“Now, let’s all try to think very hard”

In the Irish Times Fintan O’Toole highlights the Irish government’s [unwitting? – Ed] “clever campaign to destroy political satire by making it entirely redundant”.

Discussing the distressing incidents of kidnappings of bank staff, [Minister for Justice Dermot Ahern] began to ponder a great mystery: “The question must be asked why is it that we are one of those societies where there is a high proportion of cash in our system? Ourselves and Italy, we understand, are the two countries where there is a lot of cash in comparison with most of the other European countries. And this is something that I think we also have to look at as a nation ourselves.”

Now, let’s all try to think very hard. What could Italy and Ireland have in common that means that there is a “lot of cash” washing around in the system? Is there a papal anathema on cheques and credit transfers? Not that I know of. Are the Irish and Italians similarly obsessed with the fear that they might run out of ready money for ice cream and thus inclined to keep wodges of wonga in the drawer just in case? Hardly.