May 5th, 2007 by Conor McCabe
“I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot.
Would that you were cold or hot!
So, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot,
I will spew you out of my mouth.”
In Danteâ€™s Inferno, at the threshold of Hell, lie abandoned the apathetic:- â€œThat craven crew / Of angels who elected neither rebellion / Or loyalty to God, but kept apart.â€
Having chosen neither good nor evil during Luciferâ€™s uprising, they have no place to go. â€œNot to mar its beauty, heaven expelled them / Nor will the depths of hell take them in there / Lest the damned have any glory over them. â€
And so they run in circles, desperate to be noticed, but damned to irrelevance, for all of eternity. Virgil, who is Danteâ€™s guide through the circles of Hell, tells Dante to ignore these apathetic creatures:
â€œThese people have no hope of again dying,
And so deformed has their blind life become
That they must envy every other fate.
The world will not allow a word about them;
Mercy and justice hold them in disdain.
Let us not discuss them. Look and pass on.â€
Their crime was that they dithered; they waited until the outcome was secure. As such, the outcome came about without their input. They neither added to, nor took away, from the final situation. The winners did not need them; the losers did not want them: they became despised by both sides for their lack of conviction.
Sometime today (Sunday), the Progressive Democrats will hold a press conference where they will announce that they are pulling out of government and about to join the opposition. They have finally found enough of a reason to end this coalition of vested and corrupt interests, one that for years has been bankrupt of any political, cultural, and economic ideas. Mercy and justice hold them in disdain.
For eight months Michael McDowell has hung on to power, unwilling to walk away from this tin pot Taoiseach, while berating the opposition for their attacks on a government that he has now decided to end. We will hear how, at this ridiculously late stage, enough was enough for this parasitic minister. Let us not discuss them.
We will hear about how the latest revelations were just too much for this PD party to take, and so, with a dusted-down moral flagpole taking the place of a political backbone, they will vomit excuses and slither weasel words, and tell us that they intend to spend the next two weeks knocking on doors and pressing the flesh as if they have been in opposition since the time when houses were last affordable.
The PDs. Neither good enough for heaven, or evil enough for hell, they are now running around in circles, crying to be noticed, with â€œlanguages diverse, horrible dialects / Accents of anger, words of agony / And voices high and hoarse, with sound of handsâ€. They are an irrelevance.
Look and pass on.