08 October 2011

Look! The business leaders are here - we're saved!

Back when I were a lad there was a British weekly comic called 2000AD, which you may be familiar with or with its primary character Judge Dredd, a futuristic lawman with a massive chin, butchered on the silver screen by Silvester Stallone. While this comic no doubt still exists to this day, sadly it and I parted ways when I discovered beer, and a hierarchy of adolescent needs quickly emerged, beer beating comics on nine days out of ten. One brief relapse occurred during the spring of 1991 when the aforementioned Judge Dredd spent a number of weeks in a future version of Ireland, called the Emerald Isle, largely consisting of a single city based on Dublin, the imaginatively named Murphyville.

Written by Northern Irishman Garth Ennis, it depicted a nation bankrupt and destitute, forced to exist as a de-facto colony of Britain whose banks and corporations have bailed it out and in return have turned what is left of the country into a Theme Park based on two-dimensional depictions of Oirishness complete with thatched cottages, horse-drawn carts and dancing at the crossroads. At the time I was outraged, its depiction of bumbling drunken Irishmen raised my hackles, this was surely the biggest insult to a nation since Playboy of the Western World - its ok for us to laugh at ourselves but not in front of the English! We can use the "P" word but they certainly can't. Even now I feel like Ennis let the side down, he had an opportunity to tell a meaningful tale of colonisation and exploitation to impressionable young Brits and ruined it all by falling back on traditional British stereotypes of Ireland.

But at least it was all done for comedic effect, tongue firmly in cheek. No-one would ever believe that such a mockery could ever come to pass.

*cough*

The great and the good of the Irish business world both domestic and Diaspora are converging as we speak in Dublin Castle for the second of two days of discussions, presentations and hand-wringing. The successor to Biffo's Global Irish Economic Forum held in Farmleigh back in 2009 that made a lot of tax exiles feel good about themselves but accomplished exactly nothing, this global economic forum aims to tap into the genius of the Irish business elite and help get Ireland Inc back on its feet. I feel better already.

While it is too early to comment on the success or otherwise of the event, the show not being over until the fat lady sings (the fat lady in question being Bill Clinton who has been flown in especially for the occasion), already word has started to reach us of the monumental initiatives that our business elite have proposed and according to the Irish Times these include:
- Plans for a global Irish “homecoming”, billed as the biggest tourism initiative ever staged in Ireland, to attract up to 325,000 extra visitors to Ireland in 2013;

- A new Irish social networking site – WorldIrish.com – which its founders say has the potential to connect millions of Irish people, or those with an affinity to the country;

- An annual State-run diaspora awards ceremony to recognise “outstanding contributions” or distinguished service made to Ireland and Irish communities.
So, the President, Taoiseach and Tánaiste have wined and dined our global business elite and so far they have come up with a) an international "If you're Irish, Come into the Parlour" day (which I thought we already had on March 17th), b) Feisbook and c) giant "Kiss me, I'm Irish" badges. They've also offered to serve for free on State boards and quangos for the next five years, so it looks like Mary Davis is out of a job.

So where we apear to be this morning is in a country part-owned by the British government (along with the IMF and EU), whose State boards are to be run by the leaders of foreign corporations, and whose government is to turn the entire nation into one gigantic Oirish theme park in the hope of diverting some of the Diaspora money that normally fills the coffers of Sinn Fein/IRA into the Anglo Irish Bank-shaped hole in our economy. All we need now is for Dublin City Council to change our name to Murphyville.

"Grud on a Greenie!", as Dredd would say.

"Listen", I say to all you business folk, "you want to help restore the Irish economy, the economy that you yourselves held no small part in destroying? Pay your taxes. It's as simple as that. You pay your taxes, your corporations pay their taxes, everybody pays their taxes. Not the minimum amount your accountants think you can get away with, not whatever is left after availing of all the crooked loopholes your donations to Fianna Fail got inserted into budget after budget, not by calling what you do 'Intellectual Property' and licensing it from a subsidiary in Bermuda via the Netherlands. Just. Pay. Your. Taxes." It really is that simple.

And the only suitable response to all this nonsense is to #OccupyDameStreet.

See you there.

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