I wonder what our beloved leader was thinking as he walked up to Pope Francis and looked deep into the Pope’s eyes. Perhaps he was thinking of the highlight of his political career when on that famous Wednesday afternoon in July 2011, Enda launched into a fierce attack on Pope Benedict and the Catholic Church in the parliament of the Free State and for thirty minutes ranted and raved about the evil pope and his equally evil church.
Did Enda go on to remember that a couple of months later the Vatican produced a point by point rebuttal of his speech showing that it had contained inaccuracies, half truths and lies as he looked into the eyes of this obviously holy, good and humble man?
The general reaction of the media in Ireland was that Kenny had been telling the people what they wanted to hear and that this was more important than the truth. I forgot, in a land of lies, the media is entertainment not truth.
In other words, the truth about a very serious subject could be set aside because the people were not interested in the truth but wanted to vent their anger at the Church; the mob feeling and cry for blood had to be satisfied.
Now, before you think I am getting at Kenny, cast your mind back a few years earlier to the time when the politicians were telling the people of Ireland that the banks were a sound bet and that everyone should invest their hard earned pension money in their stocks and shares. This would secure them all a great future and a healthy nest egg for their retirement.
Well, it would have if that bad man from the North had not brought the whole place down. He had to go to prison! He was a Nordie who showed how bad the banks were.
The Free State would have thrown Sean Quinn’s cat in prison if they had been able to find it.
That’s what happens in a country that tells itself lies: a scapegoat has to be found. In the first place it was the pope and the Church, in the second it was an easy businessman, an outsider and upstart, the kind of man everyone loves to hate. The people focus all their anger on one person or family and that makes everyone else feel good about themselves.
Surely in 2006/2007 the bankers knew what was going on and were guilty by not telling the people the truth: ah, but we live in a world that prefers lies to the truth!
Read what David McWilliams said in last Wednesday’s Independent:
“Looking at the Anglo trial, one thing that really stands out was the complicity and the knowledge of the State in this illegal act. It has been truly breathtaking to see that the main financial institutions of the State – the Central Bank, the Financial Regulator and the Department of Finance – were all aware that Anglo was lending money to people in order to ramp up its share price artificially, but did nothing. Yet they were happy to continue to describe the banks as “well capitalised” right up to the end.
This is remarkable.
This is real Banana Republic stuff: the State knows something is illegal but rather than face it, it looks the other way. This type of behaviour goes to the root of the Irish banking crisis and, although there have been some changes at the top, the question is whether it could happen again?”
McWilliams concludes that it could.
When two bankers are found guilty of criminal offences in their bank, the same one that the evil Nordie brought down, their crimes warrant a little community service.
What is telling in all this is that no one is surprised: everyone knows that no banker will do a day for the destruction of the Irish financial system. That was the big mistake made by Bernie Madoff. He stole billions and got 150 years in jail; but that was America. Had he been based in Dublin he would have got a big pension for being a ‘friend of Ireland’ and bringing a few jobs.
All sorts of excuses shall be found for keeping the bankers out of gaol and on their big pensions.
Lies, rationalization and justification are all the hallmarks of a dysfunctional society. It is not just in Ireland that such events happen.
Take this part of Britain, our own beloved land, where for half a century the Catholic was distrusted and discriminated against simply because we were Catholics.
“A Protestant parliament for a Protestant people,” is all very well until you realize that 40% of the population happens to be Catholic.
So what do you do, you invent a few lies: the Catholics are lazy and don’t want to work, they can’t be trusted, they are all under the influence of Rome.
In Britain itself, you have some old historic lies that are resurfacing. The Victorians had the deserving and undeserving poor, a code way of saying that some people deserved a little help and others could be left to their own devices.
“A food bank charity says it has handed out 913,000 food parcels in the last year, up from 347,000 the year before.
The Trussell Trust said a third were given to repeat visitors but that there was a "shocking" 51% rise in clients to established food banks. It said benefit payment delays were the main cause.
In a letter to ministers, more than 500 clergy say the increase is "terrible".
The government said there was no evidence of a link between welfare reforms and the use of food banks.” (BBC Report)
Does the phrase ‘there are none so blind as those who do not want to see’ come to mind or is this the start of a new set of lies?
Britain is the sixth richest country in the world but it is also the fourth most divided, with the rich getting richer and the poor standing in line for food parcels.
But it is easy to justify: these are the undeserving poor, the people who don’t want to work or who want to sponge of the rest of us. They are seen in a something similar way that the Nordie is seen in the Free State.
