5 Reasons You Don't Want To Be Irish This St Patrick's

The same thing happens to me every St Patrick's day. Some huge North American unused to fine living/being drunk so early will decide that blood-alcohol is nearly as good as blood-ties and stampede over, telling me "My great-grandmother was Irish!", to which I reply "Great, if she shows up I'll buy her a pint." Further claims of Gaelic heritage, like the claimants, only get shakier as the day wears on. 

I'll get the fact Patrick was born in Britain and educated in France out of the way in this caption

"My aunt married an Irishman! We bought some Waterford crystal! I ate a potato that hadn't been turned into fries yet once!" The worst I ever saw was an American with a green rugby shirt, fake red-haired wig and an Irish flag worn as a cape staggering out of a bar at 1 pm. It was a worse attempt at claiming a second nationality than a US passport application from Osama Bin Laden. (I don't know what it is about the US educational system, but most other countries understand that the flag is a symbol, not a holy object to be venerated in itself. "Don't worship anything that can be made to clean up stains" is a fairly basic rule.)

If you see someone wearing this, punch them. I guarantee they've already done something to deserve it today.

Which is why I'm grateful for five reasons no-one will want to be Irish this year.

1. Our Economic Crisis Is Stupider Than Yours
We now owe one hundred billion euros and have a 190% household debt to disposable income ratio, the highest in the entire first world and it might well get us demoted from that league. Worst of all, an elite group of bankers didn't steal all the money. Americans might feel bad about bankers getting billions for driving the entire country off a cliff, but it's even worse when the drivers are still in the front screaming OH GOD HOW DID THIS HAPPEN? At least when the CEOs escape with fortunes you can think "Well, we employed them because we thought they were good at making money, and we were right. We just didn't think that plan through." When the same CEOs are bankruptly blubbing on national news about how it's all gone wrong you can finally answer the question "Who is more foolish, the fool or the fool who follows the fool?" with "Definitely the latter, aka me."

Something red hasn't dropped so fatally since Darth Maul fell down that vent shaft

It's the difference between being killed for your wallet and being killed because some idiot left the parking brake off. Several major property investors committed suicide after the crash, really putting the icing on that "Who can be the most totally useless" cake they'd apparently been baking for the entire country.

2. Our Housing Crisis Is Stupider Than Yours
Nothing was improved with all the pretend money. The Irish bubble was in houses and real estate, so in the words of Michael Lewis we spent our burrowed money buying our own country from each other. We didn't build a single worthwhile thing, because we all already had houses - we spent the money digging a vast property pit under ourselves and waited, Wil E. Coyote like, for economics and gravity to notice.

Someday, son, all this will be yours. Actually do you mind taking it now?
There's always a crime surge after an economic collapse, but Ireland has managed to skip most of the intermediary violence by putting most of the population in prison. The unique bit is how they're paying for their own cells. Those who dared to want somewhere to live during the boom are now locked into vastly inflated mortgages, and because Irish mortgages don't have a "just keep it" option (many countries consider giving the bank both the money you paid and the thing you were paying enough to pay them off), thousands are serving thirty year sentences for wanting a roof. Except real prisons get in trouble if they turn off the heat, while these new self-paid jails often can't afford it.
3. Our Politicians Are Stupider Than Yours

The stereotype of the Irish as drunken incompetents is prejudicial, mean-spirited, and exactly what anyone listening to last year's news would believe. Last year then-Taoiseach Brian Cowan appeared on breakfast radio sounding pissed-er than a six-pack of Tennants in an alcoholic's dialysis machine. He was addressing the nation, and I've sounded soberer while vomiting into a toilet. The incompetence was provided by our financial regulator, Patrick Neary, who appeared on Prime Time to reassure the nation with all the calm authority of a pilot searching for a parachute but without that kind of forward thinking. This man was meant to be controlling banks and businesses for the good of the nation, and he responded to an interviewer's questions like a diarrhetic ostrich.

You really should watch that video: over the course of the interview Patrick appears to go stone deaf and the host ends up about one question from Hulking out at him.

Most countries divide their politics into two even blocks pulling in opposite directions to make sure nothing gets done, and our politics makes that look smart. Instead of dividing the government into left and right, or liberal and conservative, or not-Qadaffi and Qadaffi (don't try that one), our parties are divided by Santa's Elves. Well, effectively Santa's Elves, on the grounds that anyone who believes it's still a real reason to make decisions shouldn't be allowed to. You can read about it in this great blog, but the upshot is we have two near identical parties and for the first time we're so pissed we're not just voting out the one who happened to be holding the hot potato that year. We want actual new people to the point where we elected Ming the Merciless, and we're only sorry we couldn't find the real one to send down to the Dáil.

4. We Are Stupider Than You
Another stereotype: we're a bunch of religiously backward bog-farmers. While I could offer up the chunks of Irish law relating to women's rights, or rather not doing so, I and comedy itself have been outdone by real-life stupidity. At least five people burned out their own eyeballs staring at the sun in the hope of seeing the Virgin Mary. Yes, the real sun. The bloody great ball of fire in the sky even your own face tries to turn away from if you look at it. Unlike 10,000 people who went to Knock, preferred Irish destination for people who either believe in magic or  that Holy God's glorious omnipotence works better in certain places like mobile phone reception.

5. Even We Don't Want To Be Irish Right Now
The standard Irish crisis response has always been to leave and that has not changed. I'm proud to say that I left before it was cool, because you can't be proud of saying "I left before it was an utter financial nightmare of Atlantis Plumbing Incorporated proportions." I'd always planned on returning and even my own mother, whose sole fear is that I'll one day disappear to China or something, has told me "For God's sake don't come back now." The emigration rate up to about 140 a day - one person left while you were reading this. 

Why would you want to be from here? Even we don't. And we are!