AS I write this I’m giving Donald Trump money.
The workers at Trump’s resort in Doonbeg, Co. Clare are getting the Covid-19 payments everyone else thrown out of work during this crisis is getting in Ireland.
And that’s as it should be. I agree completely with that act of social solidarity.
But it’s a thought, isn’t it? The billionaire boaster getting bailed out by us. The Lidl workers and the nurses and the petrol pump attendants.
We’re giving money to the man whose latest gem, as the bodies of coronavirus victims pile up, is to say he has been treated worse than Abraham Lincoln. Even though Lincoln was shot dead.
Dear God. How does anyone, even committed Republicans, true Conservatives, continue to support such a vain, utterly self-serving narcissist? It has to be asked.
And now this Irishman is giving him money I feel as if I have the right to ask it.
You Americans might love your country, but Donald Trump does not.
Donald Trump loves Donald Trump.
Of course, there is a very strange relationship between Ireland and America.
We are all of us seduced by America, by the TV shows and the music and the films and the whole glorious idea of that vast country.
In Ireland, though, the relationship takes on its own special hue.
There is, as we all know, an enduring history of Irish emigration to America.
No one wishes to deny historical fact. There is no reason to.
But there is every reason to look at Ireland’s somewhat craven obeisance to that country. Look, for instance, at that regular desperate search for an American President’s Irish roots. However distant and obscure that link is we make it.
Yet we made very little of the fact that Tony Blair’s mother was actually born on this island. His mother. Irrespective of how you thought about his politics that is a pretty strong link.
And those American cousins. You know the ones who very rarely came ‘home’ because in those days transatlantic travel was extortionate.
The American looking for his roots may be something of a stock character we mock but an American’s Irishness is freely acknowledged.
Being born in England with an English accent and visiting Ireland every single year still leaves us pushing for our Irish identity.
We are, of course, back in the complications of history but Irish American is a recognised thing, whereas what are we?
Yes, there is a basic financial factor in all of this.
We want those American tourists and we want those American employers.
We want them so much we allow your soldiers to transit through our neutral country at Shannon Airport.
We need the dollar. Let’s be honest.
And when this pandemic passes it’s anyone’s guess just how much we will need it.
But over all of that we are Europeans. It is to Europe we look at this desperate time.
It is to the people of Italy and Spain we look during these days of suffering.
Ireland is European. It is not American.
Even with language differences we understand the French and the Dutch.
And even with a language shared Americans bewilder us.
We pity you, of course, being led by an internationally ridiculed President, a man in love with his own vast ignorance, and we hope that man is not your future.
But we don’t understand you.
When this virus broke we queued for toilet roll and you queued for guns.
We are utterly different.
So different, in fact, that I genuinely believe we should be giving those Trump workers our money.
Because, despite who they work for we, in this society, are all in this together and we are not differentiating just because some work for a foreign family of billionaires.
No, they’re in it too.
Of course, it would be more dignified and fairer and noble if the Trumps bailed out their own employees.
Of course, if a family whose pride is their own wealth, whose very existence is their own wealth, thought it classier to meet their own bills we’d appreciate it.
But we behave by our standards, not theirs.
They are, sadly, your shame, not ours.
So, you’re welcome, Trump. Glad to help at this time of emergency.
Glad to give you a few bob.
But if you ever want to put your hand in your pocket, get your round in, please do so.
We tend to do that around here.