Friday, April 30, 2004

From each according to their docility...

Years ago, when I was a student, I remember taking a brief break from the library and hearing the parade passing Trinity on Nassau Street. If I recall correctly, this was the first May Day to be a public holiday, introduced by Labour when they entered into coalition with FF. As somebody said at the time, the workers, especially those in the public services, are now secure, and the middle classes the ones exploited and at the mercy of technology and market forces

I don't know what banners they were marching under, but "F**k the public!" would have probably been appropriate.

Post box

Last night's Dispatches documentary on Channel 4 jogged my memories of our local sorting office in Glenageary, Co. Dublin. By the mid-nineties, our post was being delivered either so late or not at all most days that my retired parents got into the habit of walking to the sorting office to ask for the letters, sparing the postman the unreasonable burden of walking two hundred yards to deliver it to our home and cutting into valuable time in the Deerhunter.

Pearse Station

CIE always managed to annoy me a lot too. Commuting through Pearse Station every morning, I was crushed into a a huge mass of people inching slowly off the platform, down the stairs, through a narrow corridor and skirting the automatic ticket gates to pass by ONE MAN WITH A CLIPPER who would collect our tickets, by hand, one by one. It was never a pleasant way to spent five minutes. I always thanked God there was never a fire in the station, or we would have been trapped in a desperate scramble to get out.

Instead of having automatic ticket barriers, like in every other city I've ever visited, we had to wait meekly while CIE operated at its accustomed sedate pace. Recently, machines for buying train tickets have finally appeared, but the experience of being the sand in the egg-timer when you leave the station is the same.

Even Beijing in rush hour was a smooth and easy ride by comparison. I think if I have to have communism, I'd prefer the Chinese variety, which seems to cope with managing infrastructure during rapid economic growth more competently, rather than the Irish combination of weak management and over-mighty unions. High time we had some Thatcherism, I think.

Peter 笔德