There can be few sights more fun than to watch a population drenched in moral perspiration. A fair example was on show on RTÉ’s The Frontline last night. The panel and the audience and Pat Kenny were beating their bosoms and rending their hair, or rather beating the bosoms and rending the hair of the Fianna Fail party, with the odd beat and rend at Fine Gael and Labour and all the politicians in Ireland. Oh holy God, has it come to this, our system looks like it’s corrupt to the core! Colm O’Gorman kept trying to insert the corruption of the Catholic Church but since he was a Progressive Democrat and they were supposed to be the moral watchdogs in government with Fianna Fail back then, he found himself at something of a disadvantage. But the message still came through loud and clear: the south of Ireland is the most corrupt country that ever you have seen, because it is not, unfortunately, hanging men like Bertie Ahern (Taoiseach) who was declared a liar in the Mahon Report, Charlie Haughey, who was found to be corrupt in earlier investigations and Padraig Flynn who was a big lying chancer. And the list went on. The south of Ireland, we were told was a uniquely stinking cesspool in need of draining.
Unique? I think not. Take if you will our dear neighbour-next-door, where the prime minister yesterday was forced to admit he had hosted a series of private dinners and lunches with wealthy Tory donors who’d forked out a total of £23,000,000 to the Tory party. This followed on the back of the party’s treasurer, Peter Cruddas, being caught on camera saying a donation of £200,000 or thereabouts would get “premier league” access to the British prime minister and other top dogs.
You see where I’m going with this? I have a friend who is forever lamenting the corruption in the south – and the Mahon Report would appear to bear him out. What he doesn’t talk about is the corruption that we now see exists at the heart of the British government, and you may be sure that were a major inquiry launched in our own little north-eastern corner, the straws in the wind concerning dodgy land deals here would turn into haysheds whizzing around in a sizeable hurricane. Last night some eejit tried to suggest it was our history wot done it – we were used to ducking and diving to avoid the weight of our British masters and now that they’re gone (from the south), we’re still at it. Total unadulterated bullshit. Where there’s money involved, the capitalist system says “Go on, my friend, get your snout into that lot”. And if a few lies are told or rules bent in the course of events, sure an omelette was never made without breaking the odd egg or two. Just don’t do it in public.
Do you know, I could nearly put up with the hand-wringing and yelps of outrage last night from the various Frontline worthies, if they hadn’t pretended the whole thing came as a monstrous shock to them. Here lads – pull this one. It’s got bells on it.