October 4, 2023
News Opinion

MICHAEL WOLSEY: I’ll make my New Year move when I find this wonderful land

Somewhere over the rainbow is a land called Other Jurisdictions. I can’t find it on the map and my satnav is no help, but I intend to keep looking, for it is a wonderful place.

Everything in Other Jurisdictions works better than in Ireland, according to some industry representatives, many media commentators and all Sinn Féin spokespersons.

The Covid pandemic has been handled much better in Other Jurisdictions. So obviously this outstanding land  can’t be in Austria where the government felt obliged to make vaccination mandatory. Or in France where new curfews have been imposed in some cities and very tight restrictions introduced at airports.

Covid restrictions are far less severe in Other Jurisdictions, unlike Ireland where the Government, out of pure spite, has decided to destroy the hospitality industry, ruin the life of entertainers and spoil sport for everyone.

So clearly Other Jurisdictions can’t be in Wales where the regional government has ordained that sports events must take place behind closed doors, or in Scotland where Nicola Sturgeon cancelled the celebrations for Hogmanay, Scotland’s booziest, grooviest night of the year.

But everyone knows why they have handled the pandemic so well in Other Jurisdictions. It’s because their health system is so much better than the poor old HSE.

In which case Other Jurisdictions can’t be in Italy where, at one stage, they were treating patients in the car parks of overflowing hospitals. Or in Australia, where the biggest city was sealed off for most of 2021 because its intensive care wards were full.

The thing is, they plan everything so much better in Other Jurisdictions. When they make a decision they
stick to it.

So obviously Other Jurisdictions can’t be in Sweden where they originally planned to have no Covid restrictions at all but have now introduced rules that are much the same as Ireland’s. Or in neighbouring Denmark,which had announced an end to all Covid curbs but has now closed concert halls, theatres, cinemas, museums, galleries, community centres, zoos, casinos and amusement parks. And you can’t buy alcohol there after 10pm, not even to take away.

If you think Other Jurisdictions might be located north of the border, think again. In Northern Ireland, where Sinn Féin is in government, the infection rate has been running at two to three times that of the Republic. The Executive has reluctantly introduced rules similar to those that apply here and may tighten them  when they  work out what Boris Johnson is doing in England. They  could be waiting a while.

In the meantime my hunt for Other Jurisdictions will continue.  In that great land they drink less, exercise more and eat better than us poor slobs in Ireland. Their schools are better run, their transport more sustainable, nobody is homeless and people are dancing in the streets, not sleeping on them.

But here’s an amazing thing. The United Nations has conducted a survey of 189 countries and decided that Ireland is the world’s second best place to make your home.

The UN Human Index report  ranked Ireland Very High for quality of life, just ahead of Switzerland, Iceland and Germany.

The index is measured by health, education and income. Yes, health. In Ireland life expectancy, for anyone born now, is 82.3 years. The chart topper here is Hong Kong with a  life expectancy of 84.9 years.

It’s the time of year for such international stock taking. So here’s another list to ponder: Ireland has been named ‘Best Good Country in the World’ by the Good Country Index which says we have made the greatest contribution to humanity and the planet.

The survey ranked 125 countries by combining 35 separate indicators from the United Nations, the World Bank and other international institutions.

Ireland topped the league. The UK came seventh. Other Jurisdictions didn’t get a look-in. But surely it must have made that UN table?  If Ireland came second, good old OJ must be top of that one.

So is my search over? Can I now start packing for my move to Other Jurisdictions? Sadly, no. According to the UN Human Index, the best country in the world is Norway.

The hunt for Other Jurisdictions continues. With luck I may have found it by this time next year.

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