Brendan O’Connor: ‘Apocalypse now, and again’

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Brendan O’Connor: ‘Apocalypse now, and again’


Theresa May
Theresa May

It is the year 2040 and the Maybot is gearing up for MV387. She is literally a Maybot at this stage, though her head has been preserved due to the miracle of German engineering, and she can still wear her nice coats due to the ingenuity of French couture.

Life has fallen into a well-worn pattern for the people of Britain. Mondays are indicative votes which all lose. Tuesdays, a hologram of Jeremy Corbyn appears in the house and excoriates the Maybot, while still not giving away whether he is actually for or against Brexit. Wednesdays, John Bercow, now preserved in aspic jelly, wobbles a ruling on how another meaningful vote needs to be different. Thursdays, the ERG Brexiteers wobble too, on whether they will support the deal. They are all pickled in vinegar in a jar. It has made them even more bitter.

Fridays, the EU moves the deadline for a hard Brexit again, and promises that this will be the last extension. Donald Tusk and Michel Barnier beg Britain to decide what they want so that they can all finally die, in a facility in Holland. And on Saturdays, roaming bands of wild-eyed Remainers wearily protest in London.

All other politics has fallen by the wayside now. Throughout Europe, all politicians just keep talking incessantly about Brexit and how bad or otherwise it will be, and how they are prepared for a no-deal. Sinn Fein, also calcified in the past, are still trying to unite Ireland, despite the fact that continuing changes to time zones to keep up with global warming now mean that there is a seven-hour difference between Dundalk and Newry.

The scene in general is, as one UK cabinet minister infamously told BBC’s Newsnight last week, “like the living dead”.

But then again, only a fool would try and predict out to 2040 right now, given that we can’t predict how things will be at 20.40 tonight. Or 21.40, as it now is. One thing we can say for sure is this: there is a slight tendency right now for us to be like the irrational person who wants to get the value when they go to the doctor. Rationally, if you spend 60 quid to be told you’re fine, that’s a good result. But some people walk out a bit miffed that they wasted the money and they don’t have some kind of serious illness. Similarly, we should reassure our Brexity friends that there will be no recriminations if they don’t go through with Brexit in the end, having put us all through the nightmare of the past three years.

They might feel that after all the fuss they’ve caused they should do Brexit so as not to have wasted everyone’s time. But if they turn around now and it turns out it was all in their heads and they’re actually fine, we promise we won’t moan about the wasted three years. We’ll just be glad to get back to normal.

Sunday Independent

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