Wednesday 13 November 2019

Brendan O'Connor: 'Bring back 'The Good Old Days''

Brendan O'Connor
Brendan O'Connor
Brendan O'Connor

Brendan O'Connor

Just three words for you today. Bring back Brexit. It's on hiatus, and we're missing it already. We're already reminiscing about those good old days when, after 800 years of secretly feeling slightly inferior to the British, we suddenly became the more evolved, enlightened, educated race. We were suddenly the parent and they the errant child. That dynamic of 'Oh you know Paddy. He's great at the books, poems, music and other childish things, but he does like a drink, and he is a bit mad,' flipped, and now we were suddenly the sane ones.

And all those posh boys from posh schools were revealed as infantile numbskulls. All those cut-glass accents and alleged manners and so-called class, were a sham. Us peasants were the ones with the real class.

Not only did we feel all superior, but Brit bashing became a national sport. Public intellectuals were allowed to indulge in a bit of high falutin' racism about the problems with the nature of the Englishman. And no one said a word.

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We spent hours every evening glued to the TV watching them making arses of themselves in their so-called parliament, which was like an updated version of that old TV favourite The Good Old Days. Or a panto. Bercow was straight out of Oliver!, Rees-Mogg was Scrooge-meets-Lord Snooty, and Boris was the real-life version of Vicky Pollard from Little Britain.

And there were no problems in this country. Someone might mutter something about housing now and then, but mainly, we were so busy rubbernecking at the car crash across the water, that we didn't have to give a thought to our problems.

But as Brexit gets put on ice for an election, we're having to turn the spotlight back on ourselves, and we're seeing that our own garden isn't as rosy as it looked next to the Brexitshambles. Our own parliament, where you can be present while also being in Sneem, and where you can vote while having "left the complex", isn't exactly a model of propriety. And meanwhile, one of our most wealthy sportsmen was convicted of punching a man who wouldn't take a drink from him. It's like a scene in a movie where a stereotypical Irish type, played by Tom Cruise, comes into the bar, "And would it be that me whiskey isn't good enough for you, sor!? And is it a ting that you won't take a drop of the hard stuff with the likes of me? Are you too good to be havin' a drop of the crathur with me, sor?! I'll be punching your lights out in Donnybrook, sor."

You could be mistaken, too, for thinking we've forgotten everything we ever knew about emigration and desperation. And it can seem sometimes, as if, from the Border to the islands, sinister forces are bubbling up.

Beggars on horseback, as the Tom Cruise character might say.

Sunday Independent

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