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Sinead and Russell give a masterclass in politics for the bewildered

In a week when the scourge of the Twelve Pubs of Christmas mobs became ever more pronounced - and fair play to several establishments in the city for having nothing to do with this carry-on catering for amateur, messy drinkers - there were still enough items across the news to provide genuine entertainment and amusement.

First off we had the ongoing circus that passes for the mind of Sinead O'Connor offering another clown masterclass as she announced her intention to join Sinn Fein.

Now, given that Sinead's grasp of the English language in her blog isn't what you'd expect from someone who intends to write an autobiography all on her ownio (can't wait for that one), it wasn't quite clear if she was actually going to become a member of the party or merely going to vote for them at the next election.

Having admitted that she'd never voted in her life before (really, that's a surprise) she immediately called on all its TDs born before the mid-80s to resign, which would be, er, all of them.

Propaganda

Good woman Sinead, that's the kind of radical political thinking this country needs and, in fairness to the Shinners (not a phrase I use too often), they do have some fairly sharp operators in their propaganda department who responded to the news with the kind of benign reaction you'd give to an annoying and not particularly bright teenager who knows how to sort out the world.

And staying with irritants with absolutely no knowledge of politics we had that gobshite Russell Brand urging the Irish people to 'bunk off' work on Wednesday to join the protest against the water charges.

As Brand is also someone who's never voted in his life - why are we indulging these people? - he naturally felt obliged to tell us how to behave and even attempted an atrocious Irish accent on his web broadcast while 'awareness campaigner' Brendan Ogle sat and smiled benignly.

Naturally, while most of those on the march were genuine, such gatherings act as a magnet for the loonier wing of the Republican movement, many of whom ended the day by illegally occupying O'Connell Bridge until almost 8pm, thus disrupting the efforts of workers to get home after their day's labours. Quite why the Gardai didn't just beat them off the bridge with batons is beyond me.

On a lighter note, we had an appeal from a Plaid Cymru for Welsh rugby fans not to sing the Tom Jones classic Delilah before matches as some of its lyrics encourage violence against women. Ah, come on. Has their ever been a case of someone murdering someone because of a song (mind you, Glen Hansard's efforts at Wednesdays march could have done for some) or hearing of a brutal murder and thinking 'Well, I like Delilah so that's probably okay'?

Normal

Does liking The Dubliners singing about the old woman who lived in the woods mean that you're in favour of infanticide or reckoning that the killing of a man 'just to watch him die' is perfectly normal behaviour just because you're a fan of Johnny Cash's Folsom Prison Blues?

In fact, remove vicious murders from songs and that'd pretty much be the end of folk music around the world. These are made-up stories, not guides to social behaviour for God's sake.

And finally, a group of German scientists discovered that bonobo apes, the primates whose behaviour most closely mirrors that of humans, are less stressed when the males of the group congregate rather than hang out with their partners or relations.

I'm not too sure if the bonobos have quite evolved to the level that they have the ape equivalent of following a football team but, even so, it's good to know that people with white coats and lots of letters after their names recognise that occasionally getting together with your mates can, indeed, be good for the soul. Who'd have thought?


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