YOU’D be red, white and blue in the face from trying to keep up with Boris Johnson, the Tories and their ever-changing attitude to the Northern Ireland Protocol. Even though Bojo negotiated the thing, having rejected a Theresa May deal that was better for the Union, he is now looking to renege on it entirely.
How do you negotiate with people you wouldn’t trust to take care of your cat for the weekend?
Worse still, the conservative government is now siding with the DUP again, having stabbed them in the back I don’t know how many times. The DUP is now holding democracy hostage in the North and seems to be more than happy to do the bidding of their overlords, a pawn in the EU/UK chess game. They remind me of one of those mistreated dogs that keeps returning to its owner looking for affection.
The problem with people who go back on their word repeatedly, of course, is that it gets so very exhausting and confusing having to deal with them. Eventually, you are in danger of losing the will to challenge them because they have been so brazen in their dishonesty. The temptation to let them roll you over looms large. This is what happens when trust and decency are corroded entirely and carefully constructed sandcastles fall apart, in this instance a painstaking peace process that took many great statesmen and women an enormous amount of effort, energy and skill to put together in the first place.
This is why calm heads and slow, deliberate diplomacy have never been more important, and why our officials should not be worn down by a belligerent and, frankly, unprofessional UK government. If anyone can engage in something slow and deliberate it’s the EU, in all fairness.
There is obviously a longer game at play here. A report this week pointed to Northern Ireland’s increased economic performance since the Protocol was introduced, resulting directly from their ability to trade freely within the EU and the UK, a situation most small countries would sell their mother for. Ironically, if this sort of economic growth were to be sustained, it could be the DUP’s best chance of retaining the Union going forward. Who wants a United Ireland if Northern Ireland becomes an economic powerhouse by virtue of its ability to play in two superleagues at once?
But like most forms of reality – evolution or a woman’s right to bodily integrity being but two examples – the DUP seem to be insistent on going the way of the dinosaurs. And we all know what happened to them.
Ah, my own lovely city!
I’M almost ashamed to say it but last weekend was my first time walking around Cork city centre for about a decade. I have no idea how that happened.
The only association my kids have with Cork city is Jack Lynch who they only know as a tunnel and the Smyth’s superstore that they shout at from a distance every time we zoom by it on the bypass.
As a youngster, the city was a Mecca for me where cassette tapes of Guns N’ Roses and computer games could be found.
As I grew older it became the place we would venture as teens to browse the guitar shops and paw the windows of Crowley’s music centre, dreaming of being able to afford a Fender Stratocaster. And then I spent a short time living there in my 20s that wasn’t so great, when I fell out of love with the place, if I’m honest.
But last weekend, I gotta say, the place has never looked better. To say the city has embraced outdoor dining is an understatement. There was a veritably continental vibe as I walked the streets early Saturday evening.
They say the Cork accent is highly influenced by the Huguenots, even our use of the term “la”, coming directly from “là”. So maybe it’s in the genes? Because Cork certainly had an air of Paris about it at the weekend.
Still not appy with it all
I’M sorry if anyone was trying to get in touch with me during the early part of last week but I was involved in a small experiment.
You see, I was wondering if it might be possible to avoid all mentions of both the John C Depp II v. Amber Laura Heard trial in the US and the Wagatha Christie trial in the UK. It did not go well.
I tried everything – deleting all social media apps from my phone, mindful meditation, severing the fibre optic cable coming into the house … I even hid in the large mound of pampas grass at the bottom of my garden in an effort to get away from the noise and nonsense emanating from every orifice of the media.
Yet here I am, a week later, and somehow I seem to have ingested by osmosis everything that happened in each case. Resistance is futile.