When I was ten, I was sent to boarding school.
I soon discovered that this wasn’t a place where merry chaps played cricket and then had a pleasant evening roasting a first-year pupil over an open fire.
This was more like Colditz – a dark place where survival was the name of the game. For this was Ring College [or Coláiste na Rinne, as they liked to call themselves] where we could only speak Irish, and you were flayed to the bone if a word of English slipped out.
Mercifully, my memory auto erased itself to spare me the nightmares of the place, but one or two still linger.
One of my memories was of Cheffy’s Vomit. This was the main meal of the day on Friday. It was revolting stuff. It had the look and consistency of wallpaper paste, and had little things like diced carrot floating in it. It was bland, and had a taste of desperation about it. It was served up in a soup dish and we all ate it or starved. I’m sure we should have been entitled to Red Cross parcels, but we were too young and scared to argue.
But why do I think of Cheffy’s Vomit now?
Strangely, it was the news of the Greens’ pact that brought the memories back.
Our current selection of political parties are the Cheffy’s Vomit of the modern day. They are colourless, tasteless, and we put up with them because that’s what we are given.
But there was always that little bowl of peas at one side of the soup dish. I don’t fancy a diet of peas, but at least it was there, providing a bit of colour, and an alternative if you were that desparate.
Now the peas have been thrown into the Vomit. It is the end of alternatives. It is the end of the mildly eccentric bit of colour. We are now stuck with Cheffy’s Vomit for the foreseeable future and it makes me want to throw up.
I know some will say that there are still different flavours in government. But it is very hard to tell the difference. Maybe a 1% difference in proposed tax rates, or a difference of opinion as to where private hospitals are built, but essentially they are all the same recipe.
What we need now in Irish politics is a bit of spice. A vindaloo on the menu, or a bit of bolognese. Even a traditional Irish stew would do to liven things up a bit.
Anything but Cheffy’s Vomit.