My Week by Turlough Quinn published 16th August 2012
My week got off to a bad start. I got a letter from Her Majesty’s Government, Social Security Agency, about my old age pension. Now before you think I am 65 and done, I am a fit 57 year old going on 21. But officially I am entering old age.
Talk about a gunk! Me getting letters about my pension, what is the world coming too? Well, the goods news is my stamps are correct and I have made provision for my old age. I have three premium bonds and a lottery card! When I heard someone in the UK had won a mere £148 million in the Euromillions draw, I thought I had landed the jackpot. But alas, I am still in the same league as our local church mouse.
Enda Farrell is making provision for his old age. Enda, a NAMA executive and sometime property agent, bought a house that was on the NAMA portfolio on the QT. He made a private deal with developer Thomas Dowd for a five bedroom house in Lucan, at something around €400,000. It ain’t what you know! Whether Mr Farrell done anything wrong or not, I have no idea, but after the debacle of the last government down there you’d have thought all this was coming to an end. Now we are going to have further inquiries into NAMA to see if it has become a “rogue institution.”
Rogue Institutions are a dime a dozen these days. First we had Madoff Securities Ltd, wholly owned by that pillar of New York Society Bernie Madoff, now doing 150 years on a chain gang. Then we had a host of Irish banks which are commonly believed to be rogue institutions, but the people involved are too nice to name, lately we had HSBC, money launderers to the world, and now we have Standard Chartered.
Standard Chartered are accused of hiding £250 billion in transactions on behalf of Iran, for which they received hundreds of millions of dollars in fees. According to bank watchdogs in New York, this “exposed the US banking system to terrorists, drug traffickers and corrupt states.” But let’s be fair; it’s hard to look at a man with say, £500 million in fees and call him a terrorist. Terrorists are poor people with beards (most of the time). Mind you, quite a few of our home-grown terrorists made the odd pocketful from a book or two, before they became respectable; but bankers wear suits, drive good cars, donate to churches and talk nice.
Former Anglo Irish Bank chairman Sean FitzPatrick has been declared bankrupt by the High Court. He currently has liabilities of almost €150
How can an ordinary man believe in these banks and institutions any more? How can he trust the state?
According to Fintan O’Toole large numbers of people in Ireland don’t feel allegiance to the institutions of the state. Could you blame them? Did we feel allegiance to the North prior to the Good Friday agreement and even now we give it conditional allegiance. Fintan ends his Irish Times article with the following:
“It is shocking to be brought face-to-face with the reality that ours is a State to which many of its decent, respectable inhabitants feel no attachment whatsoever. Here is a reminder, if another were needed, of the stark choice that faces us: watch the State dwindle away or get serious about building a real republic.”
Bad news for you Mr. O’Toole, Ireland has lost its soul, it has become a secular state which has no focal point and has taken on a new religion, the pursuit of the Euro, where it is every man for himself and where a political elite carve up the kitty for themselves and their cronies.
Oh, and there’s a little bit of unfinished business up here…..you know, six of thirty two that you lot left behind. The best you can ever have down there is the “Almost Republic of Ireland.”
But you have to be fair to the Republic of Ireland, their women can box. Katy Taylor, the Beautiful Bray Brawler won a gold medal in the boxing at the Olympics. Now call me old fashioned, call me a misogynist, call me whatever you want, but the idea of a woman slogging it out in a boxing ring for any sort of medal, makes me sick. Women are beautiful; they are sublime in their femininity, but they are not made to box. The feminists make one mistake; equality does not equate to sameness.
Charlotte Dujardin wins Gold in the dressage at the London 2012 Olympic Games Photograph: Steve Parsons/PA
Women are and should be equal to men in all things but they are not the same. As the French say, Vive la difference! Long live the difference. It’s the difference that makes us attractive to each other. To a man a feminine, elegant, lady, comfortable in her sex and sexuality is the most sublimely beautiful thing in the world. Woman is God’s most beautiful creation. Women’s desire to be the same as men shows a deep rooted inferiority complex that no amount of boxing shall overcome.
Now Charlotte DuJardin and Laura Becholsheimer are not the same. Charlotte DuJardin was born in Enfield to working class parents and rides a horse called Valegro, which she has on loan from her trainer Carl Luard. She was educated at a comprehensive school and went to a stable to work. Charlotte loved horses but had not the money needed to buy one or to learn how to do show jumping.
Laura Bechtolsheimer wins bronze in the dressage at the London 2012 Olympic Games
Her natural ability was spotted and she won gold for Britain in the dressage. Laura Becholsheimer is a billionaire’s grand daughter and a friend of the royals. She mixes with the hob-knobs. She is public school educated, rich and owns her own horse. Laura won the bronze in the same event.
Both are beautiful, elegant, well dressed young ladies, who know they are equal to any man. They could have any man eating out of their hands.
The people of Newtownards aren’t eating out of their hands. They are eating out of someone else’s hand. A local church there started a “Food Bank” in January with six volunteers and now has over ninety volunteers because of the volume of work they have to do to cover the needs of the community. Food Banks take food that is donated from various groups to the church and pass on to people who for whatever reason cannot afford to buy their own food. What a state of affairs.
