In these torrid times when nightmarish images of desperate people standing in a putrid canal of filth trying to grab the attention of a U.S. soldier to gain entry to Kabul airport fill our TV screens, it seems obscene for President Joe Biden to describe the U.S. withdrawal as a “success”, most especially with the horrific scenes emerging after the bombing on Thursday. Many are now recalling Barack Obama’s reported statement about Sleepy Joe “ Never underestimate Joe’s ability to screw things up”. I’ve got to the stage that if I see another photograph of Biden eating an ice-cream I will scream. The absolute truth is that for many people, and I would include myself amongst them, we were so relieved to see the end of the Trump presidency that we ignored the possibility that Joe Biden simply wasn’t up to the job. Nobody pretends for one second that ending a war is easy, but surely there is a better way to do it than this. How crazy it seems, apart from the appalling multiple tragedies that are unfolding, to see the abundance of military hardware the Americans will leave behind. Biden’s reputation is badly damaged and America’s allies will wonder how he will deal with Iran and its new President, the ultra hardline Raisi, known as the “Butcher” because as a Prosecutor he sent 100,000 enemies of the regime to their deaths. To me, the fall of Kabul is so much worse than the fall of Saigon. Even the Vice-President Kamala Harris, who had promised an emphasis on women’s rights internationally, will find her reputation dented.
Thank God for these days of an Indian Summer, watching the butterflies again and talking to the trees. One has to do it to lighten the mood that descends watching the news. Then there is also exasperation which brings me to the Electric Picnic. 40,000 in Croke Park and good luck to them but let me spell it out for you. Politicians in general are frightened of the GAA. That is why there is one rule for them, and the live music and entertainment sector have been firmly kicked into touch. So is the fun-loving Tánaiste going to bound to the rescue? After all he called on the services of the Attorney-General to get him off the hook on Zappone-gate. So why not smooth the path in Stradbally ? There might even be a few votes in that. Rumour has it he is fond of picnics anyway. We have so much to be proud of in the way the vaccination programme has been handled. The enthusiastic way in which our young people stepped up to the plate warmed my heart. Europe must have looked on with envy. Yet at the same time our government has chosen to ignore one of the heartbeats of the nation, our live entertainment sector. The hallowed field in Slane lies sleeping this year, and part of me is relieved I do not have to battle against those that stand in the way of a true re-opening of society. In my heart, I hope the Taoiseach, the Tánaiste and the Deputy Leader of the Greens see the light and let the Electric Picnic go ahead.