Arkady Babchenko and the DUP: heading in opposite directions?

I’ve watched that report on the murder of the Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko several times  and I still don’t get it. He rose from the dead a few days after he’d been mourned, and I think someone said this was a sting, so they could catch the people who were really trying to kill him. So why didn’t they tell us who these people were? A Ukrainian official on Channel Four News denied that this was an example of fake news, which is about as near as I want to get to the media philosophy, practised here over the years, that black is white.

It sounds about as crazy as they come, but maybe it’s not as unique as we think.   We haven’t had any resurrections here, but we have had people insisting that black is white, or on its way to becoming white.

The most obvious example is the DUP’s stance on Brexit. Alone among the parties here, it insists that Brexit is good for you, but beyond the vague “We’ll be able to trade with everybody in the world”, it hasn’t quite been explained how this is going to be achieved by breaking away from the ready-made market of 500 million people offered by the EU.

Then there’s that pesky border. The DUP says we won’t even notice the difference, there’ll be all sorts of gadgetry that will give us a body and vehicle search so thorough yet so subtle, we won’t even know it’s happening. Everybody else points ou that nowhere in the world has achieved this wonderfully seamless arrangement between two jurisdictions. Again, the DUP are unperturbed. However, there can be no border, seamless or otherwise , between our NEN and the rest of the UK. So no signs of border between north and south of Ireland, no border of any kind between the north and the rest of the UK – but all you need to do is remember that Brexit is Good for You.

There is one respect in which the Ukrainian affair differs from our situation here – Arkady Babchenko got to emerge from the grave. Here, the DUP is digging harder and harder to provide an extensive grave into which it plans to leap, and as it leaps, haul the rest of us down too. Arkady Babchenko had a happy if confusing ending; the DUP seem intent on dragging us all into a Stygian darkness from which it’s hard to see anyone emerging.


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