NOT for the first time, our dear Taoiseach caused goosebumps during leaders’ questions in Dáil Éireann this week.
No, it wasn’t inspirational oratory from Micheál on this occasion, I’m afraid, it’s just that everybody was freezing as he spoke because the heating was switched off.
You see, the denizens of Leinster House have opted to delay turning up the thermostat in Dáil Éireann in order to show some leadership on the climate crisis.
One man’s climate leadership is another man’s virtue signalling, I suppose.
So it was a case of hot water bottles at the ready for our poor public representatives as they all cuddled up together to stay warm. There they sat drinking Ovaltine and reading each other passages from The Gruffalo while their reading glasses frosted over and icicles formed on the noses of some of Ireland’s finest legislators.
Or at least that’s what I was picturing during the Budget speech.
It wasn’t like the Dáil to have a complete absence of hot air, says you.
A point will come, of course, where the thermostat will have to be raised again but you’d wonder if there is a sartorial solution to keeping the carbon footprint down on a more sustainable basis. Perhaps some sort of colour-coded, A-rated Dáil-branded onesies could be laid on for all politicians, red for Labour, blue for Fine Gael, yellow and green for the Healy Raes etc?
What better sign of climate leadership could there be than TDs lining themselves up around the chamber like Teletubbies, with Ceann Comhairle Seán Ó Fearghaíl dressed as a giant sun, a symbol of good sense and positive energy at the centre?
Alternatively, they could install standing desks which would allow TDs to get their 10,000 steps in by doing a bit of jogging on the spot or doing the occasional ceremonial squat.
Or perhaps have them running on treadmills as they debate, and using the energy generated to power the airport-sized underground photocopier that they use to print Christmas cards?
Anyway, I say hats off to the politicians of Ireland for their leadership and vision, even if it’s a case of ‘hats on’ on this occasion.
Careful what you wish for
I GOT a text from a friend during the week who is in a very bad place at the moment. Yes, they are living in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland where the latest Tory self-inflicted disaster is playing out like a particularly daft episode of Fawlty Towers.
At this stage, we’re beginning to lose count of the number of prime ministers, chancellors and chancers attempting to lead the government, an inglorious parade indeed.
First, there was David Cameron, the man whose vision and genius brought about Brexit in the first place. Then Theresa May, a sort of kindly Thatcher, at the time a figure of ridicule, who now holds the stature of a wise elder from Lord of the Rings when compared with what was to come. Bojo arrived next, of course, like a bacon butty crashing through a house of cards, just in time for a global pandemic, which nearly killed him, and flopped around the place for a few years telling fibs and generally making everything even worse.
He was less Winston Churchill defending Britannia and more Just William captaining the Titanic.
And when you thought things couldn’t possibly get any worse we get Liz Truss and Kwasi Kwarteng, a sort of Dumb and Dumber pairing for the modern age, which jumped the shark about five minutes in, and has since gone on to tank the pound and killed The Queen in under a month. God only knows what’s coming next.
Of course, our schadenfreude shouldn’t become too indulgent. It wasn’t so long ago that the ‘markets’ took a dim view of our government in Ireland. Remember that? Ajai Chopra walking past a homeless person near Stephen’s Green? Brian Cowen’s ‘congested’ morning interview from the ‘think-in’? Vincent Browne holding sway across the airwaves every evening like Vincent Price conducting a séance for capitalism?
We know well the misery that followed for ordinary people in Ireland. And with inequality in the UK now having reached eyewatering, shameful levels, you can only imagine the jeopardy ordinary people are in, as the cost of living crisis continues to worsen.
Say what you like about our government and our country, but our recent Budget was at least some sort of prudent, concerted effort to put money back in people’s pockets, even if it ultimately amounts to fiddling at the edges.
You’d have to wonder, with all this wealth and money sloshing around our societies, why is life becoming so difficult and painful for so many? Why is it so difficult to get accommodation, feed your loved ones and feel some security, with employment at record levels and the country awash with savings?
Something just isn’t adding up.
The purr-fect accent, boy!
BACK to serious commentary, I hope you all saw the video entitled ‘Cat that sounds like it has a Cork accent’ that went viral last week?
I have been studying it closely all week and I’m still struggling to figure out whether the cat actually sounds more like they are from West Cork or East Kerry, but it’s fairly uncanny all the same.
Never fear, because however serious the state of the world, it seems there’s always an internet cat meme to lighten the mood.