Monthly Archives: October 2007

The man who rode his bicycle

His name is Robert Stewart, he has admitted sexual breach of the peace and has been placed on the sex offenders’ register. He was in a hostel bedroom which was unlocked by cleaners who caught him copulating with the bike.

Richard Alleyne of The Daily Telegraph notes that this is not the first time somebody has been convicted of sex with an inanimate object — an electrician was done in 1993 for having sex with pavements.

Bryony Gordon muses:

He was in his hostel room at the time, behind locked doors (staff went in when they got no response from him). It was between him and the bicycle. I’m not sure I would have called the police had I caught him riding his bike [as the hostel manager did]; probably I would have just screamed and run away and then think that maybe he was just confused by somebody who had told him that the local bike would sleep with anyone.

I'm paying for what now?

Just after Finance Minister Brian Cowen warned of a tight December budget, he and other State employees have been given inflation-busting pay rises. Chief among them is our glorious leader, Patrick Bartholomew “Bertie” Ahern, whose salary is to go up €38,000 (14%) to €310,000.

That’s about €30,000 more than George Bush. As Gavin mused this morning:

Why should the Taoiseach be paid more than the President of the United States — a job many would consider to be a far more difficult and taxing position.

I would think so.

Michael Nugent then observes that Wonder Willie the Great Defence Minister — that’s this muppetnow earns more than the US vice-president, while Cowen is just ahead of British prime minister Gordon Brown. In fact junior ministers earn more than the US v-p.

Is this value for money? It would be one thing if the ministers in question were experts in their fields, rather than promoted from within the party. The amount of ministerial incompetence alone irks me about their raises — Ahern, who has been the subject of controversy regarding thousands of pounds given to him by friends in the 1990s, now earns 10 times the average industrial wage.

The review body that set out these pay increases based its judgement on what top business figures earn. But surely the idea is to attract people who wish to serve their country not those looking for a healthy bank balance (although a tenure on the backbenches and in a Dáil committee would be good for that as well)? Have I completely misunderstood democracy and the notion of civic duty?