Double standards in public life is almost de rigueur these days. Anyone following the trial of a former banker and French presidential candidate or reading the unfolding revelations about HSBC’s Swiss branch’s services in the interests of big capital greed, will know what I mean.

In Ireland, the incumbent government has lurched from one disaster to another but holds, resolutely, to the patronising notion that it knows best.

To prove its point it persists with the intention to bill its overtaxed population for water they’ve already paid for; it denies private legislation drawn to overcome an appalling anomaly and allow women abortions in cases where full term delivery would result in the inevitable death of the mother; now it arrests peaceful protesters by sending six policemen to their doorstep in the early hours of the morning.

January 31, 2015 was the latest deadline Irish people were given to register for Irish Water, the private company set up to run the new water service, yet, even by their estimation, there is a shortfall of at least 50% of the population, on the register and, from now on, we’re on the clock and the bills will arrive in April. So I wrote this poem, Sauce for the Goose, in response and reaction.

will I pay?
for what? I say
water, today
no way

will I register?
for what? I say
water, today
no way

Yes, I will register
my anger and disgust
at the wholesale
greed and lust

because I will pay
for others’ avarice
and acquisition
and grotesque ostentation

while they walk free
as though protected
by misguided misconception
of lese majeste

justice, we seek
for the cold and the meek,
the dispossessed and hungry
a bed for the sick, a smile for the lonely

balance, we seek,
not only in budgets
ledgers or sheets,
but in human relations, the man in the street

They will register our resistance
while they balance their books
glancing with fear and suspicion
at our rueful looks

As they pay off the fiscal burden
like a jaded puppy with an old bone
wagging its tail, to be thanked
by Eurocrats, for a job well done

But when the figures are added
and the coffers depleted
there remains a debt unpaid
though not in coin

or platitudes
or threats to a scolded child,
as the elected lacky
turns boss for those who foot the bill

and tell us they know best
so hush, now
don’t be shouting
or we’ll knock you in the morning

and take you down
before you jet away,
no, I’m wrong,
before you question our right

to do what is wrong,
so let the poor go hungry
we’ll take your homes
to feather our pension cushioned nests

while tax cheats
fill the election war chests
before flying home
to their sun drenched havens

So what’s sauce for the goose
should be sauce for the gander
and if they won’t pay,
I won’t either

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