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It's a real skill to let others think we're thick as we buy and sell them

IDA boss Martin Shanahan is a great example of why the Irish do well in international business.

While being subjected to a bizarre interview on CNBC's Squawk Box, the public servant displayed all the characteristics that make Irish executives so popular with multi-national firms.

First, he had the judgement to work out his interviewer was a muppet of the highest order, and was not joking when he asked about "Ireland having the pound".

Shanahan then used that other great Irish tactic known as 'being nice to the mentally beleaguered'.

He adopted the smile we all use when a strange man comes up to us at a bus stop and asks us to chat with the people living in his shopping bag - a benign, non-threatening and gentle reaction.

And he kept that smile on while dealing with what must have been the dumbest questions he'd ever been asked.

Lastly, the IDA man applied the uniquely Irish skill of allowing others to think we're thick while we buy and sell them.

During the host's lecture on Ireland and the UK "getting it together" Martin ignored him and used the time for an extended pitch of Ireland as a tourism destination.

The end result was commentators on both sides of the Atlantic praising the Irishman's restraint and castigating the broadcaster's incompetence.

So there you have it - Irish restraint, diplomacy and intelligence making a silk purse from CNBC's sow's ear.

This Brand's damaged

Finally, Russell Brand is being found out. Twitter users around the world have taken to responding to his high-falutin and over-verbose rants with tweets saying 'Parklife!'

The reference is to Blur's 90s hit of the same name, containing lyrics like "It's got nothing to do with your Vorsprung durch Technik yer know. And it's not about you joggers who go round and round...Parklife!"

The song's over-blown lyrics are so close to Brand's dialogue that YouTubers have been mixing up his interviews with the song - with perfect results.

Quite frankly, it's about time people began to kick back at the daft guff this man talks.

He may be nice chap (and anyone I know who has met him says he is) but he goes out of his way to be incomprehensible.

He's a verbal version of a toddler with a powertool - he knows how to find the on-switch but without adult supervision, he's going to hurt himself.

On Newsnight for instance, he described his interviewer as "an audodidact, an Oxford educated economist".

Autodidact means self-taught. So Russell's suggestion is the man went to Oxford, but opted to teach himself? Huh?

This is not eloquence, it's gibberish. There's a physicist in a Kurt Vonnegut novel who says something along the lines of "any scientist who cannot explain his work to a 14-year-old is a charlatan".

Russell seems to be going out of his way to fit that description. As he'd say himself, he's dedicated to confounding the populace through the application of dense layers of masculine masticating-quadruped excrement.

Gender is a deal breaker

Harry Styles (below) has said the gender of his partners matters less than having a sense of humour and "being nice".

He's more open minded than me - comedian Karl Spain is nice to me whenever I see him.

And he's very funny.

But I think the whole 'being a guy' thing will always be a deal-breaker.


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