Hold on. Did not see that one coming. Though that’s how I feel about most of the news these days. It is borderline unreadable/unwatchable- but I still can’t take my eyes/ears out of it.
All week, Jack and I spend whole evenings where we don’t look at each other – hell, we’re not in the same room together. We occasionally call out to each other. It’s like we’re town criers. At some sort of convention. We just fill the silence with our calls.
I say, ‘Macron threatened the U.K. again. Said if we don’t share our portion of the vaccine, he’s going to look forward to when this is over and we’re lining up at the French border for our exports. He even said, “Bonne chance!” Haha. The newspaper translated it.’
Jack says nothing. Until he calls out, ‘They’ve just backtracked over the hard Irish border. It’s on breaking Sky News.’
I refresh the feed. ‘Yep, I see it. Wow. That Northern Ireland First Minister Arlene Foster is one badass. She does not mince her words. “An absolutely incredible act of hostility towards those of us in Northern Ireland”? Sheesh!’
‘This negotiation will be happening right at the top level now,’ Jack replies from the front cabin.
I nod. To be a fly on that political wall. Boris talking to the European Commision with Arlene listening in. I wouldn’t mess with Arlene though. I made a quick google. Discovered Arlene Foster lived through an attempted assassination on her father on their farm in Northern Ireland when she was a child. Then an IRA bomb blew up her school bus when she was a teenager. A school friend sitting near to her was seriously injured. Oh my Lord. What is going to scare Arlene Foster now? Literally nothing.
Jack and I have been at it all week – engrossed in the news. Started with the import duty revelation. Since the U.K. left the EU, it seems small businesses are particularly under pressure now. Under the terms of the deal, if they send their products directly to European customers though online orders (and vice versa), consumers have to pay import duty. Like on their front door. In their bathrobe. Ouch.
‘We’ve got as much rights now in the EU as a Chinese tourist,’ Jack says.
I read aloud, ‘And the estimate is that 60% of U.K. employment centers around small businesses. The U.K.‘s Department for International Trade has started recommending quietly that businesses open up subsidiary locations in the EU – to overcome these individual import costs. People are saying this was against the whole spirit of the deal though. Money still goes back to the EU – just now in jobs and rent.’
Snort from the front cabin. ‘Fact is we’re the small players now. The EU can do what they like.’
And on and on we go. Meanwhile, there are still fish under our boat. A seahorse or two. Octopi hiding in the holes.