Thursday 27 October 2016

They should ban brats from pubs, not dogs

Published 31/01/2016 | 02:30

Good old days: Mick Egan enjoys a pint with his dog, Dfor back in 2010.
Good old days: Mick Egan enjoys a pint with his dog, Dfor back in 2010.
The People's Front of Judea

Here's my idea of the perfect pub - a good sized bar so you can read your papers in peace. An ashtray, because I still believe people should be allowed to smoke in bars. No television, except when the news is on. And, in an ideal world, a place where you can bring your dog.

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The irony that you're more likely to find such an oasis of civilised tranquillity in France (hardly a country renowned for its pubs), as opposed to Ireland (a country which bases half its tourism on the quality of our pubs), would be lost on those poseurs who called for Ireland to adopt a more European 'cafe culture'.

But then, all of the finger wagging about Irish pubs tends to come from the kind of snob who thinks that old-fashioned boozers are something to be treated with scorn and derision. In other words, they view pubs with the same contempt they view the patrons - people who can't be trusted to be left alone.

The latest example of this sniffy, elitist nonsense comes with the HSE's newest wizard wheeze - going after the dog friendly MVP in Dublin 8.

Located beside Harold's Cross bridge, the MVP has become a popular haunt with dog owners in the area and one friend of mine likes to walks his mutt, Walter, along the canal before popping in for a quiet pint as Walter enjoys a bowl of water.

But terrified that somebody, somewhere might be relaxing without the cold, dead hand of State bureaucracy choking them, the HSE admitted that: "Environmental health officer in the Dublin 8 area may have enforced the code."

So now one of the little joys in life has been taken away from some feeble jobsworth with a clipboard.

Let's leave aside the fact that the HSE is a mindless, inefficient, incompetent behemoth that exists only to serve itself. Leave aside the fact that management at the HSE have conspired to create the most inefficient health service in Europe.

Let's even leave aside the fact I have debated several people who work for the HSE and I'm invariably struck by their utter stupidity - if these people had to survive in the real world, they'd be dead in a week.

No, let's concentrate on the fact that there is someone stalking the streets of Dublin with the power to stop pubs providing a service to customers.

Even their line of argument is self-servingly bogus - dogs are banned on spurious health and safety grounds unless they're a guide dog, a service dog or a 'companion' dog.

Aren't all dogs companions?

Do the mysterious germs that dogs supposedly carry instantly disappear because the animal is a guide dog, as opposed to a mere pet?

Of course not. In fact, I would have said that even a fool could see the obvious logical flaw in their argument - but in this instance the fools evidently can't.

This is all part of the great social experiment to turn us into good, clean, dull citizens; a compliant bunch of proles who will listen to the unelected, health fascist nutters who seem to prosper in this increasingly regulated, joyless country.

The smoking ban was always only the first salvo in a war on choice. Once they got that inch, they were always going to go for the extra mile. That's why they want to eradicate the traditional, blue collar bar and replace them with the kind of child-friendly, organically sustainable, ethically aware, Fairtrade madhouse that would only ever be popular with the kind of people who think the Irish Times is an enjoyable read.

But ultimately they want to remove our capacity to make our own decisions because they don't trust us to make the kind of decisions they would like.

There is one pub in my locality that specifically caters for kids. That's great and they do a roaring trade. I just go somewhere else - no fuss, no drama.

But without fuss and drama, these inadequates would have no job. And we can't have that, can we?

Here's a thought for the HSE - sort out the beds crisis and then we can talk about dogs, okay?

Why are liberals so po-faced?

When I was younger, conservatives banned things and liberals believed in free expression.

That's why I, and everyone else I knew, grew up as liberals and enjoyed mocking the likes of Mary Whitehouse, the moral majority and the PMRC, who insisted that any album which contained a naughty word had to have a warning sticker on it - which at least had the unintended consequence of making some really bad records seem more appealing than they actually were.

Conservatives were stuffy, uptight and prudish. Liberals had better music, better movies and were able to take a joke.

At some point, the dynamic shifted and liberals became the kind of whiny, authoritarian cretins they used to mock.

Identity politics brings out the bully in everyone and now High Priest of New Atheism, Richard Dawkins, has felt the belt of the secular crozier. Dawkins retweeted a parody song called 'Feminists Love Islamists' and now, proving that irony is dead, he has been the victim of a campaign by... Islamists and feminists who are enjoying an orgy of indignation at his retweet.

He has even been 'no-platformed' from a speech he was due to give to an American sceptics group this weekend.

The NECSS (Northeast Conference on Science and Skepticism) say: "We believe strongly in freedom of speech and freedom to express unpopular, and even offensive, views. However, unnecessarily divisive, counterproductive, and even hateful speech runs contrary to our mission."

So, in other words, they don't believe in free speech at all, then.



What's in a name?

For instance, the People's Front of Judea should never be confused with the Judean People's Front and I had my own encounter with the Irish version of the Judean People's Front (or was it the People's Front of Judea) earlier this week - and what a thoroughly enjoyable encounter it was.

In this instance it was with some Irish animal rights people who were enraged - enraged I tells ya! - when I somehow managed to conflate two entirely separate and not-at-all-easily-confused groups.

I mentioned the stunt from a while ago when some animal rights types stole lobsters from a Dublin restaurant to 'free' them and I erroneously gave credit to a group called ARAN (the Animal Rights Action Network) when, of course, it was actually NARA (the National Animal Rights Association) wot done it.

Cue the usual outrage from one of the groups (I'm still confused about which one, to be honest) but I'm more than happy to admit my error and clarify that it was NARA, rather than ARAN, who freed the beasts.

To paraphrase a famous old English tabloid apology - I'm sorry for any confusion, which must have been hugely embarrassing for both of them.

I guess I just don't know my ARAN from NARA.

Mmmm, lobster...

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