It’s everywhere, so pervasive that we don’t actually notice it, or at least, if we do, we pretend not to. it’s almost as if we tolerate it because we feel that’s what proper countries do, even though most of it has no relevance to our daily lives. It is guff.
For the non-Irish readers of this blog, guff is waffle, cant, hot air, meaningless noise that comes from public officials and those associated with them, and the Irish excel in its creation. It is quite possible that perhaps 85% of what comes from the mouths of Irish parliamentarians and county councillors would be completely unmissed if were never spoken. From reading out speeches that no one listens to to “calls” to county managers to do things, it’s all inspiration free remarks centred around things that people feel they should be staying, such as cramming the word “vulnerable” into sentences. The problem is that speeches are used to convey ideas and values, two things which don’t actually exist in Irish public life, where politicians go into politics to, well, be in politics. The truth is that Irish politicians would be of more use if they actually made useful statements explaining how to work SkyPlus or set the timer on the boiler. Because, at least people would actually keep those speeches, and know that they were telling the truth, assuming Richard Boyd Barrett actually does know how to record Boardwalk Empire. Put it another way: supposing politicians were given a quota of words they could use, and were taxed on every additional word they used. Would we, as a country, be better or worse off?