Captain May's HMS Brexit-means-Brexit sailing around in perpetual circles
And so, Captain Wobbly May wobbles on for a while yet. Badly holed below the water line, her ship miraculously remains afloat – just. Directionless and running out of steam, afflicted with a mutinous motley crew, HMS Brexit-means-Brexit sails around in perpetual circles and, with each successive EU rebuff, it cuts an increasingly sorry sight. Yet Wobbly steadfastly refuses not only to abandon ship, she also stubbornly refuses to leave the bridge for fear of who might commandeer her stricken vessel.
Lurking astern, the duo of Lieutenant Johnson and First Officer Rees-Mogg, (ably assisted by midshipman Dodds and petty officer Wilson), connive and plot their next dastardly move to oust the doughty Captain May, seize the bridge and steer the shabby ship onto the rocks. Desperate for help to fight the mutineers off, Captain Wobbly appeals to her fellow captains on board the other 27 gleaming vessels of the majestic EU fleet. Help! SOS! ‘Allo ‘Allo, is there anybody there? Silence. Then, loud and clear, back comes the unmistakeable voice of none other than Admiral Juncker of the EU High Command. “Listen very carefully, I shall say zis only once…ve vill not renegotiate the Vithdrawal Agreement, ve vill not remove the backstop, ve vill not abandon our smallest and most precious ship in the fleet, Le Irelande. Over and out”.
Captain May is heart sore and drained, but all is not yet lost. She is still in command and can at least set a course for London port where she can take shelter from the Brexit storms over Christmas, carry out some urgent repairs to her badly battered boat and re-group. Her most trusted advisers, Lieutenants Hammond and Rudd, assure her that the weather at sea after Christmas will be more favourable after everyone has had a jolly holiday, a few sherries and a feed of turkey and ham. The aides-du-camp at No 10 will get to work on isolating further the Brexmuteers with more threats of ‘No deal, then no Brexit’, and Lt Hammond is sure the troublesome Dupers can be wooed with an offer of more cash for wee Norn Iron, and a possible Caribbean cruise for them all, (excluding Ian), if they roll over on the hated backstop.
Reluctantly, too battered and bruised to further resist, Captain May heads back to home port. She now knows for certain that a third of her crew want rid of her but takes comfort from the fact that two thirds are happy to see her stay on as the main Brexit punch bag, to take all the flak and shoulder all the blame when the whole show finally goes belly up and her ship sinks. The 200 or so loyal crew must truly be her friends. She thinks that they want her to stay – at least until HMS Brexit-means-Brexit is decommissioned in March 2019. But Hammond has wise words of caution for Wobbly as he is heard to whisper in her ear: “With friends like these, Captain, who needs enemies.”
Omagh, Co Tyrone
Spare a thought for those not born in Republic
As a Welsh person living in the north, I voted to remain in the European Union. I feel immensely proud that the people of East Derry, which includes me, a French and Welsh speaker and with a brother who lives and works in Austria, we Europhiles defeated Pro-Leave MP Gregory Campbell right here on his own patch.
I am also immensely proud that, as a Plaid Cymru card holding member, it was our very own Liz Saville-Roberts MP who got up and spoke Gaelige in the House of Commons for the first time in a century. And she did it with Gregory Campbell sat right behind her. That certainly curried his yoghurt.
With Brexit looming however, and my right of EU citizenship rapidly disappearing, I have investigated the possibility of applying for Irish citizenship through my wife. The process is far from easy. And with an initial €175 fee, followed by a €950 citizenship fee, solicitor’s costs and a passport application at the end, the whole process (if successful) would be around €1,500.
How incredible it is then, that Leavers like Gregory Campbell and Ian Paisley jnr, both quite happy to deny me my European citizenship, can retain theirs simply by the fact that they were born on the island of Ireland. And how much more incredible it is that Sinn Féin still abstain from the UK parliament on what is not a British issue, but a European and (hence an) Irish one.
The north of Ireland does not need Conservatives. It is truly blessed with plenty of its own Selfservatives. In East Derry, under First Past The Post, we are essentially left with a choice between Gregory Campbell’s narrow views or Sinn Féin’s abstentionism. We are light years away from democracy.
Tagann mé ón mBreatain Bheag ach tá cónaí orm in Éirinn.
Portrush, Co Antrim
‘Salient facts’ about Israel
The Irish News published a rant against Israeli Jews under the heading ‘Some salient facts about those who founded the Zionist state’ (December 13)
The letter concludes that land-thieving, oppressive and foreign-born Jews have no ethical or moral right to a state.
We are ‘informed’ that Benjamin Netanyahu is the first Israeli prime minister to be born in Israel. A ‘salient fact’ that is simply untrue. Yitzchak Rabin – born in Jerusalem – preceded him by more than two decades.
Here are some salient facts about Israel for your readers to consider: Israel is now home to over eight million people – and has absorbed a larger proportion of refugees than any other country in the world. They came to Israel as a result of persecution in eastern Europe. They found freedom in Israel from the displaced persons camps after the mass genocide of the Holocaust.
Almost a million Jewish refugees came as a result of expulsion from Arab lands in the late 1940s and 1950s – the forgotten refugees of the Middle East. A similar number emigrated to Israel following the collapse of the despotic Soviet Union.
Tens of thousands of refugees escaped to Israel from famine in Ethiopia.
And these refugees built the only country in the Middle East described as democratic and free by Freedom House, a monitor of political and civil rights around the world.
Northern Ireland Friends of Israel, London
EU is no Santa Claus
John Dallat MLA (December 18) rightly castigates the ‘Little Englanders’, of the Tory Party living in their fantasy world, but the EU is not the benevolent Santa Claus that the Irish politicians would have us believe. Ireland with 1 per cent of the EU population has been lumbered with 40 per cent of the banking collapse debt and is paying €20m per day in interest. Yet in Ireland, shamefully, 10,000 people are homeless or living in sheltered accommodation this Christmas.
Yes, the farmers did well out of it in the past but not our decimated fishing industry.
The EU has become too bureaucratic instead of the free trading alliance it was meant to be. It is dominated by the French and Germans.
Manorhamilton, Co Leitrim
In reply to Colin Nevin’s letter – ‘Food for thought at Christmas’ (December 19) – in which he asks how can the Churches reconcile the practice of having Christmas trees, I say bah humbug Colin. I’m glad I’m not going to your house for Christmas dinner.
Toomebridge, Co Antrim