Friday 18 January 2019

Brexit: All Leo's fault apparently

Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar. Photo: AP
Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar. Photo: AP
Brendan O'Connor

Brendan O'Connor

We should all think long and hard here before we go any further. Do we seriously want to do this again? Having finally wrapped up 800 years of bad blood with the neighbours, having finally had their Queen across the threshold with everyone on their best behaviour, and now with just a few more bits to wrap up, like Gerry Adams's retirement after 100 years at the helm of Sinn Fein, do we really want to kick it all off again?

If this does lead to another 800 years of bad relations, our neighbours will no doubt be blaming Leo Varadkar. But we here in Ireland, we will know that it woz The Sun wot did it. The UK Sun launched a "Hands off our Brexit" broadside against Leo yesterday. "Ireland's naive young prime minister should shut his gob on Brexit and grow up," the editorial thundered. And all we could think was, where do you even begin with that? Leo needs to grow up? Leo is the naive one?

The Sun says Leo "needs to accept what's happening". Which would certainly put Leo a few steps ahead of everyone in the UK, because it would imply he knows what's happening. In terms of accepting it, maybe The Sun should concentrate on getting its own government to accept Brexit first. That might be a start, and the rest of us might consider getting on board then.

Leo's priority, they say, "should not be picking holes in our position". Again, where to start? Never mind that this implies that Leo knows what their position is. The last time we checked the position was that Britain would like to be both outside and inside the EU, the Schrodinger's cat approach to geopolitics. As for the Border? Well, the British would like the Border not to be a border. As for 'picking holes' in this position, 'picking holes' suggests looking very hard to find small flaws in a generally excellent plan. We'd all agree that's not what's happening here.

The grandest flourish, the bit that showed the most complete lack of self-awareness, was the bit that accused Leo of "rookie diplomacy, puerile insults and threats to veto trade negotiations". Leo may base his foreign policy a bit too much around socks and the films of Richard Curtis, but compared to the Brits' recent efforts at international negotiations, he's Henry bloody Kissinger.

Incredibly The Sun then tried to blame Leo for the prospect of a hard Brexit. It's almost as if they think we're the ones who came up with Brexit. Could it really be that they have forgotten that this whole fiasco was their idea in the first place? And now they're blaming us for not making Brexit work for them? Despite the fact that neither we nor they actually know what Brexit is.

It's actually sad to see one of the greatest countries in the world reduced to this.

Sunday Independent

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