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'Chaps' culture serves us poorly

IN the 'Conflict of Evidence' episode of Yes, Prime Minister a fool called Sir Desmond Glazebrook is chosen as the new governor of the Bank of England so as to facilitate the bailout by the British taxpayer of a bust English bank.

The essence of the Glazebrook philosophy, which in spite, or rather because, of his stupidity makes him so suitable for the post, is that in the world of high finance "decent chaps don't check up on decent chaps". Instead, in this happy world "if you are honest then when you make a pig's breakfast of things the chaps rally around and help you out" while if you are crooked "well, if you're making good profits. . . chaps don't ask questions. They're not that stupid."

No one can deny the 'chaps' have certainly had a good run of it in our failed political entity. Last week it was palpably clear that if you behave like a 'decent chap', the Revenue is, in a land where only the poor and the middle classes pay tax, equally anxious to avoid American-style vulgarities such as the courts.

The spectacle where Irish corporate law on fraud is organised, almost to the letter, on principles outlined in a 1980s British satirical comedy of exaggeration may have left few, and particularly the taxpayers, laughing. Intriguingly this now includes a Government that is finding out the Glazebrook rules do not apply quite so easily to the more intimidating regime of international politics. Were Europe run by the Glazebrook ethos of 'decent chaps', Mr Kenny may have expected applause when he phoned, waving a piece of paper bearing the Irish referendum results. Instead the response Mr Kenny appears to have received is that of one hand clapping as Angela's "appreciation" turned to ashes in the length of a single phone call.

The spectacle where the Mighty Mouse of Leinster House turns into Mini-Mouse in Europe has occasioned some displays of injured 'amour propre' over how much better the larger children such as Spain are being treated. Outside, however, of noting that Germany is entitled to ask why its historic destiny should include playing the role of footstool to this incontinent State we suggest that should Mr Kenny wish to secure the respect of foreign powers he should apply himself first to eradicating the Glazebrook philosophy from Irish society. In doing so he may discover foreign states only respect states that respect themselves.

Sunday Independent