So Taoiseach Leo Varadkar finally let us — and Vincent Browne — know the real truth: his Government can’t solve the riddle of the loaves and hospital trollies, and neither will those selfless property developers who once slushed millions into his party’s funding coffers sort out the housing crisis. Like ever!
This was the top headline in today’s online Irish Independent, following last night’s appearance on Browne’s programme on TV3: “Problems in housing and health will not be solved by this government: Varadkar”.
What is this, Taoiseach finally comes clean or is it just another teaser headline that doesn’t stand up to small print scrutiny? More the latter, of course, but it did get me thinking about the truth and our dodgy relationship with it.
Like Jack Nicholson’s base commander character Col Nathan Jessup says in the movie A Few Good Men, we can’t handle the truth
That’s not just nationally, politically and officially, but in the every day.
Like did your partner ask you any time today if that new top she had on — yes, the one she bought two weeks ago but only sprang on you now because you were whistling contently — made her belly look a bit big? You immediately quenched that first thought: “FFS, why didn’t you think of that before you paid that €60”, and locked earnestly onto those shimmering, pleading eyes, drew her close and simpered: “Listen, my love, maybe just a little, but not everyone can be a size -20 and I love that belly, it’s what makes you womanly and gorgeous …”
Did you heck!!
You stared wide-eyed in disbelief and boldly declared: “What!! Of course you don’t, you look fabulous.” And off she skipped, as only females can, from existential crisis to “I know just the shoes to go with it ” in a nano-second.
Or your little boy asked you how he played after that schools soccer match in which he got the run around from that narky centre midfielder. You put your hand on both bony, brave little shoulders, bored sincerely into those guileless blue eyes, and grinned: “You did great, son”. Said with just the right level of jaunty conviction to drown out his own misgivings and gladly grab onto this lifebuoy of optimistic delusion.
So really, I’m wondering why do we get so worked up when Garda Commissioner Nóirín O’Sullivan won’t just come out and say something like: “Yes, I knew all along about that Templemore slush fund, and those thick, embarrassing so-and-sos running it, yes, yes, and those dodgy drink driving stats, and sure everyone know Maurice McCabe is a crank who is out to destroy is, but sure, you’ll have that! I can’t know what nearly 13,000 gardai are doing at any given minute, sure how would I ever be able to take a five-week holiday when all this crap is going on, otherwise?”
Well, you are the Commissioner, Nóirín, and it’s your job to know all the important stuff that’s going on, and at least try to sort it all out. Not. Going. To. Happen.
The same is true for fake news and Donald Trump and all our pontificating: if we were really honest about the truth we would either, A, never elect any of our politicians, ever, or, B, on the election canvass, say something to a doorstepping candidate like: “I don’t trust you, but before I vote for you, I just want you to swear to me you will tell the truth about the important stuff. Not the pretend important stuff like the North and the EU and social housing — I don’t care about that, really. Just the stuff that I am concerned about.”
Not likely to happen, but wouldn’t it be fun watching their reaction at the door come election time?
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