David McWilliams: We should go to back of class for economic sins
When I was in school, the class was fairly split between swots and messers. But the messers broke into two groups. The first were the hard-core messers -- these were the lads who the teachers told us "would come to no good". If they were caught smoking in the jacks and you had just managed to evade capture, these were the lads who would never rat on you.
On the other hand, the second type of messers were the most dangerous -- they were the blokes who wanted to curry favour with the teacher and would squeal on you at the first hint of trouble. They wanted to be treated as swots but weren't quite good enough, so when they stepped over the line and were snared, they always sided with the teacher and capitulated at the most modest disciplinary threats.
The Irish establishment reminds me of these guys who want to be with the 'goody goodies' at the top of the class but don't have the wherewithal. Worse still, these were the lads who capitulated at the smallest threat from the top, so they are the easiest to control because they don't have the natural self-confidence and ability of the clever lads, nor do they have the natural self-confidence and defiance of the real messers.