You say you want a revolution, except you don’t…
History was one of those subjects at school which I loved, and whilst I only studied it for 2 years at A Level, the syllabus covered a hugely important era in European history – an age of enlightenment and an era of revolution.
As we approach the 24th April, the actual date of the Easter Rising, 1000’s of localised celebrations and commemorations have already taken place throughout the country.
Later this year, Ireland and the world will commemorate the centenary of the Battle of the Somme and the death of 100,000s of those who gave their lives in battle.
Last week I wrote about Cerberus, toxic loans, Ulster Bank and a looming financial crisis, which shrouds the island of Ireland, threatening businesses, families and individuals.
A few days later, the Irish Times published an article, which claims that on earnings of over £300 million, Cerberus paid almost £15,000 in Tax.
You can read the full article here, which adds a little more context but the bottom line is that the three-headed dog of Hades is on the cusp of wreaking havoc across our communities, unregulated and with impunity, whilst paying less tax than the average Belfast-based SME.
In the same week we had the Panama Papers, described by The Guardian as “an unprecedented leak of 11.5 million files from the database of the world’s fourth largest offshore law firm, Mossack Fonseca…. highlight how the rich and famous – 12 national leaders included – exploit secretive offshore tax regimes.”
Most likely only the tip of the iceberg, add into this mix the irregular financial mismanagement of large banks in the mid 2000s, the Leveson inquiry into phone-hacking, The Catholic Church, The BBC, the NAMA scandal, and you can see that there is a pattern here – abuse of power and privilege.
For many celebrating / commemorating the centenary of the Easter Rising, the word “revolution” stirs up a range of emotions.
Irish political groups all made claim to be direct descendants to the rebels.
Unionists in the North must have looked on with a degree of horror as 1000s of republicans mobilised in battle fatigues, in small rural outposts of Tyrone.
Everyone has an opinion – it just “is what it is”.
For me, revolution is as much part of human genetics as evolution.
The musical revolution which took place in the late 1970s with the arrival of punk music, challenged the original “Status Quo” along with Prog Rock, and Disco.
Elvis did the same in the 1950s and the Beatles in the 1960s.
Over 50 years later, there’s room for all genres except now instead of musical revolution we have the audio-visual equivalent of Temazepam – prescribed sedatives courtesy of X Factor, The Voice and the ironically named “Britain’s Got Talent”.
I wouldn’t consider myself a radical at all, but it just seems we are content with having the shit kicked out of us so long as we can have the latest iPhone and extended access to the contents of celebrity trash cans the length and breadth of Hollywood.
We all know that there is something wrong there just doesn’t seem to be the appetite to do anything about it.
Cerberus and the other vulture funds are a leach on our society, yet it has now become acceptable to nod in agreement and wait for someone else to react.
It is hard to see who will stand up for us.
Media? It’s a great story but it doesn’t shift papers or drive online ad revenue.
With no sense of pride at all I can quote Winston Churchill:
“You have enemies? Good. That means you have stood up for something, sometime in your life.”
Great sentiment, but who’s going to stand up?
There must be an overwhelming sense of hopelessness and resignation to futility when we can let an organisation like Cerberus into our country, without regulation and without paying the proper taxes and that the big story of the week wasn’t their bullying or corporate theft, but the release of an impressionable young Irish lady from a Peruvian gaol.
The activities of Cerberus will destroy the lives of 1000s of people across the island.
Some will die from the pain caused, others will be wounded and never recover; others will flea to other countries to escape the persecution.
Whether you admire or despise those revolutionaries from 1916, or those colonists who stood up against Britain, or the French – at least they had balls.
It looks like this generation has lost theirs.
History class taught me that it often takes very little to change the status quo – Edmond Burke said it best:
“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
The down side to that is that it’s getting harder to determine the good from bad.