Panis et Circencis

“Wise men speak because they have something to say; fools because they have to say something.”

Panis et Circencis

It is always fascinating to look back in time to reach the conclusion that things haven’t changed much over centuries. Bread and circuses is a famous phrase by the Roman satirical poet Juvenal. His poem goes like this: “Already long ago, from when we sold our vote to no man, the People have abdicated our duties; for the People who once upon a time handed out military command, high civil office, legions — everything, now restrains itself and anxiously hopes for just two things: bread and circuses”. Juvenal shows his despair over the Roman practice of providing free wheat to Roman citizens as well as costly circus games and other forms of entertainment as a means of gaining political power and keep the masses in oblivious content. Nowadays we might not have gladiators and free bread but we do have plenty of light entertainment to keep us amused (and why not? Quiet as well) for a while. Tales of royal weddings modernising an institution as archaic and antidemocratic as you can get whilst the clappers are as happy as if the wedding was one of their own. Media stars turn into politicians that get into trouble offending anyone via twitter ignoring any responsibility that their new role brings. Fast food for the soul in a time when information goes in and out by the power of a click.

The same applies to the delicate Brexit business. On Monday morning trumpets were being tuned all over the continent with the papers ready to kick of the celebrations of a first deal. Today, as like with a castle of cards the wind has blown away, the scene left behind seems as fragile and barren as it always has been. All of this because Ms May decided to hold that General election that left her in need of DUP seats. Lessons to be learned. Do not pact with those who are in the complete opposite political spectrum, It is bound to end badly. The DUP’s veto on the possible agreement over the Ireland and Northern Ireland borders once the UK leaves the EU is a dangerous bluff. A deal is better than a no deal and it cannot be that a few are threating of jeopardising the whole process. Not now that an agreement is so close concerning the divorce bill and the citizens’ rights. I must admit it is somehow lucky DUP veto it as the propose deal was not fair on the whole country. My concern resides is the fragility of this government. Ms May is the PM. As a PM she needs to choose what she wants for the country. If she truly believes that the almost deal was a good one then she needs to speak to everyone else at Parliament and get the rest of the parties behind her. The issue is beyond personal political gains. It a question of shaping the nation you will be after Brexit and this shaping needs to be equal across the UK. In my opinion to even contemplate a different status after Brexit for Northern Ireland is leaving the gates wide open for immediate conflict nationwide.

So if Northern Ireland gets a status closer to the Norway way so should the rest of the United Kingdom but that will mean that is a half way Brexit and I cannot imagine Ms May being able to sell this idea to the hard Brexiteers within her party. There will be uproar. In all these relentless months of divorce pantomime, the focus is being fit in a give and take with the EU to regain control and sovereignty again. If you ask me, as worried as I still am for my own future as EU citizen living here, I think this country needs to define what relationship it wants with the EU and how this relationship will guarantee Ireland that it will not be a hard border without giving Northern Ireland a special status that will compromise the stability of the whole country. Such a difficult task. I am no politician or magician but in my heart I know the answer I would love to give myself: stop Brexit. For once, I don’t mind things staying exactly the way they are. “We all want to believe in impossible things, I suppose, to persuade ourselves that miracles can happen” wrote Paul Auster. Oh well, it is this time of the year again. Wishing for a miracle. Hasta la próxima amigos.

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