Wednesday 18 September 2019

Brendan O'Connor: 'Brexit: It's going well, isn't it?'

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Photo: Reuters
Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Photo: Reuters
Brendan O'Connor

Brendan O'Connor

So Brexit. That's going well, isn't it? Let's have a quick round-up. So the UK economy has gone into reverse, with an unexpected contraction. But rest assured, the Telegraph says, this is not because of Brexit, this is because of the failure to deliver Brexit.

In other news, Boris Johnson is determined to deliver Brexit even if parliament votes him out. So if it does, he is just going to stay in office until Brexit happens. Because to not stay in office having been voted out would involve a betrayal of democracy apparently. In the meantime, the chat this weekend is about how to keep the queen out of it, after suggestions that Jeremy Corbyn might get a taxi to Buckingham Palace to get her to kick out the government, and install him, to helm what we are told would be a Leninist administration.

The queen, they are saying, is not just an ornament. It is fair to say that when we are relying on the royal family to be more than an ornament things are going well. Perhaps we should ask Harry and Meghan to run the country, maybe using inspirational quotes from Instagram, in the absence of a written constitution?

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If the idea of the monarchy being in charge seems to roll things back a few hundred years, then the Brexiteers seem to be harkening back to a different, more recent era. Boris appears to be taking his strategy as PM not just from the Beano, but from the books of Enid Blyton. It's all, 'Come on chaps, buck up!' and 'This could be a jolly jape!' and 'Aunt Fanny says we must all be cheerful and keep our chins up'. Presumably when all the hard work of Brexiting is done, everyone will be rewarded with high tea and lashings of ginger beer.

Or maybe they'll go for the Beano option of slap-up nosh for everyone, usually portrayed as a mound of mashed potato with bangers sticking out of it. And the good news is there will be plenty of bangers. There will, in fact, be a surplus of sausages in the UK after Brexit. We know this because the pro-Brexit UK press likes to lighten up matters like serious food shortages to make them seem more like a wheeze.

So instead of talking about food shortages, they say you might not have any bacon in your fry-up after Brexit but there'll be plenty of sausages. As if Brexit will be a mild inconvenience - a bit of a larf.

Meanwhile, those who believe in symbolism are spoilt for choice. Apocalyptic weather that plunged the UK into power-cut darkness is being jokingly portrayed as someone switching Britain off and on again - and you sense people long that they could do that. And meanwhile we can't swim around Dublin because the sea between Ireland and England is poisoned by large amounts of shite being pumped into it.

Yes, indeed, it's all going very well.

Sunday Independent

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