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O'Doherty: I swear... nanny state would lead you to drink


Sign of the times: An anti-swearing sign in the United States - now Waterford wants to follow suit

Sign of the times: An anti-swearing sign in the United States - now Waterford wants to follow suit

Sign of the times: An anti-swearing sign in the United States - now Waterford wants to follow suit

We might be emerging from the recession, but that doesn't change the fact that most people still count themselves lucky if they manage to get to the end of the month with any money left in their account.

We're broke and we know it, and while things may be showing some signs of improvement on a macro front, the micro, as ever, is still pretty bleak.

So what do we need, if not more stupid rules and by-laws to remind us that we still have a dangerous, meddling, intrusive class of people who simply love telling the rest of us what to do, what to say, what to think and what to drink?

The idea that we should take moral instruction from politicians is a true Irish joke, but despite the well deserved contempt which many of us hold for politicians, the likes of Fine Gael's Jerry Buttimer seem to suffer from the deranged notion they have the right to impose their batty ideas on the rest of us.

Buttimer, in his illustrious role as head of the Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children, has decided we have a national drink problem and, with equally tedious certitude, has decided he is the man to whip us all into good, responsible shape.

His ridiculous ideas include a minimum price of a tenner for a bottle of wine, but wait! He's not a killjoy. And how do we know that? Well, because he says so.

According to the Cork TD: "We are not trying to be killjoys... we are trying to target the people most in risk."

And who does he mean by that? He means you. He means me. He means every single consumer who faces a Buttimer-led price hike.

This is a classic case of nanny knows best, but of course, nanny never knows best because nanny is usually a bloody moron. There is a very simple rule of thumb and it's one which should be employed more often in this country - when someone, particularly a politician, starts to tell you what to do, you have an obligation to defy them. Otherwise, you're just encouraging the buggers to interfere in even more aspects of your private life.

Contrary to what some of the half wits and social inadequates who pass for politicians in this country seem to believe, whatever we do, as long as we're not annoying anyone else, is none of their business.

Similarly, a new set of by-laws in public parks in Waterford seems to have come straight from the playbook of the Singapore city council, such is the severity of their rules - no smoking, no vaping, no picking flowers (?), no skateboarding, no barbecues and no swearing or loud voices.

So what, exactly, are people allowed to do? Stand mutely and stare longingly at those flowers they're no longer allowed to pick?

This worrying descent into nannyism is something which seems to more infectious than Ebola.

How else can you explain the wizard idea of one Galway councillor, Peter Keane, who actually wants to deputise lifeguards on our beaches?

Yes, mixing Baywatch with Craggy Island, this political colossus boasted earlier this week that: "I've sought to increase the powers of gardai and agents appointed by Galway City Council - even lifeguards on beaches - to include powers to seize alcohol and to destroy it."

What could possibly go right? Of course, the idea of a bunch of lifeguards in orange Speedos trying to grapple cans of Dutch Gold from beach goers is an undeniably appealing one. But there are already laws to prevent anti-social behaviour and if they were enforced there would be no need for more meddling from our lessers.

Remember - if nanny is agin it, then it must be good.

Indo Review