The Drums of Distraction


From top:  Leo Varadkar supporter from own constituency of Dublin West arrive at Drumcondra train station to cast their votes in the Fine Gael leadership election; Tony Groves

Frank Flannery was on the Eamon Dunphy Podcast eulogising Enda Kenny and the way he might look at you. And I couldn’t care less.

My mind conjures up a Terry Prone/Frank Flannery hybrid of clichés, sound-bites and smugness. A public relations spin doctor of titanic proportions. And I couldn’t care less.

Paul Williams is on the wireless telling me Garda HQ is called the Kremlin. His Co-Host, Shane Coleman is telling me the Charleton Inquiry is to start holding public hearings. I’d imagine Mr Williams may have felt a little chill at that. But I couldn’t care less.

Leo Varadkar, as part of his Opinion on Everything tour, says he “shares the public’s concern” regarding the Seán Fitzpatrick debacle. The Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement is admitting mistakes were made. Me, I couldn’t care less.

Both candidates for the Office of Taoiseach have said the Citizen’s Assembly is a “useful guide”, while stressing they think it goes too far. They’ve chosen the vehicle, driven it and then complained about the destination. And me, a white male of a certain age, can’t even feign to care.

On a lunchtime run I passed two tents on the Royal Canal. The “site” was clean, the people had their washing hanging out to dry and their rubbish bagged for binning. And I ran on by like I haven’t a care in the world.

You see, I’ve had enough of these PR platitudes, and departmental debacles, and obfuscating inquiries and plain old outrages.

It’s not so much the singular events; I’ve just had enough of people pretending these events aren’t in any way connected. I’m apathetic to the public’s apathy.

People, suffering from outrage fatigue, aren’t making the connection from the financial collapse, to the tents on the canals. People, too busy “getting up early”, can’t hear the story behind the soundbite. People, contented in the knowledge that an inquiry is underway, confuse this for progress.

They don’t see the linkage between 11 Gardai working on the Seán Fitzpatrick case and 30 on the Operation Mizen investigation into Irish Water protesters.

People distracted by Beauty Pageant Politics don’t notice they are travelling down a path of greed, social exclusion and the shrinking of the public sphere.

The left and the so called opposition are busy kicking tyres, instead of conjuring up a vision for a fairer economy, a more inclusive society and public services that work.

We produce enough food in this country to feed 50 Million people. We have an untapped availability of clean energy and the only insatiable demand we continue to feed is the black hole of legacy debt.

But I don’t hear that message anywhere. I do hear the Fluff of Frank Flannery, the Tao of Terry Prone and the deflections of Government.

Official Ireland adheres to the commandments of distraction, deflection and division.

If we don’t start addressing this deflection, calling out this ineptitude, then we will continue to go with the flow and we will be back in the same mess again. Property bubbles drifting in on the summer wind.

The drum of distraction is beaten incessantly on the airwaves and in the newspapers. The rhythmic sound of faux outrage is designed to give the impression of progress and we are humming along.

The drum we need to play the slow relentless beat of change; a hammer blow against inequality, a thump in the face of the “I’m All Right Jack” brigade. We need to tap the beat at the breakfast table, at the office desk, in the lunchroom and on the commute home.

Make it the backing track to our lives, a rhythm that pricks the ears of the apathetic. We need to see it’s all connected. It’s not public versus private. It’s not left versus right. It’s about those with and those without. And caring.

Tony Groves is a full-time financial consultant and part-time commentator. With over 18 years experience in the financial industry and a keen interest in politics, history and “being ornery”, he has published one book and writes regularly at Trickstersworld

57 thoughts on “The Drums of Distraction

  1. bisted

    ‘…But I don’t hear that message anywhere. I do hear the Fluff of Frank Flannery, the Tao of Terry Prone and the deflections of Government’

    – great stuff Tony…times like this I forget you are another running dog of capitalism…

      1. Sheik Yahbouti

        Tony, well said. People of my generation who have tried, really tried, to effect change can only applaud and envy those of your generation. Tim Berners Lee and his colleagues gave us a wonderful tool for change (forget the porn and the other evils). Keep calling out bovine excreta when you see it. Remember, ridicule is a powerful weapon and should be employed as often as possible. Keep it up, and we may yet have the Republic I’ve longed for.

  2. Joe cool

    People who support him no matter what. Could be a psycho murder ala charles Manson they’d still support him. His policies could be the worse ever …..still support him. The countries Donald ducked because of these zombie party loving gombbens

  3. Rob_G

    “Leo Varadkar, as part of his Opinion on Everything tour…”

    – ha! (I like Vardkar, but this is good)

        1. MoyestWithExcitement

          “debating skills”

          Yes, that’s what’s going on here. You’re the best though. Everyone is really impressed with your very important debating skills. We all love reading your very insightful posts.

