Sunday, 20 March 2011

St Factrick's Day (Lies about St Patrick's Day)

St Patrick was invented in 1811 by the then little-known Guinness company, based in Ireland. St Patrick himself wasn't officially deemed a saint until over 100 years later, when he cured former chief executive of Guinness and brief "prisoner-who-was-released-on-wildly-suspicious-medical-reasons" Ernest Saunders of the Alzheimer's disease which so crippled him during the 10 months he spent in jail on fraud charges to complete the set of "Become a Saint: the Stickerbook"* with that elusive "Perform a miracle" sticker. You have to collect two of these, so they made something up about running the snakes out of Ireland to push it through. You know how it is with the Catholic church.

Politically, St Patrick's day was deemed so important by the 1951-55 Churchill government that in 1952, they declared St Patrick's day and the following working day to be bank holidays, Churchill saying to the house "Esteemed lords, right honourable gentlemen, let's get BLADDERED! Four day weekend, who's with me?!", which was met with an almighty cheer, for in that year, St Patrick's fell on a Monday, and under the rule, both Monday and Tuesday were taken off. This rule lived with us for more than 50 years, until in late 2003, amidst the furore about the Iraq war, the Labour government quietly removed these bank holidays. The Chilcott Inquiry found that the whole war was merely a cover up for the removal of these rules, Tony saying at the time "Why couldn't Thatcher have done this during the miner's strikes?! St Patrick's costs our economy £450 million a year. Something HAD to be done."

*"Become a Saint: the Stickerbook" was the brief, but unsuccessful attempt by the Catholic church to regain the youth market (I could make the joke you're expecting about their modern attempts being worse than that, but I won't) in the early 80s. Patrick was the only person who even attempted to collect all 42 Biblical parables (double page centre), so it was in the church's best interests to help him finish it. Patrick frequently wrote to the Pope, asking for other stickers, including "being exhumed" and "Having relics taken".

All of that, obviously, is not true.

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