the Either/Or Championship? A glance at the odds before the slow fuse is lit this weekend in Ballybofey suggests that the Championship will be won by either Cork or Kerry and everyone else is just making up the numbers.

Cork are 5/2 best price, Kerry threes, Dublin fours, Tyrone eights and then it’s a remarkable 14/1 the field. It’s hard to remember a year when the Championship seemed so striated between haves and have-nots.

Are the oddsmakers wrong? It’s hard to make that case. Cork are clearly the best team in country now, as their victory against Dublin in the League final proved. This current Cork team haven’t an iconic player like Corkery or Tompkins or JBM in his day – although An Spailpín must confess a huge regard for Noel O’Leary, without whose shutting down of Martin Clarke Cork wouldn’t have won last September – but they enjoy a depth of talent that cannot be matched by any other county. Michael Collins’ question of who’ll take his place if they take him away is regularly answered by the men who sit on the bench for the Rebel County.

Kerry are Cork’s biggest threat, for two reasons. Firstly, because they are everybody’s biggest threat, being Kerry, and secondly because they can get under Cork’s skin and into Cork’s heads like no other team can. When doubt whispers in Cork ears at times of crisis, he speaks in a Kerry accent and prefaces his remarks with “yerra.”

Against Kerry’s return is the fact that the team is aging and young players are not coming through. Which doesn’t mean they won’t of course. God only knows what’s springing down from a mountain somewhere down there now, with a kitbag slung over the shoulder and the rich tradition flowing in his veins. It would be a fool of astonishing proportions to underestimate Kerry at any time.

Dublin’s loss against Cork in that League final might be the best thing to happen to them. If it hasn’t killed them it will make them stronger; this is the nature of things. Dublin have some very talented players currently with Bernard Brogan being as good as there is in the country right now, but the mental frailties remain and there are some players who may crumble midst shot and shell in high summer. But again, it’s looking like a thin year and someone has to win it – Dublin have strong reasons to hope.

After that, the deluge. Tyrone are in an impossible position, and we can only hope that they find some sort of resolution in getting on with their lives, playing football and doing what they’ve always done in the light of another tragedy that’s descended on them. God be good to them as they do their best for home and hearth.

Down and Donegal remain as enigmatic as ever. Donegal have Michael Murphy, and they will live and die by him. There are worse men to pin your hopes on. Down aren’t as reliant on Martin Clarke, or at least they shouldn’t be. Maybe if that penny drops, that Clarke can’t do it all on his own, they’ll be stronger. It’s always hard to know how Down will go in any given year. I suspect they seldom know themselves.

Leinster is a province in trouble. Dara Ó Cinnéide wrote some years ago that Meath is the bellweather county for the GAA’s future – a rural county that’s quickly becoming urbanised. Ó Cinnéide thought that if the GAA could capture that urban youth then the Association’s future in 21st Century Ireland is secure. So far, the signs aren’t promising.

It’s hard to know what to make of Kildare and Laois, who have been worse and better than expected so far this year. The sad conclusion is that it’s unlikely either are up to much. Things are grim in Leinster.

In the blessed West, Sligo don’t seem to have got over last year’s Connacht Final while Roscommon have successfully restored their tradition. Leitrim will be hoping the return of Emlyn Mulligan will extend their summer while Galway have seen a winter of discontent made potentially glorious summer by their remarkable and kind of frightening Under-21 All-Ireland Champions. Galway have been saying for years that they don’t have players. They’re waiting in the long grass, just the way they like it.

Mayo? Mayo preview tomorrow.

Monday, May 09, 2011

Can Scotland Succeed Where Ireland Has Failed?

For the first time since the Duke of Cumberland routed the Jacobites in less than an hour on Culloden’s moor over 300 years ago, Scotland has a chance to take her place among the nations of the Earth once more. The SNP won an against-the-odds majority in the British elections last week and are determined to hold a referendum to see if the Scots want independence. If independence is granted, can the Scots make a better job of it than the Irish have? There are four reasons why she can.

Home Rule
The Scots have a number of advantages going for them. The first is that they are nominally independent as it is. Ireland was directly ruled by Westminster until 1921. We never got a chance to practice governance, and perhaps that’s one of the reasons why we’re so terrible at it. The Scottish Parliament is supersized local council, but still. It’s a start.

National Resources
One of the reasons behind the calls for Scottish independence is that the Scottish economy is fundamentally different from the British. This is not an argument that was made here. There were no economic arguments made here for independence, other than not-very-grounded notion that raising families on nineteen acres of bog and rushes was viable.

