Country collapsing; Hugh hides under the table

Dot writes: there was a front-page piece in the Irish Times yesterday about how the Irish are failing to protest properly about the arrival of the IMF in our affairs. Foreign reporters were looking desperately for anger on the streets and having to settle for a placard saying ‘Traitors’ outside Leinster House – and, frankly, there is always somebody ready to post a placard saying ‘Traitors’ outside Leinster House, on any issue from revising the terms of medical cards to banning non-eco lightbulbs. Apart from the one or two poor souls who spend their lives transcribing their paroxysms of anger onto sandwich boards, the Irish on the whole are too polite to protest, and maybe too used to being dicked around by The Man. For my own part I have a depressing sense of futility, not improved by feeling that things are just as bad in my native country, where the government are happily dismantling the infrastructure of social support without even the EU telling them to. Little people like me didn’t make the mess, and we have no say in the clearing up of the mess, just the prospect of less money and fewer services for the foreseeable future. There will be an election soon and I shall vote Labour, but with such a heavy external hand steering all budgetry decisions it is not clear what they can achieve. I’m not sure even they quite represent what I want to vote for.

Hugh was rather lively at bedtime today. I got Frank asleep and Hugh into bed and came down to do the washing up. After a bit I was startled by a noise behind me, turned, and found Hugh sitting under the table. “I’m trapped,” he said. “Let me out.” I returned him to bed. After another 15 minutes or so there was a bang from upstairs. I went up to investigate – didn’t meet Hugh on the way – looked into the room, and his bed was empty. Had he floated out of the window? No: he had climbed into Frank’s cot and was curled around him, complaining of cold feet. I felt this was not the best treatment of even a pleasingly toasty little brother and tucked the boy back under his own blankets, where he eventually went to sleep. It was all rather unnerving.

And now I should weave this tale of domestic oddness skilfully into my remarks on politics in the manner of a person whose tangents are really parables. But all I can suggest is that Hugh is protesting in his way, and that it would be an interesting complication to the negotiations currently going on in the Dail to introduce a small boy with a knack of suddenly appearing and disappearing into the Houses of the Oireachtas. Not all the Irish are meek and biddable.

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