Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Driving through a Skanger Wonderland

There’s an amusing Father Ted episode in which the eponymous character discovers that one of the local priests, from whom he has borrowed a book, turns out to be a Nazi sympathiser with a rather dodgy WW2 souvenir collection in his cellar, comprised exclusively of Waffen SS artifacts.

After supplying a negative response to Ted’s hopeful “I don’t suppose you’ve got anything from the Allied side?” query, the fascist cleric (nothing new there) looks at a picture on the wall, reflecting wistfully: “Ah, there’s the Fuehrer signing a few death warrants...” An obviously uncomfortable Ted shuffles embarrassingly from foot to foot muttering “ha, ha… it’s funny how you get more right-wing as you get older, ha, ha…”.

As Gombeen Man, I like to think of myself as anything but right wing - especially given my spell as an anti-fascist activist. But I was nearly longing for some piano wire as the car came under assault by massed ranks of skangers in Hartstown the night before last. Worryingly, such feelings are becoming more common with the passing of time.

Due to the snow and the treacherous footpaths, I was taking someone to Hartstown Community College for a night course. As we turned onto Fortlawn Road, we noticed a makeshift barrier - presumably constructed by the local “hoodies” - who were pelting the slowing/stationary cars with missiles of compacted snow.

OK, a snowball is a snowball, and unless it contains a rock as its nucleus it’s not going to kill you. However, big enough, compacted enough, and thrown with sufficient force from sufficiently close, I imagine it could damage your car if it hit the wrong place, and at least could cause a dangerous distraction to inexperienced drivers. Certainly, when we emerged from the barrage, I checked for dents.

We took the precaution of waiting for a sufficient space to open up in front, before passing the skangers sufficiently fast to present a difficult target. But driving slowly, or stopping altogether, must have been scary - especially if you were an older person or a lone woman. Indeed, we’d noticed someone had skidded into the kerb, having lost control of their car, and were being barraged relentlessly.

The whole loop of Hartstown Road/Huntstown Way was the same, but when we got off it again, it was like we’d magically left a warzone. Predictably, despite the danger posed to road users (and pedestrians) by the welfare yokels’ activities, there was not a copper in sight.

It set me thinking about how these estates, with their large proportion of scumbags relative to decent working-class people, came into being. I remember my own parents going to Dublin Corporation as a kid, and being told that they didn’t have enough children to get a corporation house (they only possessed two wonderful kids at the time). So, if you wanted a house, you had to have children – regardless of your ability to look after them.

So now factor in the fact that contraceptives were banned by the State, and you surely had a lot of people reproducing for all the wrong reasons… not exactly a recipe for responsible parenting, and socially well-adjusted offspring. Last night, swathes of Hartsown - and I’m sure many other Dublin estates - were testimony to that fact, as is every Halloween. And boom or bust, I can't see it changing, as it is a self-perpetuating, generational culture at this point, and the same State incentives exist to encourage it. The worrying thing is that what I describe is one of its more harmless manifestations.

“Down with this sort of thing”, as Ted might well have said. Is it time for a mass sterilisation programme, to reverse the harm caused by Church and State down the years?

Or does that sound a bit right wing?

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Bernd said...

Mate ... I am professing to a socialist, yes even communist, world view ... there is a bust of Vladimir in my living room. Come the revolution I'll be fine!

BUT ... anti-social behaviour is the bane of EVERY society and those behaving anti-social cannot expect to profit from socialism. I don't think it is a question of becoming more right-wing, it is just a question of seeing reality.

A bit like the Shinners finally accepting responsibility for policing the North outside of nightly knee-capping activities.

The Gombeen Man said...

Thanks for that, Bernd. I feel better now!

Anonymous said...

Really gombeen man, there are far fewer kids around today then back when I was a youngster and let's face it, contraceptives would have been widely available when these indolent children were created...

Spurious connection of spuriousness IMHO...

Bernd said...

... then again .... maybe you should have stopped, exited your car and engaged the future generation of Ireland's economic and cultural success in a meaningful discourse on social responsibility.

Provided you had a stab-vest on ...