Ian O'Doherty: Where are your union dues going?
In times like these, we need to know that our elders and betters are doing everything in their power to try and improve the lot of us, the little people.
Which is why it really is so bloody depressing to look around at the supposed pillars of our society and see nothing other than an infuriating mishmash of mediocrity, corruption and perversion.
Even as an atheist, I can still feel genuine pity for Catholics who are watching as their church goes against its own teachings and effectively is in the process of slowly committing suicide with each successive outrageous remark from some buffoon blaming gays for paedophilia.
Indeed, the fact that Cardinal Bertone uttered such fatuous, demonstrably false rubbish while actually commenting on a case in which a Chilean predator priest had been raping young girls, rather than boys, seems to be beyond his comprehension.
Then, if there was even one poor, lost little naïve soul left in this country who still had any faith in Irish politicians then that state of deluded bliss will surely have been fatally compromised over the last few months as we look on and see a collective of people hamstrung by their own stupidity, self-interest and warped ideology.
And then. . . then we have the unions. Oh yes, the joys of Irish trade unions.
Planning on going on holiday anytime soon? Well, the CPSU has grounded more people than that bloody volcano cloud (although it did mean the missus is still stuck in London, so I get to spend an extra hour in the pub this evening. Just don't tell her, okay?) with their disgusting actions at the Passport office, which should have seen them all sacked rather than pandered to.
And then we have teachers' leader Bernard Lynch claiming that he couldn't possibly conduct parent-teacher meetings after regular school hours because it would be bad for his health, the delicate little flower.
So, the next time you have to take an afternoon of unpaid absence from your already precarious position to attend your PTA meeting, you can at least rest safe in the knowledge that poor, ickle Bernard Lynch won't be coming down with an attack of the vapours caused by having to spend an extra couple of hours in school.
Honestly, it's just as well they get more than three months' paid holidays, otherwise the streets would be thronged with unconscious and dead teachers, all keeled over the from the stress of their job.
And who would want that?
But at least the Irish Congress of Trade Unions has its finger on the pulse. Yup, the directorate of the 850,000-strong organisation really knows what is currently occupying the minds of its members.
And, as a result, they are hosting an interesting, ground-breaking conference today.
Will they be discussing the best ways to try and climb out of the hole we've dug ourselves into?
Will they be examining how to most effectively start to lower our unemployment figures and venture forth into the whole concept of job creating rather than job reduction?
Instead, they are holding a special conference in Dublin Castle on what they obviously see as a far more important issue than the mere financial survival of their members -- they're having a conference about boycotting Israel.
It is truly jaw-dropping to think that in the middle of the single most catastrophic depression in the entire history of this State, the leadership of this country's umbrella union organisation is wasting time and money on a racist campaign.
And, of course, it features the usual suspects including Omar Barghouti and Trocaire's Justin Kilcullen. Barghouti is a long time organiser in the boycott-Israel lobby, Trocaire have form when it comes to whipping up anti-Israeli propaganda -- remember that ad about Palestinian babies they were so humiliatingly forced to withdraw? But when it comes to Israel, you see, these people are obsessed.
I am quick to defend this wonderful country and its people, but I'm also just as willing to admit that strictly religious Orthodox Jews are, quite frankly, bonkers, and those settlers who believe that God wants them to be on the land pose as much a medium-term threat to the country's stability as Hamas does.
But those on the other side aren't prepared to be as flexible as that and so we see the usual humbug about Israel being an 'apartheid' state (a scurrilous and disgraceful calumny against the country) and how we should treat them the way we treated South Africa.
People can believe that Israel is the devil and all Israelis have horns and cloven hooves for all I care, but what's truly shameful is the astonishing lack of logic or consistency in their thinking and reasoning.
Has the irony of a trade union movement trying to boycott the one of the very few countries in the region with their own active trade union movement completely escaped them?
Does the fact that the Iranian regime has spent the last few years ruthlessly crushing their own trade union movement matter to them not a jot?
No, as far as the Left is concerned, any criticism of any non-white, and in particular, Muslim country, is seen as neo-imperialism and racism.
But that sensitivity doesn't extend to Israel.
So, as you're heading in to work today, just pause for a moment and contemplate what your union dues are being spent on -- they're not being spent on your best interests, they are, rather being spent on a cynical, foggy-headed, ideologically driven distraction from the real issues that affect us all.
A case of dues against Jews, if you will.