At the start of a day of pain, when the Fine Gael and Labour parties in the south of Ireland are busy lighting blessed candles in the hope that the public will soften and accept their drastically reduced water charges, it seems unfeeling to even mention another topic, but I can’t help it. Would somebody please kill that bear?
I’m referring to Pudsy, who wears a handkerchief over one eye to show that there are Children in Need (note caps) throughout Britain. Most of us don’t need a one-eyed stuffed bear to tell us that – of course there are, some in dire need. But must the answer to that need be a bunch of broadcasters descending and condescending from their radio or TV thrones to show us they’re really just regular humans like ourselves and confronting us with a very long evening of half-competent, totally embarrassing singing, prancing and godawful smarm about how generous the British public is?
If the BBC feels so strongly about the need to help distressed children, here’s a suggestion: take 1p off the licence fee each year and pass it on for the support of those children. My maths was always shaky but I’d guess that’d produce an annual sum somewhere around £1 billion. It’d be quicker, involve less self-congratulation (it’s our money, after all) and most definitely less painful. Ideally they could announce this new strategy next year by publicly dismembering Pudsy and throwing his entrails to the four winds.
As to the southern business of the day: it’s maybe time people were reminded what violence is. Violence is people with guns and bombs and bazookas and suchlike weapons of death, which they then unload in the direction of other people. As in Gaza, for example (The Israeli prime minister has promised us an example very soon, so watch this space). To claim that someone throwing a balloon full of water or a raw egg at you is engaged in violence is total twaddle. It’s intended to make you look stupid, especially if you’re someone who’s used to being driven around, guest of honour at every function, and who wouldn’t dream of living the kind of poverty forced on the egg-throwers.
What about the brick, you ask, Virginia? I can’t tell you much about it, I’m afraid. I’m guessing it didn’t hit anyone or Enda or one of his many lackeys would have been wringing their hands about it publicly even more than they’ve done. What Enda and Joan are upset by is the notion that ordinary people have dared to come out of their houses and tell the government leaders that they’ve reached financial breaking point. Demonstrations like that destabilise politicians, act like a bucket of cold water upended over them. Switch on your TV this evening and you’ll see some of them still gasping for air in the Dail debate.