North could learn a lesson from my traffic problem
* The ongoing intransigence in Northern Ireland, over parades, flags, etc., reminds me of an incident I was involved in some years ago. I was driving a JCB in Finchley, London. Vehicles were parked on each side of the road, and there was only space for my vehicle to pass between them. In the distance, I saw a bus coming.
The bus had various places where it could have pulled in, so that we could have continued our journey. Instead, the bus kept coming until it stopped about six inches from the front bucket of the JCB. I got out to remonstrate with the driver and was slightly surprised to find that it was a woman and so I kept quiet.
She said: "Move your machine out of the way." I now see that the bus is full of people, and I tell her that she is driving dangerously, should not be in control of a bus, and for her to summon someone from her depot to come and take control of the bus. She shouts at me: "I'll soon have you moved." I get back into my machine and wait. An hour or more passes.
The police come. I refuse to move. A bus inspector comes. Still neither of us will move. More police. I hear on the radio a message to drivers to avoid the Finchley area, because of traffic gridlock. Three hours passed.
All the vehicles that were parked on each side of the road are long gone. All the passengers that were on the bus have departed. All that is left now is the two dinosaurs in the middle of the road, with nothing really to stop them going on about their business. After four hours, a policeman comes up in his little Panda Car. He comes to me and says: "Look, we all know that she is in the wrong, but I am asking you, could you please reverse away from the bus, so that we can all go home and have our dinner."
I said: "Seeing that you are the only one who actually had the manners to ask me move, of course I'll move." Is there some lesson in that for the dinosaur in Northern Ireland?
A great leap backwards
* I for one will not be celebrating 1916. The only good revolution is from a closed society to an open society. We went from an open creative scientific society, a fruit of the enlightenment to a closed society. Irish Nationalism was a mutation of race and religion; the tyranny of unscientific rhetoric, requiring compulsory conformity. Expulsion if you disagree, and if you remain, a vow of silence and keep your head under the barricade.
Patrick Pearse should be subject to critical reasoning and stronger censure. He said: "Irish hate of the English is a holy passion", even though his own father was an Englishman. In 1914 the war put us in a hi-tech race and it was not what you knew, but what you invented and patented that kept you employed. In Limerick we were doing well with making millions of army uniforms on unique sewing machines.
We had innovated condensed milk and were selling millions of products per day. Ham and corned beef were selling by the boatload every day.
The year 1916 was 200 years after the beginning of the era of enlightenment in the UK which prompted millions of people to push out the frontiers of knowledge and not the frontiers of their territories. The Industrial Revolution was the result as well as medical breakthroughs which cured small pox, rabies, tuberculosis and polio.
We are interdependent in a global village and the policy of isolation and self-sufficiency adopted by Sinn Fein is based on ignorance. We have gone from an Empire to an economic quagmire. The big oppressors are ignorance and fundamentalist religion, and Pearse's education allowed both to flourish, bringing a diminishing of human rights, especially for women.
OUT OF THIS WORLD
* "I will crawl, swim or fly..."
I have a solution: forget about playing Croke Park. Instead Garth Brooks's World Tour should involve taking a NASA rocket into outer space and playing as many televised gigs out there as he wants. That way everybody will be happy.
And if there are any aliens out there we'll know soon enough because they'll be complaining to Dublin City Council.
RATHFARNHAM, DUBLIN 16
THE MIND BOGGLES
* So the city fathers convened to sort out Garth (by the way, why do they call him Garrett?) and came up with the earth-shattering decision that two matinees would solve the problem.
They might as well have proposed moving the lot to Ringsend Park.
Isn't it a good thing that we never had to solve some real problems – like the banks.
The mind boggles.
SCREEN, CO WEXFORD
* What is it in the mindsets of both our captain and his first mate that leads them to think that by shuffling the deckchairs on the SS Ireland from the foredeck to the poop deck, that they are going to avoid any or all of the following:
the Shores of Need,
and the Reefs of Greed?
BALLINA, CO MAYO
* I have just watched Ciaran Cuffe on 'Prime Time' saying that "the last thing we want is to give in to the whim of public opinion". Has he forgotten that the people are sovereign?
Obviously he has, even though he is a public representative, he doesn't care about, not only the 400,000 ticketholders, but all the small businesses affected by the decision not to allow the five concerts to go ahead.
Surely we are now a banana republic when the Taoiseach, the elected leader of our country is powerless to overturn a decision made by a man who is elected by nobody.
When will we see the Dublin city manager on TV being held accountable for his decision?
ADDRESS WITH EDITOR
ON YOUR BIKE
* Perhaps the solution to the Brooks concert is Compromise Rules.
For example, the Dublin city manager could ride his bike around Croke Park with Garth in the middle with his guitar. Then if Garth was able to knock the manager off his bike with his guitar he could have five concerts. If he failed then he should go home and forget the whole thing.
PATRICKSWELL, CO LIMERICK
POWERS THAT BE
* Garth Brooks's heart is breaking, he says – because he could not bear to see 160,000 hearts broken through the denial of licences for two of his five concerts. He thinks it best to pull the plug on the other three concerts for which permission was granted. All or nothing he says, even if this decision breaks the hearts of the 240,000 he could have performed to.
Mr Brooks, my heart also breaks when I see our Government, local authority officials and residents being dictated to by a country and western singer who demands everything on his terms only. In this life we need compromise and in giving you three dates, the 'powers that be' have been more than conciliatory to you.
DROGHEDA, CO LOUTH