Friday 23 August 2019

Brendan O'Connor: 'A whole article not mentioning It'

Leo Varadkar greeted Angela Merkel in Dublin. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA
Leo Varadkar greeted Angela Merkel in Dublin. Photo: Brian Lawless/PA
Brendan O'Connor

Brendan O'Connor

You wonder if we should just start ignoring It. There is a theory that when a child is behaving badly, and you give out to it, then the child is incentivised to keep behaving badly because it is being rewarded with the thing we all crave the most - attention.

And maybe that's what we have been doing all this time by giving It all the attention. We've just been incentivising everyone to keep It going. And I mean everyone. European functionaries like Tusk and Barnier have never felt so important and beloved, although the fellah who allegedly likes a drink appears to have been spirited away to the sidelines slightly. Even Mutti Merkel is enjoying It. She's on the wane at home, but anytime she needs a boost she can just come here and we'll fawn all over her, as long as she makes the right noises about standing with us (we're enjoying the attention ourselves, in fairness).

Our politicians are enjoying It too. For one thing, it means they don't have to do anything else. Literally nothing. God knows what they've done by way of running the country recently. Nobody cares. They don't have to fire anyone. They don't have to have an election. They don't have to dig up Ranelagh. They can do, or not do, whatever they want, as long as they distract from any uncomfortable moments by talking about It.

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And as for the Brits themselves, they've gone down such an obsessive rabbit hole now that they actually won't know how to function when normality is restored, if it ever is. And all the time It's being rewarded with attention. So let's start ignoring It. And face it, if It's going to trundle on for another year under the flexitarian approach, then it's time we started getting on with our lives anyway.

There were signs last week that we were starting to show an interest in other things. What about the dog who got the train? He even trumped the monkey found with the guns and drugs in Finglas, which sounded like something from the Hangover movies (to clarify: the monkey didn't necessarily have the guns and drugs in his possession). Then we saw Leo's letter to Kylie, which was like something from the Richard Curtis movies. We got a good few days out of that. John Delaney is the gift that keeps on giving, while Mick Jagger needing new batteries installed distracted us even more than the Airbnb hidden camera in Cork, which in turn distracted us even more than the porn-star garda, and the porn-star doctor and nurse, who it turned out weren't from Beaumont, which we should have known because there were no people on trolleys visible in the background.

All in all, as you can see, we have very full lives. We can afford to ignore It for a while, and who knows, maybe they'll get bored then and sort It out.

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