Baby Doctor, Brexit and taking a short position on Britain

Over the past two weeks , my schedule has been rather different and pleasantly so.

In the darkness of the winter mornings, I have been steering the car through the boreens of east Donegal with precious cargo on board.

I was taking the little one to her rural GP placement.

The last time I had the pleasure of her company on a morning commute it was driving her to the Gael Coláiste for the Leaving Cert examinations.

These journeys have been much less tense and I joked with her that I really should have had a car sticker saying “Baby Doctor on board”.

So for two weeks, we had her about the place when she is normally at Trinners.

As she has clearly inherited my silent grumpiness approach to mornings the journey back was much more chatty.

Although, of course, it will be her choice at the end of the day I think she would make a brilliant rural GP.

She has a grá for the nation of the townlands and an understanding of the importance of a work-life balance.

Down in Dublin, her exam results and her understated manner is a powerful combination for the West Brits who disregard her home place.

When she started her first year she had this for the tae…

A present from her oul fella.

However, the joke was on others at Trinners.

Bright off the scale she’s more than proved herself.

I can safely say that she was well looked after here by the folk in each of the three health centres and they have my thanks for that.

The medical practice covered three sites, Manorcunnigham, Raphoe and St Johnston.

To the uninitiated, the last one is in touching distance of the exquisite Britishness of Narne Arne.

On the west bank of the River Foyle, there are some days when you can catch a tantalising glimpse of the blue skies of Ulster.

For the avoidance of doubt, St Johnston is in…err…Ulster.

Nothing about Partition makes sense, especially if you live here.

The idea that anyone would make a county boundary in Ireland an international frontier was bonkers in the 1920s and it is equally insane a century later.

As I was driving back to the home place the local radio station had a story about the possibility of needing a “green card” to drive across the Border after Brexit.


If the Brits fall off the Brexit cliff then we will be able to see that magnificent geographical feature from the Lifford Bridge.

Is this likely to happen?

Well, the guy who predicted the sub-prime crash in 2008 is already betting on a No Deal scenario.

If you have seen the movie “The Big Short” then here is a man who was brilliantly portrayed by Steve Carell.

Essentially, this guy makes money by accurately predicting future events.

Moreover, he puts his money where his putative prescience is.

Therefore, if Steve Eisman is betting on a Hard Brexit then it is a distinct possibility.

I really do hope that he is wrong and so should you dear reader.

However, the Irish government are now in full Hard Border preparation mode.

I suppose putting Theresa May in charge of the Brexit negotiations made about as much sense as letting a 98 year old drive a car.

I hope himself is well on the mend.

The oul fella is part of the House of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg.

As British as Finchley!

Of course, the fake frontier I have been driving to over the last two weeks contains the Schleswig-Holstein question of Brexit.

The position of Northern Ireland and the birth right of folk there to claim Irish citizenship and therefore EU citizenship was never mentioned during the 2016 referendum.

A key part of the Belfast Agreement was that in return for giving up Articles 2 and 3 of our constitution the Border would fade with the passing of time.

That was 20 years ago and it has, after a fashion, worked.

I know, I live here and my children have grown up in a Border county.

It is a very different Donegal to the one I knew as a young man.

Over the Lifford Bridge, the “Camel’s Hump” at Strabane is gone, as are the other landmarks of war.

Post Maastricht a hard frontier in Ireland made no long-term political sense.

It isn’t a coincidence that the Downing Street Declaration was only a year later and that opened the door for the IRA cessation of 1994.

You know the rest…

The fact that the two jurisdictions on this island were members of the European Union was a key part of the wider architecture of the peace accord of 1998.

Every possible scenario was gamed out by the Sinn Féin negotiating team back then.

There were, as they say in Belfast, some very serious heads in that room at Stormont.

However, no one thought for a second that one day the Brits would just leave the EU.

However, it is the crux of the “Irish Backstop” and even ex-Brexit minister David Davis recently admitted that they didn’t spot this as a problem.

Over the last 40 years, the Westminster tribe has constantly shocked me apropos their ignorance of what they have done to the people of this island.

The term “blind spot” doesn’t begin to adequately explain their lack of awareness on matters Irish.

This Brexit shambles is just another chapter in that tale of imperialist obliviousness.

History takes a long time, but there are moments when it speeds up.

Over the past fortnight, I’m more convinced than ever that my youngest is part of a generation of Irish people who will live to see the constitutional arrangements on this island fundamentally reordered.

Sure, we chatted about it in the car…

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