Contrary to opinion in some quarters, I’m a softie. When some guy knocks on my door and offers to do my drive-way for a laughable price of £5000, despite the fact that he’s clearly a chancer I want to say “Yes, sure, fire ahead, I’ll get the money out for you.” When Liam Neeson explains that he’s not a racist, even though he’s admitted to lurking around an African-American area with an iron bar so he could maybe beat one of them within an inch of their lives, I want to say “Liam, it’s OK, I know you’re a nice guy.” And when I see Theresa May telling Belfast business people that she will ensure there’s no hard border here, even though she’s on her way to Brussels to try to change the very thing that ensures no hard border, I want to shout “It’s OK, Theresa – I’m on your side! Two and two do make five!”
I even have sympathy for the DUP. They’ve looked at the weight of economic interests and they’ve looked at the weight of fake constitutional concerns, and they’ve concluded that in this crazy corner, the latter is a cert to outweigh the former every time. In that press-conference room yesterday with Theresa May, it was clear from the tepid reaction that the business leaders here think the DUP interpretation of a backstop as a mortal danger to the Precious Union is a cart-load of dangerous pigshit. You can’t help but sympathise with a party that has played a card that in the past has always, always trumped everything else, but who now find that by playing it, their traditional followers have kicked over the table and walked away.
When I watch that happen, when I watch Arlene’s cheeks burn and her neck go blotchy under journalists’ questions, I want to say “Hey, media, leave that poor woman alone!”
I know, I know, Virginia. I should toughen up in this world where minorities out-shout majorities and the UK is the Precious Union while the EU is the Union from Hell.