      1. mildred st. meadowlark

        Put the smug down, Tony. You’re looking far too pleased with yourself.

          1. mildred st. meadowlark

            You’re quite the coquette yourself memes.

            You should demand more than a bag of chips. You’re worth it baby.

          1. sǝɯǝɯʇɐpɐq

            And while you’re there brother, I mean Brother.
            You were missing and missed in the YouTube comments during last week’s edition of BOTV.
            I hope to see your presence tomorrow, and I’m not sure I spelt that word properly but I think you know what I mean.

            It’s just me and a bunch of girls. They ignore me.

            I’m not talking to you anymore, temporarily, Brother. I’m talking to the boss. Important chits… y’unnerstan; yaw?.. Cool)
            They drool over John Ryan, whose imitation of young Robert Redford is absolutely preposterous. What hope do I have?
            I know damn well why it’s all girls… and me… It’s John Ryan.

            If you close your eyes he looks like Bowie. I swear.

            Now if that doesn’t get me out of moderation, nothing will.

  4. phil

    OK Tony how can I help, Im serious, Ill get involved in anything up to but not including violence

  5. Brother Barnabas

    Honestly, Tones (may I call you Tones?), you’re getting better and better. Look forward to your posts. Fair play.

  6. Bottom In Front of Me

    Language is great. Always good to see and hear when someone articulates it well, catches your thoughts.
    There are so many in the field doing all kinds of work. From the gargantuan intellects playing mice and tiny mice playing gargantuan intellects , in every manner of way. For all that they do , big or small the answer to the question, “Why do you do this ? “, is always the same;
    To Tell Others, To Show Others.
    Resistance takes many forms.
    And so I get a cheerful smile for myself, when the poetry and music sound great. Beutiful piece Senor Groves

  7. Steve

    Enough of the words Tony , come out to the royal canal and make a real difference.

    Clean up every second Saturday of the month, starts at 10:45. Meet up at 3 locations

    – North Strand (outside Charleville Mall library)
    – Crossguns bridge (beside Des Kelly’s)
    – Ashtown (outside the Canal Bar)

    Finish @1pm for tea/coffee afterwards.

  8. Zena

    Really well written, Tony, love your terminology, your descriptive language, your straight-shooting truth.

    Sorry about the little skirmish earlier, overflow of a previous convo.

  9. sǝɯǝɯʇɐpɐq

    What day is it?
    – Shurrup you gobdaw… I don’t really care. it was a joke. you’re sooo tetchy… why?

    See you… you work-skiving, unnecessary office-placement. I have rubber plants like you
    They work harder, just to stay alive.
    I don’t water them, but in my imagination I pi

    sorry babys. I am old and I’m letting on I’m not.
    Wottch me now. (Is that a real word, ‘WOTCH’?


  10. sǝɯǝɯʇɐpɐq

    Can I start again?

    This is the video I wanted to post. I love ONLY all that modern stuff. If it isn’t less than 6 months old it can’t count.
    I think this IS PROBABLY THE VERY BEGINNING OF ME AND SEVERAL OF YOU SEXY LADIES GETTING AN HOTEL ROOM, closing off our capital letters and having a godd long lie-in?

    What do you say Ladies?
    Can you suck a good pipe?
    – A gentleman always asks first..

  11. MKG985

    Have we ever gotten an explanation from Frank Flannery about his accounts in the Panama Papers?

  12. egghead

    I’ve seen a tent on the off ramp of the M50, near where I work. Someone told me there’s a young couple and a child living in it. Probably an exaggeration, but very sad state of affairs.

        1. mildred st. meadowlark

          Not your finest quip, I’ll admit.

          Maybe you’re tired. It is Thursday, after all.

          1. Lord Snowflakee

            I like to puncture the prevailing air of sanctimony from time to time Mildred

  13. Lord Snowflakee

    Sounds a bit whiney. I get what you’re saying and it sort of reflects my own thinking a few years ago, when the austerity started. However the plain fact of it is that people get the sort of governance they deserve: as Gore Vidal said, democracy is when you give people what they want, and you give it to them good and hard. I’m not sure many people really want to think much about wider issues beyond their own middle class solipsistic hipster bubbles in general. or maybe to take your point, it seems they generally choose or prefer not to.

    Quite well-written though in fairness Tony, much better than your usual stuff. I wish they’d stop editorialising by bolding the important bits. Really annoying. Please tell them to stop.

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