Can any teacher, or other public servant for that matter, actually come up with a better argument than this excellent analysis from Kevin Myers, published in today’s Irish Independent? I can’t open the papers without getting riled these days. Yes, I think the government is deplorable, and could not be more irate with people who voted Fianna Fail at the last election, either because they weren’t old enough to think for (or, by extension, feed) themselves, or for “I’m all right, Jack” self-interest – well, like all of Thatcher’s loyal voters who fell on hard times during the early ’90s recession in the UK, ‘ha ha ha’, if you’re reaping what you sowed.
But what really, really irritates me right now is how every so-called ‘profession’ you care to mention in Ireland (teachers, taxi drivers, bus drivers, farmers, fisherman, blah-de-blah) think that they are some kind of special case. Open any newspaper and there they all are, protesting to anyone who’ll bother to read their placards (some of them are even spelled correctly and devoid of “irony”), imploring us to see that, without them maintaining their particular standards of living, at the expense of the rest of us poor sods, society will inevitably collapse. The country owes them a living, you see. You do see that, don’t you? Yes, even the taxi drivers.
It takes me back to my school days in the 1980s, when one of the most notoriously left-wing teachers explained to me why his union, the Educational Institute of Scotland, was taking industrial action, which, at the time included an overtime ban, something that effectively killed school sporting activities and led to a generation of shit Scottish footballers (but which, as a result, also gave us a generation of great snooker players). He stated that, in his leftist opinion, it was disgraceful that “a street cleaner” was earning the same amount as some teachers. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I asked him, isn’t that what socialism is all about – equality? He failed to see it then, and the current crop of official, bearded trade union dinosaurs, stern of face and with files stiffly under oxter, completely fail to see it today.