There’s a standard whinge that goes around about how the West doesn’t really care about human rights as much as it cares about oil. It’s true. We don’t, and we should at least admit it. And when I say we, by the way, I’m talking about the Irish and the Americans and the rest of the western world.
Because, you see, there’s the big ugly wart at the heart of western democratic society, the one that makes Roger Cole and Richard Boyd Barrett cry. That, given a choice between cheap oil in steady supply, and human rights in some faraway country, western working families will quietly slip into the polling booth and vote for the “Keep bombing and keep that oil flowing” party.
Don’t believe me? Just look at how non-existent Shannon has been in the last two general elections. If the Irish people had to choose between NATO membership and a sharp rise in oil prices, if we had to deploy troops to secure our share of the global oil supply, we’d do it. After all, even RBB needs to use the bus to get to demos.