When the government starts slashing welfare payments and they say it’s because maintaining market credibility is simply comme il faut, there will be even more talk about how Ireland’s welfare payments are more generous than other countries, with maybe even a hearty nod and wink to the Sunday Independent’s campaign of lamenting the fate of millionaire speculators whilst simultaneously shouting Stop Thief! and pointing at the nasty immigrants.
I saw someone argue a wee while back, somewhat chastened after erroneously claiming -after regurgitating Department of Finance briefings- that Ireland’s welfare payments were the most generous in the EU that it is wrong to compare Ireland’s system of welfare payments to that of other countries, because it is… oh fuck it. Get this.
I bought myself a big packet of Crunchy Nut Cornflakes in the supermarket the other day. There is no Organic Weetabix in Spain, and ordinary Weetabix combined with UHT milk tastes like shite. I figured a packed of Crunchy Nut Cornflakes would be sufficiently nutty and sweet delicious to suspend my knowledge of the fact that I am shovelling UHT milk into myself.
So I had my first bowl, and it was delicious.
But I didn’t close the box properly, and several hundred battallions of bastard ants made their way in from the patio, climbed the sideboard and the wall, and into the box of Crunchy Nut Cornflakes, which I then had to throw out, crestfallen and resigned to the fact that it would be back to cardboard Weetabix and shite milk this morning (don’t get me wrong, I’m not completely milk-ist: I think UHT is totally fine for milky coffee).
Now it seems to me that Ireland may be deficient in many things. It may have a collapsing economy, a culture of exalting mediocrity and unquestioning genuflection to technocratic crackpot realists and corporate bullies. Its hospitals may be dilapidated, its GPs may rip you off every time you get sick, its beaches may be filthy and its weather appalling.
But at least you don’t get ants crawling into your fucking Crunchy Nut Cornflakes.