Across The Pondby Paddy Duffy
- "Guns & Roses" - How left wing coalition might be Ireland's Labour Party's only hope
- Home thoughts from abroad can cause serious January blues - New year blues for immigrants leaving their families again
- 2012 a tale of two Northern Irelands - from the celebrations of the Queen's Jubilee and the Olympics to the violent Union flag protests
- The Irish langauge, the X-Case and youth voices heard: Being Young And Irish Seminar concludes
- Belfast's Marie Stopes clinic -- the last thing vulnerable women need is a culture war over abortion
Michael Soden, former Bank of Ireland Chief and current Central Bank adviser, has been showing the kind of ingenious thinking that made Ireland’s financial enterprises the envy of the world by advocating, wait for it, Ireland leaving the EU and possibly becoming the 51st state of the U.S. Wow, someone give that man a medal. Preferably not The Charlemagne Prize though.
Part of me hopes this is some kind of Joaquin Phoenix-type pisstake, or some desperate histrionic attempt to flog the book he’s just penned. But then I realise that not only are bankers much more predisposed to the realm of mind-boggling fantasy than satirical humour, shy of claiming the secret to eternal youth is printed just below the publishing info nobody would dream of buying the thing anyway. So, unlike NAMA, I’m choosing to take the value of the comments at face value.
Environment Minister John Gormley (mainly because most people can see it as the master class in fig leaf couture that it is), or the fact that apparently a third of Irish people in their mid-twenties are driven loco by the fact they’re still living with their parentis (we try not to dwell on that one). It’s not even the depressing realisation that, after seeing "Ferris Bueller’s Day Off" on the TV this week, my father was roughly the same age as I am when the film was released (I have to confess, that one is all mine). In actual fact, the big, preoccupying story this week is the return of "Reeling in the Years".
In TV terms, only episodes of "Mad Men" featuring Trudy Campbell come anywhere near close to matching the excitement I’m currently feeling.
For the uninitiated, "Reeling" is an historical documentary series, a popular culture travelogue documenting life, politics, attitudes and sport through a very Irish lens. The idea and execution thereof is simple, but incredibly effective. Using only archive footage (and occasionally pregnant pauses), contemporary music chosen with clever precision and a few explanatory sentences rolling across the bottom third throughout, Reeling In The Years has profiled every year from 1962 (the year after the national broadcaster Teilifís Éireann came into being) to 1999, with the new series beginning this Sunday bringing us right up to date.
Ireland’s Greatest” series, a search to find the most outstanding Irish citizen ever. The series is comprised of five documentaries fronted by the advocates of the respective candidates: Michael Collins, James Connolly, John Hume, Mary Robinson and, eh, Bono. All those names are of course pretty remarkable in their respective ways, but the list as a whole is even moreso. Not one of those greats have actually led the country.
Big Mick certainly would have had he not been killed in what are even now contentious circumstances, so his legacy as a leader can only be extrapolated. James Connolly too died before he could exert any influence on the institutions of power. John Hume never held a government posting after briefly being Minister for Commerce in the ill-fated Northern Ireland executive of the early seventies, while Mary Robinson’s role as President was largely honorific. Bono sang "Mysterious Ways".
Not only that, but the candidates are, apart from all belonging to the most recent corner of history, largely left-leaning figures, and not one of them were members of Fianna Fáil, the party that has run the country for about three out of every four year since they formed. Irish voters, as the old Peronist maxim goes, signal left and turn right.