With the B-word negotiations on a ‘fifty-fifty knife edge’ because there is ‘still a lot of tunnel to be agreed between cup and lip’, I’m afraid I cannot resist the temptation to point out that these are mixed cliche metaphors with a degree of malapropism added to the Clarity Blender. Yes, at times like these it is as well to remember that it’s always darkest under the lighthouse, but that doesn’t mean people are pulling the rug out from under each other’s eyes.
Regular readers of this blog will by now be fully familiar with our corporate Banzai-style attack order – IABATO!…..It’s all Bollocks and That’s Official. From the outset, I have always seen ‘the Irish Backstop’ as a piece of pure IABATO designed by the Brussels mafia to leverage Northern Ireland as a way to keep something – anything – British in the EU, and thereby cramp the UK’s post-EU style. But above all, it is the use of the word ‘backstop’ that cracks me up.
Cutting to the chase of the lengthening shadows of a breakthrough dawn here, the backstop aims to prevent a “hard” border by keeping Northern Ireland in some aspects of the Single Market. Why this is in any way a backstop – and not a subterfuge – has always eluded me.
I mean, what is a backstop? It is defined thus by Collins: ‘a thing placed at the rear of something as a barrier or support’. It is in fact a wicket-keeper. And lest we forget, it is always the wicket-keeper who stumps the man who came in, the better to force him out.
Make of that what you will, but most Brits have been stumped by the backstop since the day it became The Big B Issue. Anyone familiar with this part of the island of Ireland has long recognised that it is easy to profit from buying stuff in the South and flogging it in the North…and vice versa. I don’t know a single Irish person who hasn’t benefitted from that at one time or another. Bear in mind, by the way, that I am one of those long-standing trouble-makers who has always believed in Ireland for the Irish…..whatever their religion.
More scrambled aphorisms therefore follow. For example, ‘The wicket-keeper who spots the catch may see it dropped in the slips between cup and lip’. Does anyone seriously doubt the wisdom of that?
Of course, the use of oxymoronic terms is not restricted to the European Commission. The EC has a massive brand-share in that segment, but there are many competitors. One such is the Olive Oil community that wants us to believe in the concept of Extra Virgin.
This hierarchical description asks us, by definition, to believe that there are levels of virginity. As in Extra Virgin, Virgin, Mainly Virgin, Believably Virgin, Not very Virgin at all really, and syphillis-riddled Whore olive oil.
Virgin on the impossible? No – just good old fashioned contradiction in silly terms.
But lest we forget, a virgin’s bush is worth two hands of brag if you’re getting the bird from the extra-virgin in the backstop of the cinema when the wicket-keeper has you by the bails.
Always try to remember that.
Finally, when you next go to a weather website, bear in mind that the idea is for you to receive a forecast. This comes before the weather happens, as such.
Otherwise, it’s an Aftercast telling you what occured earlier, or a Nowcast confirming what you can see for yourself out of the nearest available window. Sadly, the virtual immediacy of the internet allows such sites to blur the difference, and give a false impression of accuracy.
Hence the phrase, ‘Every cloud has a silver lining to cloud the issue’, as well as ‘The vain weatherman post rationalises the correction of direction’….and not forgetting ‘Catch a falling star and save it for a rainy day”.
I am not a meteorologist. But I guarantee that the weather tonight will be dark.