Friday 18 October 2019

Brendan O'Connor: 'Coleen to solve Banville mystery'

Coleen Rooney (Peter Byrne/PA)
Coleen Rooney (Peter Byrne/PA)
Brendan O'Connor

Brendan O'Connor

As EU and UK negotiators enter the so-called tunnel, let’s be under no illusions as to what is going on here. Indeed, in case we were unsure of what’s going on, The Telegraph helpfully signalled it to us in two almost identical opinion pieces on Friday. While you may think this is a UK climb-down, that Boris has blinked, in fact, if there is a deal done in the next week, the UK will have won.

Northern Ireland has held the UK back for too long, is the coded message to Boris’s base; it’s too expensive, even more expensive than being in the EU. So not only is the UK exiting the EU, it is beginning the process of exiting Northern Ireland. If the EU and the Republic want it so badly, let them have it, is the message, and let them pay for it. Brexit has become Nornexit.

Fans of a united Ireland are licking their lips, thinking that — as sure as night follows day — politics follows economics, and if NI becomes economically ours it will soon be politically ours. Just the small matter of some referendums first. And what could possibly go wrong? We can all vote with our hearts for a vague concept of taking back control, and sure we can work out the details afterwards, right? And if anyone asks what a united Ireland will mean, they can be told: “United Ireland means United Ireland.”

While the negotiations are being conducted in the secretive ‘‘tunnel’’, it has leaked that negotiators have requested that Coleen Rooney come to Brussels to help them work things out. Rooney is much in demand after she emerged last week as apparently the last competent person in the world. Sources say local councils all over Ireland have decided to stop paying protection money to local drug dealers and now want to pay Coleen Rooney for protection instead. They say knowing they had Coleen on their side would make them much more confident of getting their housing projects completed.

Meanwhile, the Nobel Prize committee has also called in Rooney to help solve the mystery of the hoaxer who rang poor John Banville to tell him he had won the Nobel Prize for literature. A Nobel source said last night: “Coleen might not be familiar with the work of Banville, or his crime-writing alter-ego Benjamin Black, but in terms of hoax electronic communications, she has a very particular set of skills; skills she has acquired over a very long career. Skills that make her a nightmare for people like Rebekah Vardy and whoever made this hoax call.”

And indeed, let’s hope we’re not all a bit like poor John Banville this weekend, sitting here in a fool’s paradise thinking Brexit is all sorted and everything’s going to be fine. Just like him, sitting there, for 45 minutes thinking he’d won the Nobel Prize. Ouch.

Sunday Independent

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