Before doing anything else this week I want to say thanks to Spraoi for another great weekend. It was lovely to stroll through the People’s Park last Saturday and see families relaxed and enjoying a great public amenity to a backdrop of live music. The Spraoi flower making exercise was an inspired idea and you were no one unless you had a colorful, handmade bloom on a stick hanging out of your buggy. While the weather wasn’t as kind on Sunday, at least it was dry for the parade. I was very proud to be standing beside an English visitor who couldn’t get over what he was seeing. He kept remarking throughout that they have “nothing like this in the UK”! I didn’t like to say anything but they don’t really have anything like ‘this’ anywhere else in Ireland either. Galway has Macnas and Wexford has Bui Bolg but as good as they are, neither, I’m afraid, comes close to Spraoi. (Of course I’m biased but it also happens to be the truth!) Despite a few patches of the park feeling a little on the Glastonbury (muddy) side by the end of Sunday it was nothing that a pair of wellies and a plastic mac couldn’t handle. All in all it was a great event and the best part is that we still have Spraoi on the August Bank Holiday weekend to come so thanks again, Spraoi.
Meanwhile for all the wisdom displayed by the organisers of Spraoi in creating a family event for July, wisdom seems to be the one attribute sadly lacking in many other quarters at the moment. There is a proverb that says before you get anything else get wisdom as it is more valuable than gold. (Proverbs 16:16) You can throw money at a problem forever, but it is actually wisdom that will solve it. You can apply this theory to a family unit, a business or even an entire country and it still holds true. While many may feel that the current state of affairs in Ireland could be solved with an injection of cash, it would only be a short term fix; a sticking plaster at best. What we need are leaders full of wisdom to steer the ship out of the sludge we seem to be stuck in. Unfortunately we’re seeing little in the way of wisdom and a great deal in the way of knee jerk reaction, headless chicken politics and short term solutions that will inevitably lead to long term problems.
Piece of madness
Possibly one of my favourite pieces of madness to emerge recently is that the government is looking at emigration as one possible pressure release valve. These people are meant to have their finger on the pulse. Have they completely missed the fact that the rest of the world isn’t exactly booming at the moment. Indeed late last year they were continuously blaming the global downturn for our woes. If you listened long enough you’d nearly believe that these other countries were entirely to blame for our problems and not domestic skullduggery, greed and general carelessness with the public purse. Where are we supposed to go? I doubt if America would be that welcoming, England is experiencing many of the same issues we are, mainland Europe is being hit with mass unemployment as well and, last I heard, Australia is no longer as laid back as it was even three years ago.
Maybe the government has identified some emerging areas on the globe. Actually, in true Irish Government form, I’m surprised they haven’t already set up a sub committee, An Bord Spot Nua, to investigate and then produce a leaflet condensing their findings to a three fold, full colour A4 to be delivered to every household in the country in say, autumn. We could stick them onto our fridges and remind our kids as they leave for school each morning to work hard and get a good education so that in the future they can go abroad for some other country to benefit greatly from their talents.
Electricians on strike
Lack of wisdom isn’t only confined to politicians. This week we’ve seen the TEEU (The Technical Engineering and Electrical Union) call their members out on strike for higher pay; that’s those electricians lucky enough to have a job at the moment by the way. Apparently they are not satisfied with an hourly rate of pay of €21.49 and want it raised to €23.98, an 11% hike. Electrical contractors are looking to cut pay by 10%. I can just about understand a strike to stop pay cuts, but seeking an increase is almost like a ridiculous, plot line from a sit com. In fact it’s even too outrageous for television. If we all lived on Planet TEEU half the country would be on strike at the moment. I know plenty of people in varying industries that have recently taken pay cuts, pay freezes, or increases in hours and responsibility for the same pay; all in an effort to keep their jobs and their companies afloat.
Then, just like the politicians, wisdom was definitely on its holidays last week when John Gormley suggested that mobile home owners might be a handy tax target for a bit of revenue. Forget the person with the fine, high end holiday home in sunnier countries, just bleed the little guy with a mobile home in Dunmore East, Ardmore or any other rain soaked Irish costal village. Add to that the startling remark from Brian Cowen recently when he publicly urged the nation to trust his and his colleague’s ‘good instincts’. Okay, what good instincts would they be exactly? Are they the good instincts that thought it might be a good idea to cut the over 70s medical cards or resources to children’s hospitals perhaps? Are they the good instincts that allow bankers and developers to run wild while you squeeze poor old Joe Soap with his mobile home? Would these be the same ‘good instincts’ that say vote Yes to Lisbon? I’m still not sure which way to vote on Lisbon but the mere fact that the government is calling for a ‘Yes’ makes me wary as they haven’t told me what has changed in the treaty from the last time, if anything. I guess I’m in need of some wisdom myself to work through this fog and find the truth. However, lack of wisdom isn’t new as Plato even said, “Mankind will never see an end of trouble until lovers of wisdom come to hold political power, or the holders of power become lovers of wisdom.” The proverb is right, wisdom is better than gold but I’m not sure if any of our politicians will ever grasp it.