HERE, in this bleak midwinter of Covid discontent, as hope tumbles like the walls of a condemned tenement, it is vital to understand the commandment tattooed indelibly to official Ireland’s soul.
It is the one that instructs them to say or do anything – ANYTHING – to deflect from the fetid swamp of their serial incompetence.
Take any and every conversation on a wild detour through Waffleville with the sole purpose of swerving attention away from the sinkhole into which they - our inept, spineless, clueless leaders – have steered the nation.
This is the guiding principle of self-preservation, the sacred law governing the universe inhabited by Micheal and Leo, and by Paul Reid, Stephen Donnelly and Simon Harris.
Right now, all their energies are focussed on the need to camouflage the true, gargantuan scandal of a vaccine programme creeping along like a snail on high-grade sedatives.
And also, a need to divert from a schools policy so devoid of intelligence it makes Donald Trump’s fevered delusion that he won the election in a landslide seem half-sane.
This is why Leo suddenly, inexplicably, has off-licence opening hours in his crosshairs.
It is why HSE boss Reid – a civil servant paid a whopping €350,000-per-year – spends his taxpayer-funded time tweeting inane trivia about where in Dublin the first lady vaccinated grew up.
And why our Wizard of Wokedom, Simon Harris, responded to Trump supporters invading America’s temple of democracy by posting a tweet – a pink, broken-hearted emoji next to a Stars and Stripes – that would embarrass a half-formed adolescent aardvark.
This week, there should only be one topic of conversation upon which any government or HSE representative is permitted to speak: Vaccination.
Every minister or public health official should be placed in the dock of public opinion and compelled to explain why they are rolling-out these life-saving injections at such a pathetically slow rate.
The Taoiseach, Tanaiste, Health Minister and HSE boss should be grilled and held accountable every minute of every day for a dysfunctional rate of injecting – one that will needlessly cost lives, shutter struggling businesses and incarcerate the nation for far longer than required in a desolate mental prison.
This is the outrage of our time. But Leo's fixation is with anybody buying a few bottles of Peroni after sundown.
Reid and Martin are actually boasting about having 135,000 people vaccinated by the end of February.
It is the equivalent of bragging that you can get as far as C in the alphabet without consulting any notes.
Israel is vaccinating 150,000 people every day. They have set up 300 vaccination centres which operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week. By this weekend they will have two million people – including almost all over-60s – inoculated.
Even Boris’s Britain and Trump’s America, lampooned for their orgy of administrative chaos, long ago passed the million-mark in terms of vaccinations delivered.
But Ireland plods along as if confusing the most urgent programme of any of our lifetimes with a slow-bicycle race.
Just after Christmas Reid proudly tweeted a picture of two boxes of the Pfizer serum on a forklift, then hid them away in a fridge for a few days.
The Government have tried to blame supply lines, the EU, inefficiencies in the system for the fact that the roll-out is slower than Manchester United's central defence.
Meanwhile, Israel gets on at impressive warp-speed with the business of saving lives.
Back in Ireland, with thousands falling ill every day, with the nation confined to the front room, Leo’s big plan is to introduce night-time prohibition.
Because shutting off-licences an hour or two earlier will make Covid go away.
Never mind that it is a vacuous token gesture, a myopic, idiotic, Big Brother idea which will achieve nothing other than to compel everybody to rush at the same time to buy their sanity-saving bottle of vino earlier in the day.
The end result: More people mixing in tight, confined spaces because of limited opening time. A present to Covid from the great minds in government.
Another ill-considered idea is to ban click and collect food, as if a delivery guy courier moving from house to house interacting with dozens of hungry punters is somehow safer. Who comes up with this stuff?
Perhaps Simon Harris has a suitable emoji to sum up a truth even more disturbing than Wednesday's attempted insurrection in Washington.
It is the one that tells us that, tragically, there is no known vaccine for Official Ireland's stupidity.