So, we’ve safely arrived in Newcastle (County Down) for Christmas, which means I’m statutorily obliged to quote Percy French.
But before we settle into our normal programme of quality control of the cafes and ice cream parlours (it is indeed December, and your point is? Morelli’s is still open), we first paid a lightning visit to some of my Dublin relatives. We thought we’d also take the opportunity on the way back to make the acquaintance in real life of Twitter celebrity, The Irish Border.
This is easier said than done. Clearly too busy tweeting to be actually present on the ground, we crossed where it should have been three times in less than a mile, with no sign of it on the ground.
It’s one thing to talk about a ‘frictionless border’ in the abstract. It’s another to realise that you can come off the dual carriageway on a slip road and cross an international border, only to recross it when coming off the roundabout – and cross it again up the road with no clue that you have done so beyond an unexpected cluster of fireworks sellers and petrol stations suggesting there might be some arbitrage opportunities to be exploited somewhere not entirely clear where in the vicinity.
I’d hoped to get a photo of the change, but we blinked and missed it, so this was the best I could do. Seriously, they make more fuss of the border between England and Scotland.
I was going to make some solemn point about the amazing changes that have taken place since the Good Friday agreement and the dangers of a return to check points and so on, but having seen what it’s currently like on the ground, all I can say is that if we think we can put a functioning border of any description between the Republic and the North, then we’re deluding ourselves. No wonder our Dublin relatives can’t seem to tear their eyes away from the impending disaster.
What an almighty cockup this all is. And a Merry Christmas to you all …