Insider thought she lived on an island called Ireland and in a state called the Republic of Ireland. However, Insider recently realised she is wrong. According to The Marian Finucane Show, His Excellency John Bruton, and sundry officially sanctioned happenings - from Enda Kenny's Brexit gas-passing shop to events celebrating Irish classical composers - Insider now realises she in fact lives on an island called Island.
It is an island which has no name (notice how in recent times the term 'All-Ireland' and 'the island of Ireland' have been dropped in favour of All-Island, eg, the All-Island Brexit forum, the Composing The Island concerts, etc, ) or at least no name she should ever mention at, say, one of those merlot soaked dinner parties she often attends - in the interests of marital harmony - at which there is always in attendance at least one guzzler who considers Minister for Public Expenditure, Pascal O’Donoghue, to be this island’s greatest living intellectual (with the possible exception of Brendan O’Connor of RTÉ light entertainment fame ).
The majority of those who pretend to rule this island have a peculiar difficulty in that, deep within their little selves, they cherish one belief above all others: that the country they purport to rule should not really exist.
Last year, Irish Independent columnist and generally acceptable face of the pseudo-left, Colette Browne, almost burst into flame when, during the stand-off between the democratically elected Syriza government in Athens, and the forces of big money and general evil at the heart of the EU and ECB, one wag on Twitter suggested that Enda Kenny “is a pragmatist in the sense that Marshal Pétain was a pragmatist.”
To be clear, it was not suggested that Enda was in favour of deporting Jews to extermination camps. What the Tweet meant was that Enda perhaps has more temperamentally in common with the late marshal, who cut a deal with the invading forces of the Third Reich in 1940, than he does with the French Resistance who took to the countryside and killed as many of the occupying German forces, and their French collaborators – the political predecessors of the Le Pen movement – as was humanly possible.
It was a difficult choice, and as my late mother might say, there was for and against on both sides, but Insider does not foresee any circumstances in which Enda Kenny would lead Fine Gael into the Dublin mountains and begin a terror campaign against the occupying forces, whoever those occupying forces might be. Enda is a guy who cuts whatever deal is on the table; it's who he is.
In common with all Fine Gaelers, and everyone in Fianna Fáil bar Galway West TD Eamon Ó Cuív, Enda is, if not formally opposed to the existence of the Irish State, certainly embarrassed by it. In this context, the suggestion that, post-Brexit, UK immigration authorities might conduct their business at Irish ports and airports should come as no surprise - all in the interests, of course, of avoiding the installation by the evil Tories of a hard border between the southern and northern parts of this country - sorry, I mean, island.
It is a suggestion of which Marshal Pétain would be proud because, like most of the Irish ruling class, the hero of the battle of Verdun understood one thing - the only way national sovereignty can be retained is by giving it away enthusiastically.
Nothing turns on your average Sinn Féin/Clare Daly/Paul Murphy hating Irish centro-sensibilist like giving away a bit of national sovereignty. Truth is, most of them believe there is nothing we currently decide for ourselves that could not be better decided for us by others - be it their beloved British Empire, with whose demise they have yet to come fully to terms (something they oddly share with the more deranged wing of the Tory Party ); or the European Commission insisting we keep water charges; or the European Central Bank telling us to sack special needs assistants so we can pay French and German bondholders in Anglo Irish Bank.
What is known in EU legalese as the “derogation of sovereignty” excites these people more than the Irish rugby team hammering the All Blacks, more than Mayo winning the All-Ireland, more, even, than the thought of a Donald Trump/Hillary Clinton sex tape.
These political realists – from Leo Varadkar on the right through Jim O’Callaghan in the-all-kinds-of-everything middle, all the way over to Ivana Bacik on the not exactly left - are the true political geniuses of our time. They know stuff that little people like Insider will never be able to comprehend. They know there is no alternative to letting the US military - and indeed whoever succeeds them as the premier military power in the world - make liberal use of our airports. Otherwise, American fascists with terrible hair styles will no longer invest in hotels in County Clare, and Apple may think about using some other, even more compliant, little island, to avoid paying tax, which anyway, we would only waste on special needs assistants and building homes for the increasing numbers of homeless.
In the far sunny future, when the Chinese military start taking tortured prisoners through Shannon on their way to secret prisons somewhere, our political realists will know that this must be allowed, otherwise the Chinese Communist Party might pull its planned investment in a toothpaste-top factory near Athlone. And Fintan O’Toole, if his batteries have not run out by then, will write anguished articles in the by then exclusively on-line Irish Times about our political class’s supine compliance with the new Chinese imperialism.
However, if anyone actually proposes doing something about our post-colonial governors’ tendency to collaborate with every available occupier, Fintan will be switched off and the great minds of this pragmatic little island will rally and declare what we all know to be true, that the greatest threat to this fantastic little set-up they have going for themselves is not their partners in the EU, ECB, the Parachute Regiment, the CIA, or the Communist Party of China, but greedy gardaí, revolting school teachers, and a possible future government including Sinn Féin, People Before Profit, Luke ‘Ming’ Flanagan, and all that shower.