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EILEEN BATTERSBYponders Robin Hood and Michael Noonan

Kindly heroes are increasingly difficult to find. Aside from Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny, it is now impossible to name an old-style reliable figure, prepared to ease our current woes. But hark, consider Robin Hood. More than ever we need his logic and practical economics; simply take from the rich (ex politicians, bankers and judges) and give to the poor – the rest of us.

Hood, also known as Robyn Hode, appears to have been a 12th century folkloric figure. Although his myth has been subjected to various rewritings and later versions preferred to present him as a dispossessed nobleman, traditionalists – such as Russell Crowe – maintain he was a gruff yeoman who fought in the Crusades under Richard the Lionheart. Forget Hollywood, Robin Hood is mentioned in poet William Langland’s allegorical narrative Piers Plowman dated c.1362–1386.

Whether Hood hailed from Nottingham or south Yorkshire is irrelevant, he was resourceful, enjoyed forest living – suggesting a commitment to the natural environment centuries ahead of his time – although the majestic trees of Sherwood obviously provided dense camouflage, ideal for discerning outlaws.

Despite the conflicting variations of his origins, Hood was no petty criminal and appears to have operated several moral levels above bushranger Ned Kelly or any number of Western anti-heroes such as Billy the Kid, Jesse James or the perennially attractive Butch Cassidy. The sheer decency of Hood, as well as his flair for keeping his Merry Men merry and his superiority in dealing with the dastardly Sheriff of Nottingham ignites hope anew in our over-taxed hearts.

Next week will see the latest and most repellent manifestation of that cruel sheriff, a monotone-voiced descendant named Noonan whose dastardly budget will again place the “new poor”, formerly known as the middle earners, in the stocks. The last grain (metaphorically speaking) will be grabbed from beaten salaries in Ireland while smirking property developers adjust the central heating in the Algarve apartments we bought for them. Shrill, righteous Joan Burton is a grimly unconvincing Maid Marion, having abandoned Hood favour of the flint-hearted Sheriff.

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