giving “medieval” a bad name

The Obrienatrix is somewhat disheartened that one of “her” countries (she is a transplanted and dislocated mongrel) has indeed decided to rejoin what used to be called the Third World. Or – because we love stereotypes on this blog – returning to being what common parlance too often refers to as “medieval” – aside from the long-term continuity of rule by a small number of clans, with the same names turning up in the upper echelons of all socio-economic and political activity.
Moves towards this were already in evidence at the time a decision was made by the Obrienatrix and The Attachment to journey westwards for the sunny shores of utopia. The situation was despondent by the time they left. And now, she is experiencing first-hand the shift from lived reality to melancholy. The descent by Americans of Irish descent into misty-eyed Celtic-twilight fairylands – more understandable than ever. Mine is not nostalgia, mind you: I had no delusions while in Ireland about the things that weren’t perfect, just plain didn’t work, or were wrong; let alone the rapid transitions still happening at the tail end of the Celtic Tiger, too often revisiting the worst aspects (especially greed) of the ’80s. I’ve learned to be more temperate in my prior enthusiasm for time-travel.
So: the country is not in a good way. I’m not happy about it. Bugger all I can do, except publish a compendium of the Greatest Hits of Irish Academic Administration (a.k.a. the Lords of Misrule; and, if you’re really lucky, some special contributions from their Overlords). At least to show solidarity with my former colleagues there – and many others in education as a whole, plus that other pillar of a functioning modern state, healthcare. These are good people who deserve better, and should be dissociated from the activities of the Lords and Overlords. They are trying to do their best to save current and future generations from falling back into the Third World. While every other part of the public sector seems intent on returning there, or at least to being a shiny new 21st c.-style Failed State.
We did the rats/sinking ship thing. Some others will be emigrating too (yep – plus ça change…); and I spent the last few months there encouraging my better undergraduate students to go abroad, and go after the funding-money, for postgraduate study and work.
Others don’t have that option (mortgages, children, grannies, family farm).
Or make the valiant decision to stay and do whatever can be done. Good luck to them. As that other stereotype may be the only hope left: the luck of the Irish.

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