Happy Brexmas from Kevin McAleer
We’re going to need the border again, if anyone can remember where we left it, to stop EU immigrants using the same back door that Tyrone uses to win all-Irelands
Kevin McAleer: I’ve been scanning the entrails of the southern horizon for portents of post-Brexit doom. The sky hasn’t fallen down and the leaves are still on the trees, but of course all that could change by the autumn, when David Cameron becomes the new leader of the Labour Party and British troops occupy the GPO and take back their country
Brexit has winners and losers, just like any other European sports competition played by millionaires. One small but deeply significant minnow completely overlooked in the whole debate so far has been me. As an occasional contributor to this newspaper, paid in euros but living deep in the West Tyrone constituency of New Brexitland, I’m as happy as a loyalist as the queen’s shilling weakens by the hour and gallops towards parity with the euro. Onwards and upwards.
As such I am grateful to the plain people of Sunderland who voted Leave in their millions, still understandably angry with Angela Merkel following their team narrowly avoiding relegation from the Premier League in May. Their anger will be well understood by the people of Ireland at this time, having just been ordered to leave the Euros immediately by the French, despite a blatant handball by Henry XI in 1798. If a referendum was called tomorrow, no one doubts that the Irish people would vote overwhelmingly to remain in the competition.
Looking at the boring bigger picture for a moment, we need to understand where the whole Leave phenomenon comes from, before we can cleverly turn it to our personal financial advantage as I have done. Brexit is derived from the ancient Greek word Grexit meaning “to take back control of one’s country” and may also be related to the old Irish “Brits Out” meaning Slán Abhaile. Brexit is not to be confused with Wotsit, the lighter-than-air cheesy puff containing corn, acid, rapeseed oil, flavour enhancer and salt, apart from the fact that the two words rhyme slightly, like some latter-day Hope and History.
My own domain of West Tyrone is actually staunchly Remain territory, right up there with London, Derry and Scotland. Since the vote, I’ve been scanning the entrails of the southern horizon for portents of post-Brexit doom. The sky hasn’t fallen down and the leaves are still on the trees, but of course all that could change by the autumn, when David Cameron becomes the new leader of the Labour Party and British troops occupy the GPO and take back their country, supported by lorry loads of Brexiteers from East Belfast. We’re going to need the border again, that much is obvious, if anyone can remember where we left it, to stop the thousands of EU immigrants flooding from the South, using Northern Ireland as a back door to the UK, the same back door that Tyrone uses to win all-Irelands against the democratic wishes of the other 31 counties.
Once they have breached the border, the millions of refugees, triggering their Article 50s and desperate to escape the EU but too lazy to hold their own referendums, will make a beeline for the Leave-friendly shores of East Antrim and swim or sail to England and freedom, taking care to avoid the treacherous rocks of Remain-infested Scotland.
And what of the train line from Belfast to Dublin? People will have to pay to travel between the two places, and inspectors will have to roam the corridors checking tickets and enforcing the ridiculous EU no-smoking ban between Dundalk and Connolly Station. On the bright side, the Ulster Scots have had their national identity clarified once and for all. Having voted Leave, they can now look across to the spiritual motherland of independent EU Scotland and thank god they’re surrounded by water.
All this is fairly clear, but what of the Irish economy? The financial experts in the know all broadly agree that no one knows what will happen next. Currency fluctuations will mean that goods in the UK and Ireland will be less expensive for importers to export, but cheaper for exporters to import, and vice versa, so the whole thing should balance itself out. Anyone thinking of buying a house should wait until tomorrow.
Finally, the €60,000 (£59,000) question – could the withdrawal of EU funds have a significant effect on the fragile peace process? I believe it will. Statistics show that almost all sectarian killings in the North over the past 400 years can be directly linked to failed applications for cross-community funding projects by paramilitaries on both sides. The withdrawal of these long, convoluted application forms will do a lot to reduce interface tensions, as we approach the sensitive marching season. Happy Brexmas.