Our columnist sets some Orange men right on the correct recitation of their ceremonial toast. Plus: the misplaced admiration for Jean-Claude Juncker and thoughts on the Fine Gael leadership race.
I chanced into the company of a busload of uniformed Orange bands-persons the other day and discovered that not one of them – not one! – could recite the Orange Toast. I refer not to the limp, insipid Loyal Toast which my close neighbour Marty McGuinness and my old school-chum Seamus Heaney (I sometimes softly drop a name) intoned at that dinner in Windsor Castle a couple of years back, where they did their bit for peace and reconciliation in our troubled land. I have in mind, instead, the Toast traditionally orated at ceremonial Orange occasions and closing time in specifically-located pubs.
“To the Glorious, Pious and Immortal memory of King William III, who saved us from rogues and roguery, popes and popery, knaves and knavery, slaves and slavery, brass money and wooden shoes, and whosoever shall deny this toast, let him be rammed, slammed and jammed into the muzzle of the Great Gun of Athlone, and the gun fired into the pope’s belly, and the pope into the devil’s belly, and the devil into hell and the gate locked and the key in an Orangeman’s pocket.”
Back in the day we all had that off word-perfect. Now, even purpled piccolo players from Portadown can’t twist their tonsils around it… The sad decline in cultural standards continues.
Great glee around our way at EU Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker giving Theresa May a right going-over for acting the maggot on Brexit.
Reports of Juncker’s boggling disbelief at May’s ignorance and irrational expectations incited widespread sniggers of satisfaction. According to the Frankfurter Allgemeine on May 1, Juncker told May after a posh dinner discussing Brexit, that, “I leave Downing Street 10 times more sceptical than I was before.”
The paper added that when May said she “wanted to make Brexit a success”, Juncker told her that this was a contradiction in terms – the UK would be worse off outside the EU no matter how negotiations went.
On the same day, the (London) Independent told that when May challenged the notion that the UK would have to pay an exit-fee of tens of billions, Juncker responded that the EU “was not a golf club”. Pay up now or pay more later, was the message.
Those who like a bit of Brit-bashing will have been cheered by the apparent humiliation of the haughty madam from Maidenhead. Few will have focused on the somewhat more salient fact that Juncker is Europe’s number one poster-boy for tax-avoidance.
That’s where he’d be lodged if he’d been rumbled for running a ring of pick-pockets. But using political office to facilitate the fleecing of the public purse for the enrichment of the elite – no problemo.
For 20 years, Juncker was either Prime Minister or Finance Minister of Luxembourg, time enough for him to turn the Grand Duchy into a tax-scam paradise for multi-billion companies – Pepsi, Amazon, Vodaphone, HBSC etc. Perfect preparation for the Brussels gig.
Juncker’s State-sanctioned swindle had been orchestrated by accountants PwC. Last year – as reported here at the time – two former PwC employees blew the whistle on the Luxembourg scandal. The pair were charged with damaging the companies’ interests by “stealing” the information they’d brought to the public. Neither went to jail. But their lives and careers are in ruins.
Meanwhile, the loathsome Juncker has been lording it over all he surveys, enjoying the moment, perhaps, as he is hailed as a hero in sections of Irish society for putting the Brit premier in her place.
Juncker stands for austerity, militarisation, razor-wire fences for keeping refugees out, the privatisation of everything that moves and an EU army. But he’s made the Brits squirm. So we won’t have a word said against him.
This is by no means the least of the crimes which colonialism has visited on Ireland over the centuries.
Meanwhile, I’d thought of putting a bet on one of the Fine Gael leadership contenders in order to give myself an interest, but just couldn’t be bothered.
I was told in Sandino’s that we should all support Leo Varadkar because it would be neat to have a gay Taoiseach. Even if the gay Taoiseach were Leo Varadkar? I think not.
He’d have to do a bit more than be gay to excite me about his Fine Gael ascent.
I had no idea who Simon Coveny was until I saw him announced on the Nine O’Clock News, looking into the camera and saying with a frown of serious seriousness that, “What I am most passionate about is delivery.”
I stifled the response, Why doesn’t he fuck off and become a postman, then?, and asked the Cork blonde I’m shacked up with to tell me more about this scion of the Merchant Prince community. She told me to try Wikipedia.
It seems that Simon attended school in Cork before moving on to exclusive Clongowes Wood in Kildare. Expelled in his transition year, he high-tailed it back to Cork and the Presentation Brothers. From there to UCC and then the Gurteen Agriculture College. And onwards to a degree in Agriculture and Land Management at the Royal Agricultural College in Gloucstershire.
Now there’s something might endear a Fine Gael leader to me – he got the boot from Clongowes Wood.
My mind’s made up.
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