Written on: 5. 11. 2021 in the category: Uncategorized

Complete and Utter Cant

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The mole-rat is a most extraordinary mammal. It lives underground and is almost completely blind and bald. It is cold-blooded so its body-temperature is the same as its surroundings. It feels no pain, can survive on tiny amounts of oxygen and can go backwards as fast as it goes forwards. Mole-rat communities feed their young with faecal pap, which is exactly what you think it is.

The only human event that compares with a colony of these blind, shit-eating, backward-travelling, pain-immune, anaerobic temperature-conformers is a UN world climate conference such as the recent one that made Glasgow virtually uninhabitable for sentient human beings.

However, viewed from afar, these conferences are quite wondrous events, to be enjoyed for their shimmering displays of piety, moral superiority and self-regarding unctuousness. What I love most of all is the complete lack of self-awareness – not merely of their participants but of the journalists solemnly reporting and commenting on them, a vast colony of mole-rats joyfully eating one another’s stools and paddling sanctimoniously through the communal outpourings of rectal rectitude.

Delegates to climate conferences tend to vote publicly in favour of a particular worldwide issue and then privately exempt his or her country from any locally unfavourable consequences – which is precisely what the Taoiseach did in saying a public Yes to a worldwide reduction in methane gas production but a private No to any reduction in Irish methane gas production (which all come from cows’ bottoms, as does most journalistic comment on the matter). So Micheal Martin’s exclusion of Ireland from the objectives other countries have to live by is not some departure from the norm, but a norm itself.

No doubt all of Ireland cheered when Glasgow voted to halt deforestation and start reforestation. This, from the very country that has seen tree-cover fall from 11% to 10% and all tree plantations (uniquely in the world) need advance planning permission, which is then almost impossible to obtain. Meanwhile, illegal tree-felling (and hedgerow-grubbing) is now epidemic, apparently in the belief that firewood is the future – and it might well be if ten trees were being planted for every tree planted. But that’s not happening because successive governments have consisted of townies or arborophobic culchies who don’t know an ash from a gnash or a bough from a respectful forward inclination of a male body. It wasn’t so long ago that that prize idiot Coveney was proposing that we should line the shores of the Shannon with concrete to prevent flooding, which is the surest way of despatching Limerick to the Azores. (The only way of anchoring it to Ireland and taming the Shannon is by intensive upriver, mixed-tree plantations: another story.)

This also is the land that prides itself on its neutrality, and effectively allows demonstrators to damage American aircraft at Shannon, but then calls in the RAF whenever Russian aircraft enter its airspace.

So if there were to be a worldwide competition as to which country was the greatest producer of intellectual methane and toxic humbuggery, the prize would surely have to go to Ireland. This humbuggery unites our political and journalistic classes, so praise where praise is due. There is no more industrious producer of effluvial cant in Europe than The Irish Times columnist Fintan O’Toole. He sprayed his readers the other day with yet another example of his morally superior ejaculate  –

 The first report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was published in 1990. It laid out very clearly the catastrophic consequences of continuing to pump greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Yet global greenhouse gas emissions are on course to be 16 per cent higher by the end of this decade compared to 2010.

Thirty years of failure to heed the warnings raises grim questions. Are our political systems so corrupted and dominated by those who have vested interests in the carbon economy that they cannot act in the collective interest?…… Those gathering in Glasgow must not allow themselves to succumb to the two most wistful words in the language: if only.

There has been an abundance of sheer malignity: Donald Trump’s assaults on science and truth; Jair Bolsonaro’s savaging of the Amazon rainforest; Rupert Murdoch’s systematic support for climate denialism.

No mention, you notice, of the far vaster environmental crimes of the murderous communists Putin or Zi, who at least are honest enough to boycott Glasgow.

More personally significant, it was roughly midway through the thirty years “of failure to heed the warnings” – that is, around 2005 –  that O’Toole bought a cottage near Ballyvaughan, County Clare. His main abode is of course in Dublin. His new second home was modestly sized – 39 square metres: too modest indeed for such a determined eco-warrior, who has gallantly devoted his life to opposing the “political systems so corrupted and dominated by those who have a vested interest interests in  the carbon economy.”

So he sought planning permission to increase its size to 180 square metres, essentially adding a new building of 141 square metres (complete with tasteful roof-decking) to the old one just 18% of that size. I have to confess some ignorance here, for I don’t know if the new development was composed of some magical material that generated absolutely no carbon dioxide in its manufacture (I would have asked him, but his invitation to me  to join in his house-warming knees-up apparently got lost in the post).

Certainly, the local branch of An Taisce was appalled at O’Toole’s project, describing it (privately) in its objection to Clare County Council as being “not in keeping with the landscape and could be likened to an infection on the coast road, which is unacceptable and criminal.”

This observation was then leaked to the media, but not by O’Toole, because he was in China. I don’t know what carbon-neutral way he travelled to the least carbon-neutral country on the planet – perhaps he knitted a sail with wooden needles and attached it to an obliging Dalai Lama, with a couple of  hollowed-out Buddhist monks as stabilisers. Either way, precisely half way through the global warming crisis, we can be sure that he got to China in a totally eco-friendly way.

Meanwhile, back in Dublin, the Seanad worked itself into a lather about the language that local An Taisce had used about the sainted mole-rat, and leading the charge in his defence was fellow-lefty Senator Joe O’Toole (who now lives in his holiday home in Collioure in the Pyrennees after secretly negotiating  a €30 million land-sale to the Department of Justice to build a jail on family property, and naturally without informing his neighbours). An Taisce’s Dublin HQ then not merely over-ruled the county branch’s objection to the Ballyvaughan project but abjectly apologised for even allowing its local branch to express an opinion on it.

Oliver Moylan of An Taisce (Clare) was incandescent at this shameful metrobetrayal of his county. He spoke of the extraordinary difficulty “protecting many of our beautiful areas. Some are beyond redemption and places like Kilkee, Lahinch and Fanore are cases in point. Protecting Lough Dergh from unbridled development ….is becoming an impossible task.”

Now made even more so by the preferential treatment meted out by the D4 elite to Ireland’s favourite poser.

So, by the time the annual UN climate conference had moved to Poznan in Poland in 2008 O’Toole had built his Bungalow Bliss on the Clare coast-road on the edge of the Burren. It was to this that he boastfully returned a year ago, from where he complained about the poor Covid precautions he had encountered in Dublin Airport while travelling to and from England – in comparison, that is, with those in Copenhagen from where his son, the son’s partner and their child had recently journeyed.

Yes, all these family members jetting hither and thither during the biggest pandemic in a century.

Yet surely, no journalist can simultaneously be sanctimonious about Covid and be denouncing the carbon-lobby while at the very same time regaling his readers with details of his and his family’s unnecessary jaunts both around Europe and to his unnecessary second home that was built in the very middle of the global warming crisis.

Isn’t that sort of giving the game away?

And that’s before we take into account his earlier journeys to China AND his commutes to Princeton in the US where he became a lecturer while also holding down the job as literary editor of The Irish Times. The maths of his monumental humbug are eye-watering: he and his kin have been generating 101 grams of CO2 for every single kilometre of the many thousands of kilometres that they’ve flown during the global warming crisis.

It is not humanly possible for anyone to be so extravagantly hypocritical in plain view. However, such heroic levels of hypocrisy are possible if you’re a mole-rat and can go backwards as fast as you go forwards, adjust your body temperature according to your circumstances, feel neither pain nor shame and not merely gorge on faecal pap but proudly display your repeated violations of the rules you demand that others live by.

Hence Ireland’s favourite mole-rat: Phagia O’Stoole.

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