It must be lovely to have been born with a silver spoon in your mouth. Imagine! None of the boring drudgery that the rest of us must endure daily.
I remember a few blokes like that during my schooldays. Usually the sons of Bank Managers or Doctors, these lads were super-confident. You see, there was little they desired that Daddy couldn’t buy for them. At sixteen, they became independently mobile as shiny new motorbikes showed up outside the school. At seventeen, they were doing their driving tests and soon afterwards, they were spinning around in “Mummy’s car,” or the runaround as they liked to call it.
University fees were a given as was a placement in that university. A summer job in a pub or building site to try to raise a few bob was the stuff of jokes for these boys. The endless sunny days of summer for the ‘silver spoon’ featured highlights such as a stay with wealthy relatives in the UK, a type of latter-day networking to ensure mention in a will at some future time, and then there was the obligatory continental holiday with family where Daddy booked them into a ‘delicious’ hotel somewhere exotic.
These lads were soon to discover that old family fortunes, with its prospect of future personal wealth, was a powerful aphrodisiac for the fairer sex. It was around that time that a local character once asked me, “Have you ever seen an ugly bird in the passenger seat of a Merc?” So of course us ordinary guys were jealous. But you can neither earn nor spend jealousy so there was little percentage in dwelling on it.
In the years that followed, the paths of the ordinary guys and silver spoons diverged so that normally the next time any of us ordinary types encountered one of the rich kids was in the society pages of the press. It might be a senior appointment of some kind or a high society wedding scheduled for some castle. Also, money aside, those lucky boys who were born on the right side of the tracks would inevitably end up in positions of power. When wealth is a given, superiority handed to you, the next obvious destination must be power. Influential contacts of all kinds knew Daddy. It was to the manor born after all.
While my own personal recollections are of Cork, it was the same or even more pronounced in Dublin, (and still is). Which brings us nicely to the Doctor’s son turned Doctor turned Taoiseach in short order. During Leaders’ Questions yesterday, Little Leo, from Dublin, was questioned around rising rents and the construction of new homes by Labour’s Brendan Howlin. As part of his response, Varadkar listed off ways in which people save for a deposit for a new home. He said, “Sometimes people go abroad for a period and earn money,”
OK Leo, where do we get the money to get there? And let’s say we can borrow the flight money to America, Australia or Canada, how are we to pay a deposit on a rented roof over our heads, presuming we can get a flat over there, unlike here? Then what do we live on until we get a job? How long do you think we’d need to spend in this imaginary country abroad in order to save the 10% deposit of an average €300,000 house back in Ireland? Unless you are a college educated professional Leo, you will not earn enough money abroad to save very much. Oh, and why is it we have to leave our own country to earn a living? I thought you were congratulating yourself on what a wonderful job you were making of this country and its economy?
Warming to his theme he then explained. “Others get money from their parents. Lots of us did.” How very telling Leo! Daddy came up with the spondulix for your pile, did he? Well, my Dad died when I was thirteen and my Mother had to get a clerical job in one of your hospitals in order to keep the ship afloat. So Daddy, or anyone else for that matter, giving me or my mates a brass tack for anything, is the stuff of fantasy, the world where you live in fact.
“Others get money through other loans,” he went on. Ahem, How do I put this Leo, so that you could understand it? Any loan of any kind will normally come with the proviso that you have proof you can make the repayments and have some item of collateral to pledge, that more than covers the amount of the loan and can legally be taken from you if you default. In your world of course, a wealthy Daddy guarantees your loan and Bob’s yer Uncle. It occurs to me to ask why the Irish Banks are allowed to rob us blind when someone as brilliant as your good self is in command. But if you get me started on the banks Leo, and the Government’s part in them, I’d say something I’d regret so let’s go back on message.
And then, Little Leo made the most obvious observation. “Sometimes people stay at home for a period and raise a deposit in that way.” Can I just point out Leo that after ten years of your austerity, real wages have fallen drastically while real prices have risen enormously no matter what you say. This has happened mostly on your watch too. So any capacity people may have had to stay at home for a period and raise a deposit is now a thing of the past Mr Prime Minister. The economy is booming where you live in Dublin 2, 4 & 6. The other 99 out of a 100 of us are struggling to survive. People here are openly talking about demanding a vote on continued EU membership and I have more than once heard reference to getting groups organized to tackle politicians in their own constituencies.
You see, it is beginning to dawn on the little people, all four and a half million of us, that we can’t afford the salaries, expenses and pensions of so many inept politicians who are utterly divorced from reality. Perhaps we need a new party like UKIP out here or indeed a widespread peaceful protest where we all refuse to pay taxes of any kind until you privileged individuals come to your senses. After all, who are the (public) servants here?
Oh! And don’t talk down to us again Leo, it just pisses us off!