Once I had the pleasure of sailing up the Nile. I visited the Valley of the Kings and entered the tombs. I walked to the temple complex at Luxor and gazed at the great pillars, which had held temple lintels. I studied the hieroglyphics and later purchased a book on the matter intending to learn how to read this language but
something else got in my way. Each symbol is beautiful in its own right and the man who broke the hieroglyphic code has an hotel named after him.
The Pharaohs governed this fertile if narrow land. They were good rulers given the times and they had councillors. Potiphar was such a councillor and he had a slave called Joseph. This is how the story runs.
Joseph had started out as a slave, but the Lord was with Joseph and He helped him do everything right. So Potiphar made him his helper, and put him in charge of everything that he owned.
The problem came when Potiphar's wife lied about Joseph to her husband, so Potiphar had Joseph put into jail.
The Lord was still with Joseph in jail, and the warden put Joseph in charge of all the prisoners. He never worried because the Lord was with Joseph and helped him do everything right.
After Joseph had been in jail for some time a cupbearer and baker to Pharaoh had been sent there. One night each of them had a dream. They told their dreams to Joseph and he told the cupbearer that he would soon be let out of jail. "Please tell Pharaoh about me, and ask him to get me out of here," Joseph said.
When the cupbearer was freed he forgot about what Joseph did. So Joseph stayed in jail for two more years. Until one day the Pharaoh had a dream, and nobody could explain it to him. The cupbearer then remembered what Joseph had done for him, and Joseph was brought to Pharaoh.
"Can you understand dreams?" Pharaoh asked. "I can't, but God helps me," Joseph replied. After Pharaoh had told him his dream Joseph explained, "God is warning you. There will be seven years when nothing will grow and there won't be any food for anyone."
"What can I do?" Pharaoh asked. "God has shown you what to do. There will be seven years before the bad years that will be very good. So good that there will be extra food for everyone. So you should save a little bit of each years harvest, that way you will have enough to get you through the bad years," Joseph said.
Pharaoh believed all that Joseph told him, and put him in charge of all the land of Egypt.
Now Joseph was given charge of things. In Ireland he would be called Taoiseach. He was prudent. He was careful with things and knowing that there was going to be a famine he built great buildings and here he stored surplus wheat. Nothing was wasted. He planned well for what lay ahead.
The good days of harvest past over and for seven years nothing grew in Egypt. It was at this point that they opened the warehouses and the people were saved. People came from other countries came to Egypt and cried out for food. It was given to them. Thus he saw them through a bad economic and agricultural period.
Now if this Taoiseach or leader had been a spendthrift and suggested that the extra wheat had been used to make Christmas Cakes for Pharaoh (I know that this is out of sequence) and for wedding cakes for the lesser Pharaohs and it had all been used to brew beer then there would have been plenty of trouble along the banks of the Nile. But he was wise. Now it is quite obvious that he had warehouse men or ministers who ran the economy during these times. They were prudent men.
He attended to the poor as well as the rich. The rich had to cut back on their extravagant ways. He had to cut back on the rich and even when they visited his abode and offered him jewels as bribes he did not listen to them. He was a wise man and more than wise he was fair.
Now the story is not lost on people. A savage budget has been imposed upon us. It is savage in its implications. As Enda said its implications will be felt when this government falls from office and grim times lie ahead.
When Éamon Ó Cuív tried to explain the budget on the Vincent Browne show he had each mind tangled in knots. Nobody knew exactly what he was talking about. Even when Vincent Browne stood outside the Dáil and buttonholed the TDs he could get no satisfaction from one of the Lenihans. He tangled things up in fine political jargon. The mind gets tangled with the twistings and turnings of devious minds.
We purchased a bank. I am part owner. It is called The Allied Irish Bank. Never was a bank so badly named. It never belonged to us but became ours when it became toxic.
Now 2000 members were to receive bonuses of €10,000. I do not know who these 2000 are but they certainly would have Christmas but shame made the government to change this. They may have defused a rebellion. There is only a certain amount which people can take and this was beyond decency.
I do not mind a savage budget. It was necessary after the financial experts or rather financial fools who are responsible for this mess. But this was savage on the weakest members of society. It was obscene.
The poor will always be with us but they should not be made poorer. This country is still run on civil war politics and the sooner we stop visiting our heroic past the better.
We need a new paradigm.