The reasons behind Irish independence were cultural and religious, not economic. For an independent Ireland to survive in the 1920s, it was necessary that the people compensate for relative economic penury with their love of their language and the Catholic religion. After ninety years, I think we can mark Plan A down as a bust.

No Civil War
The single worst way to conclude a fight for national independence is by having a civil war immediately afterwards. It clouds the goals that were aimed for in the beginning, and the achievements after independence has been granted. Nobody wins, everybody loses.

Also, it’s possible that the civil war is the direct reason why cronyism is so endemic to Irish public life. Garret Fitzgerald, a statesman whom this blog wishes all the best in his current ill-health, places great store on the statesmanship of the initial governments of the state, unlike what he sees as the corrupt, Mohair-suited governments that followed. An Spailpín suspects this analysis may a little simplistic.

The first aim of first governments was to stabalise the state, which is why they executed those who remained in the IRA in the numbers that they did. Bad things happen in wars. But is the more worrying long-term legacy of that policy of stablisation at all costs the inability of the institutions of state to self-regulate, and to purge themselves of waste, inefficiency and corruption?

The effort to establish the institutions of state has left an incorrect weighing in the balance in our public life. The state and her institutions – such as her banks, for instance – are not questioned when they should be, and when irregularities are discovered, all the machinery of state rolls into action to defend the institution rather than the citizen. There was no need for legal representation at the tribunals if nothing said at a tribunal can be used in a court of law. It was a mistake, born out of this tradition of protecting the state from subversion. That the good name of a public institution or deed is more important than justice being done to a citizen.

It is extremely unlikely that any result in a Scottish referendum will lead to a civil war. For that they should be grateful. Ireland is still reaping a bitter harvest from hers.

A More Subtle and Nuanced Understanding of Sovereignty
A Scottish MP made the point to the great Kirsty Wark on the BBC's Newsnight on Friday night that sovereignty is not a Boolean concept – it not a question of fully on or fully off. If that is the widespread view, it shows a great level of maturity and understanding of the state in the modern, multi-cultural 21st century world.

We are not so lucky. The blather and bleatings we’ve heard here about sovereignty shows that we really don’t understand what is it is to be a sovereign people, ninety years after that sovereignty was granted.

Our current disaster is not an accident. It’s been inevitable and we can only hope and pray that the national debate which currently features interest groups saying cut anything but my cake can rise to a level where we discuss what it is to be sovereign and what we’re willing to do as a people to ensure that sovereignty continues. In the meantime, best of luck to the Scots in the months and years ahead.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

The Man from the ECB

Your country hasn’t any money,
it’s well and truly broke
You thought you had dollars by the barrel
but they’ve all gone up in smoke
I’ve orders here from Brussels,
this thing can never be
So I’m coming for your life,
your money and your wife
Says the man from the ECB

I’m afraid the blade is slashing left and right,
Cutting here now, trimming there now
I’m slashing day and night, at everything in sight
Confiscating now, amalgamating now
I’ll hack and I’ll saw by order of the law
And I won’t even stop for me tea
And if that doesn’t catch it
I’ll come at it with me hatchet
Says the man from the ECB

Maseratis heavy on the diesel
worry people with a pension plan
I’m plagued with beards in SIPTU,
and concerns for the working man
Everyone always has the paw out,
all I hear is me, me, me,
It’s no wonder that you’re busted
when you look at who you trusted
Says the man from the ECB.

I’m afraid the blade is slashing left and right,
Cutting here now, trimming there now
I’m slashing day and night, at everything in sight
Confiscating now, amalgamating now
I’ll hack and I’ll saw by order of the law
And I won’t even stop for me tea
And if that doesn’t catch it
I’ll come at it with me hatchet
Says the man from the ECB

You’re country’s falling all to pieces,
it’ll never stay afloat
While it’s always jobs for the boys here,
and nobody rocks the boat.
You haven’t much of a chance here
when you’re not from the right fam-i-lee
And you can think of how they failed ya
when you’ve moved out to Australia
Says the man from the ECB.

I’m afraid the blade is slashing left and right,
Cutting here now, trimming there now
I’m slashing day and night, at everything in sight
Confiscating now, amalgamating now
I’ll hack and I’ll saw by order of the law
And I won’t even stop for me tea
And if that doesn’t catch it
I’ll come at it with me hatchet
Says the man from the ECB