Pat’s Patch

The worm has turned.....

I had a long talk with a political nerd I met last Thursday and we both came to the conclusion that after last Wednesday’s Budget the Labour Party is toast, that they will go the same way as the Greens and the PD’s at the next election.

What I was not expecting was his take on Fine Gael. Now this really was something else. He was scathing about them in terms I hadn’t heard in years; he used words like ‘fascists’ and ‘Blueshirts’ with a venom I found more than a little surprising.

In a ten minute diatribe while strolling along the pathway at Inch Level nature reserve I hardly noticed the bucketing rain as my casual acquaintence expounded that the handing over of ‘extreme powers’ to the Revenue Commissioners had, at one swoop, turned our political democracy into a Third World banana republic/police state where unelected officials would have unlimited powers. When that kicks in he expects a serious reaction not only against the government but against the Revenue officials. He told me - and I don’t question his seriousness in this regard - he was prepared to go to jail to oppose this.

And describing the overall budget as ‘rotten to its very core’ he was of the opinion the targeting of the middle income and lower income families was deliberate policy by Fine Gael - that not hitting the wealthy was a party decision in that this is where their core support lies and they were ensuring their base (he referred to FG as the party of ‘doctors and lawyers’ aided abetted by wealthy landowners) were okay. Claims by the party of fairness were derided - ‘only 1% per cent will be hit by the mansion tax’ - says he.

The only credit he was willing to give F.G. was that ‘at least they looked after their own constituency - unlike Labour’.

He said most families would be losing 1,500 euros this year, and this was the 6th such budget which had decimated family incomes. He was enraged that no where was their any acknowledgement of either ability to pay or what percentage of income that 1,500 euro represented.

The reason I’m telling you all this is that this man not only voted for Fine Gael but, as far as I’m aware, canvassed for the party at the last election.

Support our own

I have left this a bit late but if you can buy presents that are Irish made you should do so. I caught the tail end of a programme the other night on RTE where it said that ever ten euro spent on Irish made products created at least another £10 euro in the community - that sounds sort of obvious, and stupid, but I hope you get my drift. Basically, the more we spend on local arts, crafts and products the more we help ourselves. Please do it.

Not realistic?

Met a woman the other day and we got talking, as one does, about what’s on the telly. Says she: “That Love/Hate thing on RTE is not realistic at all - it’s far too violent.”

Now I ask you.....

A little Christmas reading for you....

I came across this last week on a site called ‘Bondwatch.ie’, a site that gives details of how much our government is paying out to ‘unsecured bond holders’, gamblers if you are looking for an explanation for those terms.

In the week that many ordinary, hard working families were pushed either over or on to the edge of the financial cliff this is worth a read.

“The next bond due for payment is this Tue Dec 4th, a subordinated bond from Irish Life & Permanent, €10,000,000; after that, a series of six unsecured unguaranteed bonds on Dec 17th totalling €63,000,000, before rounding off the year - fittingly - with yet another unsecured unguaranteed bond of €37,259,146 on Dec 28th. NONE of these fall under the bank guarantee scheme but no matter, all will be paid.

“That Dec 28th bond payment is the last of the €20bn+ that will be sucked from our banks this year, all of which we own bar Bank of Ireland and we have a sizable stake in that (15.1%). Only another €17bn then next year, 2013, and sure that’s the back broken on dem pesky bank bonds; our backs broken also but who gives a damn about that?”

Taking and giving

24 hours after 325 euro was taken from hard pressed carers across our deeply divided country the 166 TD’s in Dail Eireann were invited to apply for free iPads by the Oireachtas authorities.The iPads can retail at between 479 and 799 euro.

Keep saying ...you couldn’t make this kind of stuff up ...you really couldn’t.

Is this entertainment?

As I have mentioned in this column before I hear from friends in Australia regularly about stuff that goes on their radio stations that would simply never be acceptable - or allowed - here. It was inevitable that in a ‘race to the bottom’ to top the ratings - there is big money to be made in advertising in wealthy cities like Melbourne and Sydney - those in the media ‘Down Under’ would eventually go too far.

Now a mother of two, a nice middle aged woman is dead because of a so called prank call. Jacintha Saldanha apparently took her own life because she felt, I would presume, she had failed in her duty as a nurse to protect the privacy of a patient and humiliated in the eyes of the world as a dupe when she put through a prank call at the hospital where Kate Middleton was being treated for morning sickness.

And the promising careers of two aspiring Australian broadcasters are dead in the water. They seemed sincere and contrite in their apology for the prank when interviewed yesterday morning, stating they never thought that it would all end like this.

It’s a hell of a price to pay all round.

And finally...

Due to the Siberian nature of winters past this year myself and missus McArt got our act together when we bought snow tyres for the car, got sand and salt for our lane, snow shovels and the rest to move the white stuff from the front door etc etc. Therefore I was (almost) disappointed that on Saturday I noticed it was 9 degree on the thermometer in the car.

Years ago we weren’t prepared and we had almost to dig ourselves out of our little home on the prairie when the temperature plummeted to -18degs while this year we prepared ...and nothing happens (so far!).

Contrary country or what....