Friday 14 December 2018

How the Irish broke Brexit

Ireland's Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar looks on at a news conference at Government Buildings in Dublin, Ireland December 6, 2017. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne
Ireland's Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar looks on at a news conference at Government Buildings in Dublin, Ireland December 6, 2017. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne
Brendan O'Connor

Brendan O'Connor

Before we were even properly awake last Friday morning, we had decided it meant a soft Brexit, barely a Brexit at all really. We were triumphant. Not only had we got what we wanted, but we had, as Fintan O'Toole was putting it by 10am, saved the British from the madness of a hard Brexit.

So not only had we saved ourselves, we had saved the Brits from themselves as well. Because we love them really, the cattiness of the last few weeks notwithstanding. We almost convinced ourselves that we did it all for them, that we weren't too pushed about our own borders, but we couldn't stand idly by and watch our dear friends and neighbours commit that appalling act of self-harm, so we came up with this elaborate ruse that would force them into a soft Brexit.

Last Friday, we clearly hadn't learnt any lessons about triumphalism. Leo proclaimed the deal "bulletproof". As if anything is bulletproof in this world. The earlier part of the week was swiftly forgotten.

Earlier in the week we had been looking around for people to blame for the earlier deal falling through. It was Simon's fault for premature enunciation on Morning Ireland. It was the Unionists' fault for not knowing what was good for them. The Unionists, meanwhile, were blaming Leo for not letting them see the deal. He had, it was said, been playing his cards too close to his vest. The vest got a bit of blame too. The vest showed no sense of occasion or history, unless you meant, as someone pointed out, the history of acid house fashion circa the early 1990s. Even RTE's Tony Connelly was being blamed at one point, for the crime of having a good leak.

Tony and Tommie were on the news all week on split screen, like Statler and Waldorf, trying to decipher where it went from here. The truth is they or anyone else weren't too optimistic of an early solution. And then bang, overnight, Leo got as lucky as Micheal got two weeks before, and we were the saviours of Europe and the UK. We started thinking maybe we should have a go at saving the Yanks from themselves next.

We always knew this Brexit thing was crazy. We always knew they should just do the decent thing and go back and vote again. We were even willing to countenance Jeremy Corbyn as PM if it meant a soft one. And it turned out we were right. And, of course, everyone kept telling us the future of the whole thing was in our hands, which we didn't half enjoy, after 800 years of you know what. We didn't even have to negotiate. As Leo, puffed up on polls and his sheer good luck, kept pointing out, it was up to the Brits to find the solution, we would just give it the thumbs up or down.

We're high as kites. Let's hope it stays fine for us.

Sunday Independent

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Don't Miss