Saturday 1 October 2016

From the Kingdom, a leader emerges who was born to be Keane

Published 14/03/2016 | 02:30

'This couldn’t have come at a worse time for a barman. I tell the President what with Cheltenham down on top of us and then Paddy’s Day, with Easter only a bare week after that, the cash register will be singing for the first time in months'
'This couldn’t have come at a worse time for a barman. I tell the President what with Cheltenham down on top of us and then Paddy’s Day, with Easter only a bare week after that, the cash register will be singing for the first time in months'

I was busy upstairs, over the pub, researching and digesting the complex minutiae of the struggle for supremacy between Ireland and England and in so doing, I would endeavour to reap a financial windfall from the results of my intimate knowledge of a subject I have kept under constant review for a good many years.

  • Go To

I realise this is a very long opening sentence for this column. With an unusually large number of long words.

When one is destined for high office, indeed the highest office, well then, one must write and speak accordingly. And one must call oneself one. Just as her majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second of England, our colleague, refers to her royal personage as "we".

When I finished trying to figure out whether Ireland or England would have the more winners at this week's Cheltenham meeting, I descended the stairs.

Note the use of the term 'descend', which is what deities usually do when they come down from on high.

The phone rang in the bar, as it has every right to do. The ringing was my call to high office but I didn't know that at the time. Before that ringing, I was but a humble barman, eking out a living in a small country town at the front of beyond.

It is the custom in the ancient kingdom of Tibet to pick a young boy as the Dalai Lama and so the chosen one is considered to be the successor in a line of tulkus who are believed to be incarnations of Avalokitesvara, the Bodhisattva of Compassion. Well that's what Wiki says. There's no way I could figure out all that by myself.

I am that boy. Well, not exactly a boy any more. Not since pterodactyls were as plentiful as crows. And I'm hardly going to take over the Tibetans' religion at this hour of my life.

I seriously consider not answering. Usually, when the phone rings, it's someone looking for me to do something for them, rather than the other way around, which would suit me a lot better.

I finally answer Ireland's persistent call.

"Is that you?" asks The President Poet, Michael D. There have been times when I wasn't quite sure who I was but this time I reply in the affirmative.

"I have a favour to ask?"

"Go on. Fire away."

The gravitas in the President's voice is laden with the most serious and pressing import.

"Billy, we are finding it impossible to form a government. I, in my role as Guardian of The Constitution, must ask you to become The King of Ireland."

This couldn't have come at a worse time for a barman. I tell the President what with Cheltenham down on top of us and then Paddy's Day, with Easter only a bare week after that, the cash register will be singing for the first time in months.

"Could ye not get anyone else?" I ask.

"That's just the thing," replies our esteemed President, "no luck whatsoever, and now Ireland is without a leader. We are in the middle of a constitutional crisis. So we had to go a head-hunting."

I ask: "Would that make me the boss of you?"

"My friend, you will be the boss of everyone. King Billy, you are the chosen one. Dan Browne, who wrote 'The Da Vinci Code', has discovered that you are a direct descendant of God himself."

I pause to reflect. The first thing is the King Billy bit will have to go. The title would go down very badly with many of my subjects in the North. I come up with Emperor Billy the First of The Irish.

The President caves in immediately. But what about The Left? I ask. "And the near Left, the middle Left and the far Left? And Fianna Fáil?"

"They're delighted with the prospect of a monarchy. If there is no leader of Ireland, they have no one to be giving out about."

"One has no policies made out," says I, fumbling for the school copy I keep for writing down plans for the bar, like pub quizzes and 'bring your own beer' nights.

"And I don't know what the fiscal space means, Mr President. And I'm not even the boss of my own house."

"I knew we had the right man," gushes President Higgins. "Knew it the minute your name came up. Sure, the writing you do makes no sense at all, which is perfect and exactly what the people need.

"The Irish need time to think things through and then, after a couple of years of your rule, they will come to their senses and elect a stable government with a proper majority.

"And don't worry one bit about policies. Sure, didn't the people vote for loads of TDs who made a virtue out of not having any policy of any kind or vague ones like The Rose of Tralee contestant who wants to save the world and be good to kids and end all wars?

"And as for fiscal space, sure 99pc of the TDs in the Dáil haven't a clue what it means."

I have a few deal-clinchers.

"Is it okay if the lads stay with me in Farmleigh when they come up for the All Ireland?"

"Not a bother."

"Can I burn the bondholders?"

"You can burn the GPO, if you like. You are the direct descendant of God and under the Doctrine of the Divine Right of Keanes, you can do as you will."

"And can I go and meet President Obama in The White House on St Patrick's Day?"

"Start plucking the shamrock."

Then the President goes on about how it's my sacred duty to take over my country in its hour of need.

"Go on, so," says I, "one must do one's duty."

Irish Independent

Read More