Colette Fitzpatrick: 'Meghan's father has forgotten the unconditional love bit about parenting'

The irony of Meghan Markle being painted as a gold-digger as her estranged father tries to lay claim to whatever money she might have is lost on no one.

Thomas Markle is doing the rounds again, convinced his daughter owes him. Remember, she lived with him between the ages of 11 and 18, and he claims to have paid for her education.

Even if he did, isn’t that what parents are supposed to do – that, and not gossip about their children in paid-for interviews? The whole point of parenting is the unequivocal love bit, lavishing attention and love on them and forgoing things yourself to give them opportunity and choice.

You’re not supposed to expect to get anything back.

It’s time Prince Andrew told his side of sordid Epstein scandal

Money, power and privilege determine if you’re ever really bothered by the pesky law.

The most benign way of looking at the “zero cooperation” offered by Britain’s Prince Andrew to US authorities in their investigation into Jeffrey Epstein is that his lawyers or his people have kept the requests from him.

The prince denies he hasn’t responded to requests to answer questions about his alleged sexual encounter with Virginia Giuffre and his relationship with Epstein.

A quick reminder of what he said in that infamous BBC interview – he was “willing to help any appropriate law enforcement agency”.

He also said he would consider giving evidence under oath “if push came to shove and the legal advice was to do so”.

Now that he knows they’d like to talk with him, why can’t he just set up the meeting? It would be that simple.

What about any sort of moral compass and helping the victims at the centre of this to get some form of justice?

What about your word meaning something? What about even doing your family a favour and ending the embarrassing publicity for an already embattled monarchy?

Is Prince Andrew so clueless and removed from what’s unfolding around him that he really doesn’t get how serious this is?

Is he really that detached and uninterested?

Maybe his testimony – what he would actually say about what he saw and did – would be worse than brazening out this megaphone war of words.

Maybe it would appear even more incriminating than that disastrous interview he gave.

Grammys have become so gaudy

The Grammys – a music awards ceremony or a place fashion goes to die?

These days it’s a byword for tacky, tasteless and attention-grabbing.

Chris Brown on the red carpet? Has everyone forgotten what he did to Rihanna’s face a few years ago?

The rig-outs worn? Sorry, barely worn. The garish colours, the flesh on show, the gaudiness of plunging, slashed, split to the thigh, luminous and ripped outfits are painful to observe.

I don’t recognise most people in the most bizarre outfits, but I guess that’s the point. How much further can they go?

We’re a single piece of underwear away from musicians turning up completely buckers.

Let’s see how many promises they keep

It’s the great giveaway. A once-in-a-lifetime chance to win everything. Don’t be worrying about how it’s all being paid for. We’ll worry about that. You’ll be better off, and that’s all that matters.

The political party manifestos are just like the conveyor belt of goodies going by on The Generation Game, but this time they aren’t cuddly toys or a Magimix.

There goes a cut in USC; there’s a hike in the entry point at which you start paying tax; I see a rent freeze; and wow, no property tax.

Look, here comes a promise of free GP care for my kids. There’s even a Green politician holding up an anti-carbon prize (we’re looking at you, Saoirse McHugh).

PJ Mara, the famed Fianna Fail press secretary, wasn’t joking when he said at the start of the 2007 election: “It’s show time.”

We’re the contestants in this reality TV mock-up.  It’s like we’ve clicked our heels and gone back to the height of the Celtic Tiger, when journalists struggled to find the bad news in those Budgets.

Of course, we’re supposed to know better now.

We’re supposed to know politicians make promises they don’t keep, that they say things they don’t mean and do screeching U-turns when faced with difficult decisions.

All of these promises are based on an €11bn war chest that we might have over the coming five years.

In 2007, we thought we’d have way more than we did in the following five years.

The ESRI famously forecast growth for 2008. The think-tank admitted it made a “bad mistake” when it failed to predict the banking crisis.

So, the €11bn of unallocated resources (bye-bye fiscal space, hello unallocated resources) might not be there.

The Irish Fiscal Advisory Council has previously taken issue with Department of Finance figures.

There are other pressures that may reduce that figure – an ageing population, a new public sector pay deal, a global recession or other unforeseen circumstances.

There’s no guarantee of having €11bn to play with.

So, how can the parties possibly claim everything is costed? How can they ask us to trust them that they will have the money?

The best they can say is we might have the money.

What if Brexit is worse than expected? What if it’s really bad? What if there’s no trade deal? What will the parties sacrifice in their manifesto if that’s the case? What will go first? What’s the trade-off?

It’s hard to nail down any party leaders on this. Telling you what’s least important to them might potentially lose voters.

The go-big-or-go-home manifesto is as cross-party as it gets. They’re all at it. The only difference is that some held their poker face a little longer than others.

Remember, we’re all willingly taking part in this political generation game. We roll the dice if we mark the ballot paper based on what jackpot is promised.

Maybe it’s time we all grew up and stopped playing give-away games.

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