I’m back again at my home base on Dublin’s Northside where I’ve a number of things to catch up on after the few days away. The flight back was fairly uneventful – three and a half hours in the air can rarely be classified as top-ranking entertainment at the best of times – though I did manage to snap a few pictures and video clips on my K800i (my favourite handset ever ever ever), including the photo featured here and this little bit of video, of the snow-clad peaks of the Alps as we made our way northwards over them. I’m not sure which was more amazing – the view itself or the fact that Mick O’Leary hasn’t yet devised some fiendish way of charging extra for it.
Final aside on Malta: they’re going to the polls down there on Saturday in the general election which, at least at a superficial level, bears some resemblance to our own recent one here. Firstly, it’s noteworthy that, apart from us, they are the only other country on the planet to use the PR-STV system of voting, though they have tweaked it significantly to ensure that the party winning the biggest share of the popular vote wins the election, regardless of how the seat share-out goes. That’s one way to deal with having to have coalitions and it also effectively undermines the attractiveness of independent candidates. I didn’t, for example, come across any buffoon standing for election there who resembled, even in passing, the likes of Jackie Healy Rae.
The comparisons don’t end there as the current governing party, the nationalist PN, has been in power since 1986 and they have, since then, pursued a broadly pro-business agenda. They’ve also overseen the country’s accession to the EU and, at the start of this year, the adoption of the Euro. However, they’re now facing all manner of allegations about corruption from the main opposition Labour (MLP) who are going to the electorate on an anti-corruption platform. (Where have we heard that one before?) So, no Ba-Ba-Bertie down there but more than a few similarities all the same. However, unlike our own recent contest, in Malta the general consensus appears to be that the opposition are heading for a narrow victory.
Anyway, back to the frozen tundra of Drumcondra and stuff that’s more related to my core remit here. But before I do so I must, one final time, address the issue of those ruffled feathers on Mayofans.com. I see the issue is still exercising interest on the board and that, despite my clarification the other day, yet another brave soul has since popped his head above the parapet to accuse me of using this site as a means of “settling old grudges”. You know what guys? I’m getting thoroughly bored with all of this and, I have to say, I’m also more than a little pissed off at the fact that so many of you have taken all this time and trouble to gossip about what you perceive as the motives for my opinions behind my back without making any attempt to engage with me directly on the subject. There’s a facility on this site to leave comments if you don’t like what I say. What are you all afraid of? I won’t bite.
Okay, onto issues of more interest. I see the county board have voted in favour of restoring the links with the Aussies (no hard feelings over the poaching of Pierce Hanley, then) but that others, including Kerry, remain in the Aussie-sceptic camp. It’s unusual to find myself siding with the Kerrymen, and against our own county board to boot, but it is, I think, heartening to see such widespread opposition to this ill-advised kiss-and-make-up routine with our Antipodean cousins. I for one don’t think the new souped-up disciplinary measures will do anything to prevent a re-occurrence of the kind of thuggery we’ve seen in the past: clamp-downs were promised before and they never did a jot to improve matters. Nickey Brennan is now on a hard-sell mission to get approval for resuming the link with the Aussies, in the process recruiting the GPA’s Dessie Farrell to join the chorus in favour of getting the series going again. Does this smack a little of desperation on the Uachtarain’s behalf, I wonder? I hope it does.
There’s little, as one would expect, to report on about the team and what’s been said over the past few days. I missed the Sean Rice column in the Mayo News the other day (it wasn’t on the site when I did my usual trawl for news). Here is it – there’s no point going through it now as I guess most people will already have digested its contents. Also Ronan has been pooh-pawing any notion that we’re going to get drawn into a relegation dogfight in Division 1. If we beat Kerry on Sunday week then that’s obviously correct but there’s no doubt but that another loss on the 16th will leave us scrambling for points to stay up.
Finally, it looks as if this weekend’s climax to the Sigerson Cup is in doubt due to all the problems the Guards have caused. (All together now: haven’t you any proper crimes to be solving?) Yet again, it’s a case of last-minute appeals and all manner of what, in other spheres of activity, is often described as forum shopping. I find it difficult to understand why problems like this one always seem rapidly to take on the characteristics of a bushfire: either that first decision to boot the Guards out for fielding a banger was correct or else it wasn’t and the relevant sanctioning body should be competent enough to decide on the issue. Why all the avenues of appeal and counter-appeal?
I’m all for democratic decision-making but at times like this you just get the feeling that there can be too much democracy within the GAA and I’m not sure that the price, which can clearly be seen in terms of this latest cock-up, is one worth paying just to allow people who don’t like a particular decision to go running off somewhere else where they think they might get a more favourable hearing.
That’s about it, back tomorrow with more non-news and the like.