News Ian O'Doherty

Wednesday 17 September 2014

Well, a protest is a protest

Published 27/02/2013 | 06:00

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The Irish don't really do protests very well.

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We muster up a few people, walk from the Garden of Remembrance to the Dáil, all the while grumbling our variation of 'Down With This Sort Of Thing' before going home or going to the pub to celebrate our massive show of defiance against the Government.

Over in Europe they tend to take a slightly more proactive approach.

In France, they'll block all the ports with lorries and then throw dead sheep at anyone who complains.

In Greece, they go into the town's main square and completely wreck the gaff (I've never understood the mentality behind smashing up the area where you live).

Ah, but Italy?

As always, Italy is a special case.

Following on from the topless protests in Russia that landed those three mad birds in a gulag for the foreseeable, the trend has now spread to Italy where Silvio Berlusconi was tackled by three topless protestors as he went to cast his vote.

They were objecting to the way he treats his women and those 'Bunga Bunga' parties.

But I fear the girls may be missing the point – this is feckin' Berlusconi after all, so he was probably delighted to see three girls with bare boobs running towards him.

The law of unintended consequences

So, the war against smoking by James Reilly continues unabated.

Reilly, himself the picture of perfect physical conditioning (I have a way you could get the James Reilly body but I'm not even going to bother suggesting it to the lawyers) has decided that he needs a crusade and smoking is it.

Now I'm sure we'd all prefer he chose something a bit more pertinent, such as . . . um, hospitals maybe?

But this brave campaign against a legal product – well, for the moment, anyway – has produced one interesting stat: 25pc of all cigarettes sold in Ireland are now sold on the black market because they are so much cheaper than legitimate ones.

So, we've raised the price to extortionate levels at a time when people have no money; we're forcing people into the arms of illegal dealers and therefore funding criminality and, to finish the hat trick, that's a massive amount of tax revenue lost to the Exchequer.

Well done James.

You're doing a bang-up job.

What are you rebelling against?

I have never been into motorbikes.

That's largely down to the fact that I am a physical coward, although I prefer to say that I merely an extremely highly developed sense of self-preservation – I reckon it sounds a bit manlier, but it doesn't seem to fool anyone.

Also, as a kid I remember being brought to the Mater to visit one of my uncles (they were all petrol heads) who was lying on his front on a hospital bed, whimpering with pain, despite the painkillers, because he had come off his bike and basically shredded all the skin from his bum down the back of his legs.

As a disincentive it certainly scared me straight.

Having said that, I can see the appeal – the open road, the whiff of daring and machismo.

But does your average biker really care what others think of them?

The Oxford English Dictionary has always referred to bikers as "men with long hair . . . dirty denims . . . and are sometimes associated with gangs".

They're changing this because: "We have to be sensitive towards the feelings of the bikers who might be offended by the comparisons."

Yeah, because I'm sure Marlon Brando in The Wild One would be absolutely horrified if someone had the temerity to refer to him in such a derogatory manner.

I guess they'll have to change the name of The Hairy Bikers to The Hirsute Bikers, which doesn't really have quite the same ring to it.

Probably a prudent idea . . .

Auditions for reality shows are now more like open grief-counselling sessions than talent seeking.

And now that Mary Berry is taking her Bake Off programme to America, she has been assured by producers that contestants will not be allowed to bring guns into the auditions with them.

Hmmm – a tearful, evicted hopeful, full of anger and resentment and packing heat?

Sure what could go wrong?

Well, are you worried yet?

Scientists are concerned about private companies working on a new generation of "killer robots" that would take the place of human beings on the battle field.

They point out that robots have no conscience and could take over the world.

And this is A Very Bad Thing.

But I have two words for you – Kristanna Loken from Terminator 3.

Yup, I really am that shallow.

Honestly, there are times I disgust even myself.

Irish Independent

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