Kevin Myers: For the love of God, and his blessed disciple St Patrick, displace me from this wretched isle
Mbwana minister! All hail from the Emerald Isle, on this, its patron saint's feast day! It is my 10th year here! Any chance of granting me the posting that I sought after my very first week?
To somewhere civilised, like North Korea, or Burma, or dear old Liberia? I liked Liberia. Yes, they sometimes kill children there, but that is in war: the highest men in the land raped children at a time of peace in this country, and got away with it. Big men, Mbwana. Important men, with purple hats, and their crimes were covered up by other men with purple hats.
The health ministry here is pioneering new long thin hospital wards called "corridors". There is no money for the patients, because it is all being spent on the staff. Thousands of people are X-rayed here, and then no one bothers to read the X-rays, ho ho ho. In a county called Kerry, they are building a new hospital in K'nmare, to keep a politician called Jackie Healy-Rae happy. There are no words in English to describe him. In our mother tongue, he is what we would call a g'bdaw. Who will run the hospital? The patients probably. For I should tell, you, Mbwana, that Irish politicians think that forward planning only happens in a rugby scrum.
Young people here apparently admire the Health Minister, because they clearly model their physical appearance on hers. She now resembles the sister of Comrade Nkomo, after several months on the hippopotamus diet. Having her as Health Minister is like having a pacifist as minister for defence. She has taken her very large feet to New Zealand for a few weeks. This also is somewhat strange: rather like a minister for defence going on holiday during an invasion.
New Zealand, I should also tell you, is where Ireland gets most of its national plant, an indigenous clover called shamrock. No, Mbwana, I do not know why the Irish cannot grow their own shamrock -- but as I have told you repeatedly, I understand nothing about this country. So why not post me elsewhere, oh beloved Mbwana, Minister? The pulchritudinous Pitcairns beckon! Or perhaps the enchanting Faroes, with dead whales in every inlet, and a population racked with scurvy, rickets and six-month winters! Delightful, compared with here.
Meanwhile, Europe is emerging from the recession, as Ireland settles deeper into it. Civil servants are effectively on strike. Senior public officials -- like politicians -- have recently seen their relative incomes actually go up. And colleagues who are complicit in, or have ignored, corruption, are not given the dear old Winnie, namely a necklace of a burning car tyre filled with petrol.
No. They are given tax-free lump sums and allowed to take early retirement on full pensions. Mbwana: the country is borrowing €500m a week to pay public salaries. My economics is not good -- BComm (Pass), University of Mjubu, 1981 (burnt down, 1982) -- but even I understand that this is voodoo.
However, I beg to report good news, Mbwana! The primitive savages of the old IRA are out of business. This is not to be mistaken for the old IRA, or the old old IRA, or possibly even the old old old IRA. (Forgive me: sometimes one loses track). On the other hand, there are now two new IRAs, both bombing and shooting, just like of old.
You know how the white man laughed at Comrade Nkrumah for building a motorway to nowhere? Well, it was a short motorway. In Ireland, the Government has built many hundreds of miles of motorway without service stations, toilets or rest areas. The new 300km road from Galway to the Border with Newry has not a single petrol pump, until you get to south Armagh, which certainly has petrol stations, Mbwana, and lots of them. But you'll never guess who owns them!
The Irish people are curiously conceited. They think we need them to build our houses. I do not like to tell them we have millions of unemployed, who should be doing the building themselves.
For building houses is, it seems, what the Irish like to do, instead of thinking. They have actually built 350,000 more houses in Ireland than they need. I presume it is what we called in the University of K'mginga (BPsych, 1985, burnt down, 1987), displacement activity.
Mbwana, O Mbwana: I am rather fond of displacement activity! Any chance of displacing me? I am a fervent believer in Christianity and in nudism: I could practice both in Afghanistan. Or I could open the first Naked Baptist Mission in the Sunni Triangle, in lovely, lovely Iraq.
Please, Mbwana, Minister: displace me -- oh for the love of mGod, and his blessed disciple, Saint mPatrick, please, displace me from this wretched isle!