Need a foolproof guide to figuring out the Government’s actions? Read on
How the promissory note works (sort of)
Step 1 The Government pays €3.1 billion interest payments on an IOU for loads of money it gave to Anglo/IBRC (a branch of Government), who then pay the interest back to the Central Bank (a branch of Government), who stare at it for a while.
Step 2 Some sums.
Step 3 Terrifying omens abound. A two-headed lamb is born. An eagle drops a wolf cub. It lands on Phil Hogan’s head (he wears it as a hat). An apparition of Seán Lemass is seen pacing Leinster House. The Spice Girls make a musical. The ghost of Bertie Ahern is seen in a petrol station forecourt eating a Big Time (to the surprise of the still living Bertie Ahern). The pope tweets his first tweet (“I’m infallible LOL!”). A long-faced man from Europe appears and gazes mournfully at us.
Step 4 Coffee break.
Step 5 Some more sums. Maybe some physics. Possibly a bit of string theory.
Step 6 The money vanishes.
Step 7 Cut respite grants for carers and reduce child allowance.
How the Labour Party works
This is when members of the Labour Party usually intervene and say they are a bit sad. They feel really desperate about the whole thing. In fact, they feel just awful. Words cannot express how terrible they feel and neither can devising redistributive policies. “Jaysus, it’s terrible,” they add, before crooning a few bars of a song about Jim Larkin and submitting an expenses claim.
“If only we were in opposition,” they say. “Then we might have some real power.”
At this point they sing a sad Irish air about missing being in opposition.
Because Labour are goodies. If they weren’t in Government things would certainly, definitely, probably, possibly be worse. We’d be working as footmen in Fine Gael’s stately homes and the Cabinet would be paying off loads of extra interest on promissory notes and raiding the pension fund all the time, just for the laugh. Enda Kenny would be wearing leather gloves, jodhpurs and possibly an eye patch. There would be far more nefarious guffawing.
Labour are, they imagine, classic heroes like the rebels in Star Wars. It just so happens they’re on the Death Star wearing stormtrooper suits at the moment (alternatively, you can imagine them as the carefree Smurfs hanging around Gargamel’s cave dressed as cats).
How Fine Gael works
Fine Gael, on the other hand, is more comfortable with governmental villainy (see Derek Keating’s attack on the “welfare economy lifestyle”). Its Ministers are modelled on classic baddies from fiction.
Kenny’s whole shtick is based on Gort, the glossy robot in The Day the Earth Stood Still (not the Galway town).
James Reilly, with his tax-relieved stately home and history of lobbying for the medical profession, is of course the Lovecraftian old god Cthulhu locating health centres in his home dimension.
Michael Noonan has based his persona on a character from the obscure 1950s Hammer exploitation film – Dracula meets Michael Noonan – in which the hero, an ageless whispering plutocrat, battles the otherworldly Michael Noonan.
Not everyone in Fine Gael seems bad at first. The Li’l Blueshirts, Leo Varadkar, Lucinda Creighton and Simon Harris, once seemed like roguish scamps engaged in neoliberal hijinks with a social-conservative twist.
But eventually their unearthly powers manifested themselves, like the children in Village of the Damned, and they terrified us all with their Toryism, sighing monotone deliveries, and by causing unexplained fires with their minds. They don’t mind being baddies.
But Labour are goodies. They don’t mean to target the poor. They LIKE the poor . . . and not just as a source of cheap labour. So they’ll sigh and cry and feel everyone’s pain and some brave souls will defect and some of them will do sad-face. Because they’re not baddies. They’re NOT. STOP IT. DON’T LOOK AT ME. DON’T LOOK AT ME!