The MP for Camden, Sir Keir Starmer, had been due to join us on the 30th but had to pull out, which was a shame - something about Brexit, apparently. Surely that cannot be taking up so much time! What can there be to say that has not already been said? I know, we’ve now moved way beyond humour into a far more difficult land of claim and counter claim, and who said what, and ‘transitions’ and ‘back stops’ and ‘back stops behind back stops,’ into an Alice in Wonderland world, and I wonder if there is anyone left who understands it all - certainly not me.
That said, I feel mildly encouraged by the fact that one of the major stumbling blocks to progress appears not to be about the rate of exchange or euro politics but about the people of an island called Ireland which comprises two countries, Ireland and Northern Ireland which share a recent troubled history. At some point in the 1970’s a bomb exploded in a waste bin in - yes, you guessed it - Flitcroft Street, and damaged some of the glass in the west end of the church; we still have the invoices to prove it. Surely we don’t want anything like that again, anything which might cause old hostilities to rise up once more, as they could, simply because a way could not be found to keep an open border between north and south, not only for the sake of trade but for the sake of the island’s sanity and to heal the rifts of religion and culture. How could we possibly lecture the world on peace and division if we cannot resolve this amongst ourselves? This border must be kept open with or without Brexit. A hard-won peace, and the memory of the lives of so many, is at stake.