This is Northern Ireland 2012, and it is not confined to Newtownards. Ask any member of St Vincent de Paul. Dublin is even worse. But we have talked of this before; the rich are getting richer and the poor are becoming more numerous. People with work and a reasonable income are finding it harder to make ends meet so they try to make any economies they can. Imagine having a job, a family, a mortgage and a car and not being able to buy food because of a mortgage you took out at the peak of the property insanity.
We are taking away people’s dignity and we expect them to feel “allegiance to the institutions of the state,” as Fintan O’Toole says. The bankers talk about “moral hazard” while mothers watch their homes fall apart and we as a society watch while social cohesion disintegrates. We should all read Der Spiegel, the German newspaper.
Without the Euro, we’ll be left with a complete and utter economic catastrophe
In an interview last week Mario Monti, the unelected Prime Minister of Italy, told Der Spiegel that the “Euro crisis is building national resentments that could break up the EU.” The richer countries are getting richer while the PIGS (Portugal, Ireland/Italy, Greece and Spian) are being fed the husks.
Portugal, Ireland and Greece live on handouts from the rest of Europe, decent people in Newtownards and in every parish in Ireland, have to cut corners, and the Germans wonder why people are angry. But at least the sun is shining in America.
Unfortunately it is shining a little too much. Drought in the US, rain in Brazil and problems with wheat production in Russia has sent the price of food soaring on the world markets. This also happened in 2007-2008 but we didn’t notice. Mind you, the poorest people in the world noticed. They starved. Led to total breakdown of social cohesion in parts of the Arab world; the riots in Tunisia, which precipitated the Arab Spring, began over bread prices.
We may all get ready for a winter of higher food prices and less cash in the hip pocket.
What is going on in our world? What has happened to the great dream that was Europe?
Otmar Issing was one of the architects of the Euro. He said in a speech last week that weaker countries should be allowed to leave the Euro. The problem arises because the banks in the strong Euro countries are refusing to lend to the poor countries. Europe and the Euro are effectively falling apart. It is only a matter of time. The good times are catching up with us.
The European Union and the Euro were devices to bring prosperity to all of Europe. Now Mr Issing says that countries which do not reach their level of economic stability should be dumped. The same problem as always, man believes he shall build his own Utopia. Think of Communism, Nazism and any other tin pot dictator; we can build a perfect world….and when it doesn’t work we’ll cut off the weak.
Britain spends £2.3 billion more each week than it earns. Europe went on a spending spree in from about 1998-2008 and now we have to pay it back. Unfortunately we can’t; we have it all spent.
“Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen pounds nineteen and six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pounds ought and six, result misery,” observed Wilkins Micawber in David Copperfield.
If we live beyond our means we have to pay the price. We have politicians who promise us anything and we spend our children’s money to keep ourselves in luxury. And typical of us, the more we had the more we wanted. One house wasn’t enough. One car or TV wasn’t enough. Credit cards and easy money and we went mad. And now we’re trying to blame the banks for lending us the money; Adam blamed Eve, Eve blamed the serpent and the serpent hadn’t a leg to stand on.
What happened to the good old fashioned idea of prudence? I learnt the hard way. Ireland has learnt the hard way. There are times when I would love to just run away!
Usain Bolt gets his double-Gold.
Speaking of running, did you catch a glimpse of the Bolt in the 200 metres? He came down the home stretch looking round him, slowing up as he crossed the line. Then you had David Rudisha in the 800 metres. He led from start to finish. What a wonderful runner.
And did you hear about yer man in the 10,000 metres, Mo Farah? He’s going to put a sash on and run a race in it. Then he’ll sell it on E-Bay for charity. He’s going to call it “The Sash Mo Farah wore!” And did you see his legs. You’d wonder how he runs at all with those thin legs.
Mo Farah gets gold 10,000 metre race London 2012 Olympics
Mo’s legs are thin because he runs a lot. Some children’s legs are thin because of man’s greed. There’s a rich country that produces more food than it needs and yet a full one quarter of all the world’s malnourished children are in this land. I was surprised when I heard the name of the country; India.
There is a stretch of land through India called the “hunger belt.” Here children and families starve to death in a land of plenty because of corruption and mismanagement. Within a few miles of huge grain stores children are dying because they cannot access food and illiterate parents don’t know how to fill in forms etc. These are the poor, the outcasts and the unwanted ones. You wouldn’t want them in your pub
They didn’t want the Nevin family in the pub either in Mullingar; Ireland of the thousand welcomes, unless you’re a traveller. No civic reception for the medal winners because Dublin City Council is now too poor. We have swung from excess to stinginess in two years.
I wonder if John Joe Nevin had been a rich boy from Dublin Four rather than a Traveller from Mullingar, and had Katy Taylor been a secularist, pro-abortion babe rather than a committed Christian, proud of her Christian heritage, would Dublin City Council have been able to find a few euros for a homecoming event?
With all the troubles we are facing, you would have thought that having a celebration, be it modest, to celebrate the Irish winners of the London 2012 Olympics would have been a wise move on Enda’s part. Maybe his spin doctor is on his holidays.
“Our God is a great God.”
Please submit comments via blog or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
Column published in Observer Newspaper group, N.I. 16 Aug 12