Football, religion and politics are three items to never engage in conversation in a pub, particularly with strangers.
You might think the explosive element is alcohol, but you’re wrong. Of course, it won’t help but the real bugbears lurking in all these topics are self righteousness and smug certainty.
Happily, religion didn’t rug it’s ugly head this past weekend and thank, whoever or whatever, for that; there was enough crap flying about without it.
Ireland lost the big game, it’s elimination game against European Championship hosts, France by 2-1 and, in the end, we had nothing to moan about. We were beaten fair and square. Of course, that doesn’t stop every sideline genius having their own opinion on what went wrong: the choice of players, the time to recover from the previous game, the heat on the night. Get over it. We lost because we were beaten by a better team, on the day.
As for politics, well, we’re all still reeling from the shock and implications of the Brexit vote. In Ireland, we wonder how it will effect our relations with our biggest trading partner, the United Kingdom and does it mean the return of the border, border economics and all its attendant headaches.
But, here’s a thing, it was a democratic decision and, so what if even the Brexiters didn’t expect it, it’s here so suck it up and get on with it. Secretly, although the short term impact has been harsh on financial markets, so what, I say; I believe the result is more a rejection of what they had than a look at what we can have. That happens now.
Once people get over the shock of making a difference, maybe, or hopefully, they will grasp this new notion as a blueprint for the future like thinking about what else needs to be changed, like inequality, racial, economic and sexual, and working out how we can put some balance back into those equations?
Or poverty, hunger and health, bywords of Conservative, right wing Governments, code names for deprivation that were once the calling cards of the welfare state with a promise that no-one would go hungry or poor or lack adequate health services. So maybe we should stop talking about the immigration issue and start discussing why everyone wanted to move to the UK? Because wages were high and working conditions good, perhaps?
And that free migration of labour thing, well, that’s all about globalisation, isn’t it? Free global trade markets are there so global corporations can find the cheapest places to produce their products, where materials and workers cost less than anywhere else, so they can be sold, at higher profits, to the people in the other countries where consumerism flourishes.
It reminds of that line from The Usual Suspects when someone says the greatest trick the devil ever played was to convince people he didn’t exist.
Of course, young people feel they’ve been deprived of lost opportunities by their elders, the major of whom voted for Brexit, while already lumbered to pay off the mistakes of that older generation’s debts. Not enough of them voted. That is democracy. The working class made up another significant portion of the Brexit vote and they’ve been hoodwinked by false promises and will suffer worse than anyone else from the consequences of the decision to leave.
A decision has been made, whether right or wrong, but what is most sinister is no-one has put any thought into what might follow while they played fast and loose with people’s futures. That’s the most cynical and sinister aspect of this entire affair. People feel empowered but they have even less power now, than they did before.