But sure we are good at it ourselves, aren’t we? We tell ourselves that every crime carried out by ‘our side’ was not as bad as those done by ‘them’ during our little spat here. We all felt justified in our half snigger when a few Brits got blown up.
That’s the way it is when we live in a society based on lies.
Then sometimes the lies are turned into an ‘anti-lie’ and something which is nonsense becomes the most important thing in the world.
“The Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore has said the time has come for a move on gay marriage in Ireland.
Speaking as the Dublin Gay Pride festival takes place, Eamon Gilmore said the issue of same-sex marriage was to be included for consideration by the Constitutional Convention.
Deputy Gilmore said he believed in gay marriage and that the right of gay couples to marry was ‘the civil rights issue of this generation.’”
Gay marriage, the civil rights issue of this generation! Who does he think he is kidding?
Let me say this and say it clear: if society wants to change the definition of marriage from that of a ‘man and woman’ to that of ‘two people’ then so be it. Society has every right to do so and I will certainly obey the law of the land and call ‘Mr and Mr Jones,’ Mr and Mr Jones.
In 1997 over 10% of the population of Ireland were living below the poverty line. That figure fell to 5% during the boom and is now up again to above 11%: a mere 1.5% of the population define themselves as homosexual.
“The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2012 presents new estimates of the number and proportion of undernourished people going back to 1990, de¬fined in terms of the distribution of dietary energy supply. With almost 870 million people chronically undernourished in 2010–12, the number of hungry people in the world remains unacceptably high. The vast majority live in developing countries, where about 850 million people, or slightly fewer than 15 percent of the population, are estimated to be undernourished.” (Food and Agricultural Organization of the UN)
One in seven of the world’s population live in a state of food anxiety, starvation or food shortage; would hungry people not have more of a claim to be considered ‘the civil rights issue of this generation,’ Mr Gilmore?
Why have the left in the Free State and the parties in the north grasped the mantle of being pro GAY marriage?
Come to think of it, why have marching, flags and the Irish Language become so important to the various parties?
Very simple: the big issues such as a United Ireland or the Constitutional Question are no longer an issue. Northern Ireland is going nowhere soon and everyone, including Sinn Fein, know and accept that.
So if your core policy, say a United Ireland or the Constitutional Question, is no longer an issue then you have to invent an issue. In the New North such issues are easily found, flags and marches being the obvious ones.
But if you are a party such as the Labour party in the south, whose economic outlook and socialist policies are now a laughing stock, then where do you go to find a policy.
You see, when we as a nation accept lies, the politicians can tell us anything. This is not new. In the century before the birth of Our Lord, the Roman philosopher and writer, Cicero, wrote these three famous sayings,
“Nothing is more unreliable than the populace, nothing more obscure than human intentions, nothing more deceptive than the whole electoral system.”
“In a republic this rule ought to be observed: that the majority should not have the predominant power.”
“According to the law of nature it is only fair that no one should become richer through damages and injuries suffered by another.”
In our two countries, the UK and the south of Ireland, as they exist today, Cicero’s words would be laughed out of court.
The politicians feed us lies, we know it and we go along with it. Why?
Because the lies we hear take away from us the need to think and the lies told to us make us feel more powerful and in control; we have all bought into it. They make us feel good about ourselves and if we throw a few quid to the odd charity, particularly if it is to save some cuddly wee animal, then we are doing all we need to do.
Sure aren’t we great.
And then at week’s end we were all engrossed by the Adams saga. Here was the real power of lies and innuendo; the media had Adams guilty and condemned without a trial, evidence or a chance to speak.
On Monday the BBC NI news had a headline, “McConvilles fight on as Adams Freed.” You can read that headline any way you like but it says a lot no matter how you read it.
The mob was out for Adams: they smelt blood and they wanted a sacrifice to their mob mentality. The McConvilles are only a useful pawn in their game. But that’s the way it is when we lie and placate the mob.
Of course the biggest lie in the world today is that a 23 week old perfectly formed foetus in the womb is not a human being and can be killed by the mother only claiming she is suicidal.
But that’s what Gerry Adams voted for when he led Sinn Fein TDs in the Yes vote to allow abortion down there. To paraphrase a saying about money, “Injustice: it’s made round to go round.”
And it looks like Ronnie O’Sullivan will win the snooker. He is by far the best in the world at the moment. I will play it simple. In a world of lies and deceit I will spend my bank holiday watching an innocent game of snooker.
And at the end of the day I’ll spend a few minutes talking to the God of truth. Maybe he will clear my head a bit.
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