As Time goes By - October 1981

  • 1 October 1981
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The kind of guy Lazy Pete Maguire is - when he says jump! most people in the vicinity put some air between their feet and the ground; When Pete is angry he uses his voice the way some people use short lengths of lead pipe - persuasively. It's easy to underestimate Lazy Pete. Shading fiveesix in his cowboy boots and with a hairline like the tide going out, he looks like he was born tobe someone's caddy, toting another man's bag. Mr Mild. And most times he's got a first communion smile and manners to match. A regular pussycat.

But when certain subjects come up it's like watching milk boil over in a saucepan.

"Things are getting out of hand", he blazed, "and it's time something was done about it!"

"Now you're talking", said Studs O'Mahoney , "No more Mister Nice Guy".

It's like this. Over three months had gone by since the general election when we gathered last month in the lounge of The Oasis to review the political situation. It's true that the combined forces of Lazy Pete's Abstentionist Party tAP) and my own Spoiled Vote Movement (SVM) had convinced a total of 24.7% of the electorate to respond to the charade by staying in bed on polling day (AP supporters) or by scrawling something nasty on the ballot paper (SVM supporters).

And what has been the effect of this massive demonstration of lack of confidence in the gorn been political process, with its funny hats, patronage and downright lies ... ?

"Zilch!", said Lazy Pete. "Zerooville. And suppose we redouble our efforts and at the next election more than half the electorate boycotts the political moochers what will happen? They'll still go ahead and form a cabinet, hand each other State Cars and raise prices. Shame is a stranger to these people. It's time", said Lazy Pete, with the confident air of a new Secretary of State arriving in Belfast, "to launch a new political initiative" .

One motivation for the decision to take a more active role in the affairs of state was the realisation that the Ceann Comhairle, John O'Connell, and the leader of the Labour Party, Michael O'Leary, are hucksters.

Let me hasten to add that this desscription is not ours - it is that of Michael D. Higgins, chairperson of the Labour Party, Hucksters, he called them. There are circles in this town where a crack like that would lead to some early rising pedestrian hearing moans from an alley and stumbling across a small, wet bundle of nerve ends answering to the name Michael D.

But the two lads merely widened their smiles and wriggled their bums into more comfortable positions as they rode on down the political highhway in their Meres.

Funny how name-ealling has suddenly become respectable.. among-r]: our betters. It's as trendy as jogging. Take John Kelly (someone, please but use a long pole with a hook on it, and wear a vinegar-soaked hankie over your mouth and nostrils). Fine Gael's Minister For Putting His Foot In His Mouth likes to prance on a verbal highhwire. While the average TD's excursion

As I see it we got a watertight libel case here" into humourous invective rarely goes beyond variations on' the traditional howl of "Ya hoar y a!", Kelly fancies himself as a' sophisticated wit. It was while pursuing a convoluted metaphor of the kind which sophisticated wits like to construct that Kelly revealed himself as a redneck bigot of Princess Margaret proportions. "Piglets", he said, describing those members of the public unhappy with his government's economic policies.

Me, I don't get upset when people call me names like that. I simply categorise such people with cornerrboys of the type who pick their noses with matchsticks.

Lazy Pete takes a more serious view. He says that government Ministers who even subconsciously think of the citizens as animals are dangerous and have few inhibitions when introducing strenuous and nasty social and economic measures to deal with the animals.

Studs O'Mahoney reminded us of her days in the cinema business, where an actor who posed and postured in Kelly's manner would be referred to as a "ham". Studs has decided that in Kelly's case she is justified in proomoting him to the status of fullyyfledged pig. Harsh, perhaps. But, as we always say, if you can't stand the bitchin' get out of the heat.

On the _ other hand, Fingers Kavanagh has been unusually stoical in the face of Kelly's behaviour. This is ominous, since Fingers has oft stated his belief that come the revolution there will be quite a number of unforrtunate acsidents. Stray bullets, that kind of "thing. In fact, Fingers has a list. When the subject of Kelly's piglets came up Fingers merely patted his breast pocket and winked.

Studs O'Mahoney looked into her outrageously priced glass of vodka, rattled the ice and murmured, "Someone should point out to Kelly that to day's pig is tomorrow's bacon".

Allin all, you will agree, things are in a mess. On the one hand you've got hucksters and cornerboys. Mixed in with these are the rest of the Mercedes Coalition, who have decided that the way to balance the books is to raise prices and hold down wages. Might do wonders for their books but it plays hell with mine.

Look to the left and you see Michael D and Jim Kernmy strolling into the "yes" lobby when it's time to vote the price .rises. And Noel Browne and Joe Sherlock won't vote against. They yap about the awful capitalist government but when the vote comes they have trouble putting their feet where their mouths are.

It's true that the Fianna Failers don't usually call us names. They're too busy calling each other names. But the revelations about Charlie's mansion, with walls covered with paintings and photographs of the great man, confirm the long held feeling that there's something very, very odd about that chap. If we wait for the cavalry to come to the rescue from that quarter we'll all be wellscalped.

So, we decided that it is well time for the appearance of a new political grouping. The Spontaneous Aggraavationist Party (SAP). This amalgaamation of the AP and SVM will not, of course, be seeking election to the Kildare St. doss house, although last time we received 14.6% more support than did the Labour Party. Our job will be to organise opposition in the real world. Wherever the long troddennon piglets fight' back - with strikes, boycotts, marches and rotten eggs Xthere you will see the handiwork of SAP.

Lazy Pete went a bit Churchillian towards the end of the discussion. "Let the word go forth", he thundered. We will fight them in the factories, we will fight them in the offices, we will.,;"

Then it dawned on him that that kind of stuff is okay for politicians but real people don't need spoof . "Anyway", he said, sitting down, "you get my drift".

The SAP is rising.