Last night Dame Enda Kenny dropped into my Twitter box.
I must hasten to add that I don't follow the little shit – someone else [obviously with a sardonic sense of humour] re-tweeted him.
I followed the link to see what he was waffling about and ended up in one of those TED talks.
I watched it for a bit – it was just some wonk waffling on about the glories of globalisation and what a wonderful world we live in and all that shit and eventually he came to the bit about Ireland.
Ireland apparently is Number One in the world on the Good Country Index.
I'm delighted that apparently we are good at something. It used to be the Eurovision Contest but there has been little since. Not wanting to tolerate any more of the wonk on his stage, I skipped directly to the Good Country Index to see how we merit this great title.
I see we are judged under several headings which is fair enough – a bit like a Tidy Towns contest. The first thing that struck me is that we are Number One in Prosperity and Equality! What the fuck? Prosperity? Families around the country can't even afford to give their kids breakfast in the morning and we are tops for prosperity? I wonder what the hundreds of homeless families would think of that? I'm sure they would agree it's an honour?
So I checked to see how this strange accolade came about. Are we tested for the number of families living below the poverty line? Are we tested for the unemployment rate? No. Apparently we are tested for the number of UN Volunteers abroad and our Fairtrade Market Size and this determines that we are a prosperous and equal nation? What fucking planet are these people on?
Then I tested Health. At the time of writing there are nearly six hundred patients lying on hospital trollies waiting for a bed. If you want an urgent operation you'll have to wait years. Then there is the seemingly weekly lottery where some unfortunate is awarded millions because a hospital fucked them up at birth. Surely this must be counted into the figures?
But no. Our health is not measured by how healthy we are. It's measured buy the amount of fucking pharmaceutical products we export. It is judged by Voluntary Excess Donations to the WHO? WHAT. THE. FUCK????
It then struck me why Dame Enda tweeted this rubbish. This is his Ireland. This is how he sees this country – as a department store. In the window you'll see all the fancy goods saying how great we are. Look at what we do for the world. See how generous we are. Aren't we a wonderful country?
Don't step inside the department store though.
That's where you'll find the real Ireland. That's where you'll find a nation that's being bled dry by tax upon tax. That's where you'll find the elderly and disabled left to fend for themselves. That's where you'll find the sick and dying in our overcrowded understaffed hospitals.
Stay outside. Things look a lot better from there.