Good morning, and as the election campaign starts what seems like its third year, welcome to the only guaranteed politician-free, candidateless part of this newspaper.
Please leave your political baggage with the attendant at the door. You are free to browse around these paragraphs, to toy with my adverbs and fondle my adjectives to your heart's content. Moreover, you are under no obligation to buy any of my locative pronouns, no matter how much you caress them. If you see a subordinate clause of which you are particularly fond, you may lick it at no extra cost, provided you are over 17, the age of consent nominated by our ridiculous political class.
But the moment you raise any political questions, my two faithful attendants -- Boris, from Chechnya, where he is wanted on a baseless charge of cannibalism, and Adesina, who faces wholly unwarranted allegations regarding chainsaws and human heads in Nigeria -- will turn you into an organ-transplant display-cabinet.
I loathe our political class. Not just now, but always. You can say, perhaps rightly, that the political classes of Bosnia-Herzegovina and Bulgaria are no better. I have two replies to that: (A) The political classes of Bosnia-Herzegovina and Bulgaria are not standing in this election; and (B) even if they were, they didn't reduce us to the economic condition of Bohemia at the end of the Thirty Years' War. Not one of the political parties, not one, told us of what the banks were up to, and not one, NOT ONE, has called for a criminal investigation of the senior civil servants 'regulating' the banks.
Why? Because senior civil servants are within the Holy Stockade of Irish Political Life. This is the extraordinary sanctuary where certain ideas and institutions achieve Divine Status, protecting them from discussion, dissection or dismissal. The Irish language has been there since the foundation of the State, though almost no one speaks it, and almost everyone lies about it, dutifully telling opinion pollsters that they use it every day. And on this subject, our political class (spit!) faithfully reflects the congenital dishonesty of Irish life, by which the great consensual falsehood becomes an Agreed Truth. We've spent billions on the language; every school-child spends a thousand hours learning it, so QED, we are a nation of Irish speakers; even though we all know we're not, and would be far better off learning Mandarin, German or Portuguese.
Now, there's not much you can do with a people who lie to themselves on so many issues, and who think that punctuality is about where you put your commas and colons.
Our political class proclaims our neutrality, and then depends on outsiders to defend our skies and rescue our drowning sailors. It condemns nuclear energy but then buys it from the UK. It permits medical patients to have abortions, but outlaws the necessary procedures within its own jurisdiction. And so on.
My particular grievance with our political class this morning is the presence within the Holy Stockade of Metro North. I don't fully know how it got there. Perhaps -- like the Irish language, anti-nuclear posing and neutrality -- it has become a defining piety. It certainly ticks the right sanctimony boxes.
Rail is now the technological dogma for the green classes. Their wet dream is probably a tram from College Green to Los Angeles, regardless of journey time, cost or inconvenience. Tram for eco-warriors is like a papal visit once was for the Catholic Church: it must proceed, regardless of expense or practicality -- and if the tram goes needlessly underground, better still! It shows how much we care!
Even as the Greens are about to become extinct as a party, their pious toxins live on. Metro North is the single big-spend item remaining in Irish life, even as we're exporting boy sweeps to clean Indian chimneys, and Irish schoolgirls are now replacing canaries in North Korean coalmines (because they're cheaper).
Metro North presumably makes politicians feel decisive and virtuous, and is justified by some kind of pidgin-Keynesianism -- that it will kick-start the economy. By that logic, so too would a footbridge to Manhattan.
In a few words. We don't need an underground railway from St Stephen's Green to Dublin Airport. Buses will do. Metro North will not be managed by the Chinese, but by Ireland Inc, in whose care the cost of Dublin Port Tunnel went from €220m to €789m, the M50 widening from €190m to €560m, and building the Luas from €290m to €750m. So the €5bn Metro North will actually cost €15bn -- all of which we'll have to borrow, making it around €30bn.
It will involve the destruction of St Stephen's Green, with the effective closure of commercial activity in the area for some two years, and will cause 180,000 heavy lorry movements a year into Dublin city centre.
YET IT IS STILL NOT AN ELECTORAL ISSUE. Which is why Sam the Serb here will blow the brains out of any ****ing election candidate who comes anywhere near this column.