Ian O'Doherty

Wednesday 20 August 2014

Nanny Noone can take my 99 from my cold, sticky fingers

Published 16/06/2014 | 02:30

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Pester power: Maybe parents should just say ‘no’ when kids want ice cream Picture posed
Pester power: Maybe parents should just say ‘no’ when kids want ice cream Picture posed

There was a time when I was totally against the continued existence of the Seanad. But proving that those of us who voted to abolish this hospice for political losers were short-sighted fools who should have their polling cards forcibly removed, one of its inmates has been busy focusing our minds on 'aggressive selling' by ice cream vans.

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Senator Catherine Nobody, sorry, Noone, has been quick to warn a trembling nation that "mothers have enough to be doing than trying to control their kids from eating ice-cream all day when an ice-cream van rolls in. I was contacted by a member of the public who was finding it very difficult to keep saying 'no' to their child when other kids were getting ice-cream."

That's quite a shocking admission and one which doesn't really hold up. After all, mad people with a bee in their bonnet usually contact Liveline, not the Seanad. But, in fairness to Noone, she was quick to reassure us that she was "not anti ice-cream".

Now, when you have to issue a statement reassuring the public that you are not 'anti ice-cream', you should probably see that as a sign to give up and go home. But maybe she has a point?

In my ignorance, I'd always thought that the siren call of the local ice-cream van was one of the signs that the summer was finally here, but actually it is far, far more sinister than that, because "the persistent use of chimes in public streets and estates is a form of aggressive selling and it wouldn't be countenanced in other industries".

Very true. I suppose Mr Ice-Cream Man could use semaphore or sign language, but I doubt it would have the same impact. Of course, Noone has been conferred with a degree of celestial wisdom unavailable to the rest of us oiks, which is why she feels free to say things like: "The way certain foods are marketed, parents think they're really good for their kids. They're eating crisps and fizzy drinks."

This all goes into the current guff about the need to 'educate' parents about ensuring that their delightful off-spring enjoys a healthy and varied diet. So, with some ice-cream vans apparently coming into estates "four or five times a day", Nanny Noone thinks you need to be told that giving your child five 99s a day is a bad idea.

There's just one huge, gaping flaw in that argument – people don't need to be taught that giving their child so much ice-cream is a bad idea. That's not down to education, it's down to people making bad choices. So does she think the State should get involved to stop parents making bad choices? Because we've entered a whole different arena of sinister silliness if that's the case.

Any time a politician talks, even when it's only a Senator, you should always look to the constituency they are targeting. For example, it doesn't matter to the Healy-Raes if everyone outside Kerry is convinced they are some monstrous genetic experiment that went horribly wrong – they know it only takes their delightful rural brethren to vote them back in.

So who is Noone trying to attract?

Is she trying to appeal to the Stupid Parent constituency, the ones who will have read her comments and thought: "Jesus, I always thought ice-cream was a health food made out of super foods, statins and Goji berries, thank God that nice woman alerted me to the truth"?

It's more likely she is reaching out to the parents – some of whom have been vocal in their support – who object to pester power and who, in the great tradition of the Irish crank, demand that 'something should be done'.

Well here's a suggestion – learn how to say no to your kid.

After all, the chances are that your parents said 'no' to you when you were younger, so what makes your child such a precious little snowflake who must have their every whim catered for?

Worryingly, with the twin prongs of health fascists and weak-willed parents now rallying behind her, who knows where Senator Nobody's deranged quest for dominion over our treats will end?

Interestingly, she does concede that she's "seen as daft for even raising it".

You said it, luv.

 

WELL, AS LONG AS WE'RE BEING UNREASONABLE

Forget about 9/11, the assassination of Kennedy or whether man has ever landed on the moon. The greatest conspiracy theory of all time is surely Creationism, which holds that evolution is a myth and this planet is actually the work of some shadowy, mysterious force that nobody has ever seen and has no proof that it exists.

And just like the more regular 9/11 'truthers', Creationists truthers are prone to increasingly bonkers theories to prove their case.

The latest example of their heroic struggle against logic comes with author David Isaaks who asks: "If evolution is true, and it's all just about the male propagating their DNA, we had to ask hard questions, like, well, is rape wrong?"

Well, yes, of course it's wrong.

There, you see? It's really not that hard a question, after all.

In fact, it's just about the easiest question in the world.

A world which is only 6,000 years old, of course.

 

THAT DIDN'T TAKE LONG, DID IT?

Last Thursday's World Cup opener was a cracker but gave us the kind of hometown decisions that have already caused rancour among the understandably furious Croatians. Inevitably, given the fact that the ref was Japanese, we've seen the usual nonsense about how officials from smaller leagues just don't have the chops to cope with an occasion that big.

That seems fine until you remember the English Premier League's Graham Poll gave one player – Croatian, as it happens – three yellow cards in Germany '06 before finally deciding that he should probably send him off.

And let's not forget the English Premier League's Howard Webb's jaw-droppingly dismal performance in the final in South Africa.

So you see, it doesn't matter what country a referee comes from or how big their league is – ineptitude knows no borders.

There, I think I may even have come up with own new anti-racism slogan.

Irish Independent

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