Sir Howard O’Elston, our diplomatic editor, on the latest obstacle to Euro peace in our time.
I am standing on the outskirts of Cluanieville East, a village split in half by the Irish/ Northern Ireland border (writes Sir Howard). In more sedate times, the hamlet is a serene but bustling place. Farmers take their grapefruits to market, little kids hop off to Clunieville East’s Saint Ugg of the Mud Primary School and muscled workers clock on at the gates of Cluanieville East Works on the Muckiedowne Road making computer chips for Chinese laptops.
But now it is a tempestuous cauldron of doubt and fear. And it’s all because 53 percent of this peaceful village is in the Republic of Ireland, the other 43 percent in Northern Ireland, the remaining 12 percent somewhere in the middle.
It is here that the flashpoint begins (hurriedly scribbles Sir Howard as he polishes off a chip butty and half a gill of Bushmills Triple Sec as he brazenly cuts and pastes copy from The Irish Times). For if Britain is to successfully leave the sunny uplands of EU-land, it must figure out what to do about this thorny border problem.
But first some vital context: After King Billy sailed over the Irish Sea to reclaim Ireland from the Irish, Tony Blair signed off the Good Friday agreement in 1998 which promised open borders and all episodes of Father Ted every night on 5-Live Classic Gold on Channel 823 on Sky. Peace reigned supreme with both sides burying their weapons in the Donegal sand dunes.
But now the border crisis has reared its ugly head. Sources deep within Whitehall today tell me top level bureaucrats have held hush-hush, 1-2-1, in camera, behind closed doors, confidential meetings with White House experts on how to build a new modern national border.
- the Great Wall of China,
- The Siegfried Line,
- The Maginot Line,
- The Mason Dixon Line
- The Rock Island Line
- and Trump’s very own highly successful Mexican Wall
This new design will create happiness, contentment and security for communities on both sides of the border. Glasses of Guinness will be raised, leprechauns will dance and an ethereal rainbow with a pot of Kerry gold will bless the Emerald Isle (until the next crisis).
The Westminster source told me: “Mrs May is happy. So are the Irish politicians in the Dublin parliament whose name no one can spell“.
“And I know,”she continued, “that the Prime Minister’s pals in the fire-breathing Northern Ireland DUPE party that hold up her creaky government are happy too though they have their usual bile erupting from their mouths every seven seconds.”
“And one more thing,” she opined, “Trumpie Pie gets a 5% bonus for handing over his superb Road Map to Mexico master plan.”
Phil, a North Yorkshire plumbing merchant and an Irish affairs expert, added: “Northern Ireland? Give it back.”