Wednesday 21 August 2019

Frank Coughlan: 'Welcome: This is a Brexit-free zone for now'

 

'In the end, Britain did vote to leave. It's insane and an act of great self-harm, but let them get on with it. But with some sort of a deal in its arse pocket.' Photo: PA
'In the end, Britain did vote to leave. It's insane and an act of great self-harm, but let them get on with it. But with some sort of a deal in its arse pocket.' Photo: PA
Frank Coughlan

Frank Coughlan

I've finally switched off. Literally and metaphorically and every which other way as well.

I am done with Brexit, its endless permutations, its blathering proponents and, to be honest, the hand-wringing doomsayers who seem to be taking far too much pleasure out of the awfulness of it all.

I agree, as most reasonable people do, that it will be bad for Britain and truly awful for us. The old adage that if England catches cold we end up with pneumonia seems to holding fairly steady.

But a sense of perspective is always a good thing. If a fraction of those who are keening like banshees could pick out a backstop in a line-up I might be less inclined to dismiss them.

Or if some more weren't simply relishing the opportunity to exhume latent enmities towards the old enemy because it generates retweets on Twitter, I'd be open to giving them the time of day.

But we're not having an intelligent debate here any more than they are on the other side of the pond, a nation in the grip of a corrosive nationalism fuelled by empire wet dreams.

To even suggest it might be smart realpolitik not to alienate the British government completely is almost seen as treason.

Any attempt to argue that perhaps the EU might abandon us at a time of its choosing and we should spread our bets is considered defeatist.

In the end, Britain did vote to leave. It's insane and an act of great self-harm, but let them get on with it. But with some sort of a deal in its arse pocket.

If we can assist them in upping anchor without losing any more face, while protecting our core interests, we'd be stupid not to. There is always wriggle room. Smart politics is about the art of the possible and never about absolutes of ideologues.

Britain is our next-door neighbour and it's not moving anywhere else anytime soon. They will always matter a lot more to us than we do to them.

That's what they call an irrefutable fact of life.

But that's all being lost in the all the noisy posturing, so it seems a timely moment to take a break from this circus of the macabre.

That means less 'Morning Ireland', more Marty Whelan. I'm even reading my newspapers from the back, concentrating on the sport and working in as far as the feature pages.

I'm a great admirer of RTÉ's Tony Connelly, but whenever his furrowed brow fills my telly screen in the long autumn ahead I'm switching over to Gold.

When light eventually pierces the dense fog, and common sense wins out over the babble and xenophobic static, I'll tune back in.

Until then I'm a Brexit-free zone and I'm the happier for it already. Join me. Membership is free.

Mum of the Year 1 Airport jobsworth 0

The queue through the international airport's humid, teeming and shambolic departures floor snaked slowly towards security. We had time on our side but we were mingling with stressed passengers for a flight due to take off soon if not sooner.

So we ushered a stoic but anxious mum pushing a double buggy out ahead of us.

Eventually we all emerged out at the other side to be met by a staff member who pointed us down a steep stairs to our respective gates.

Clearly unwilling to help the mother with her chariot and cargo, passengers stepped in.

But not before she eyeballed him and declared with calm dignity: "Thanks for your help, d***head."

That cheered us all up. You'll be glad to know my Mum of the Year made her flight.

Irish Independent

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