Brexit is a sore one for me. The reasons why are too many to bore you with.
The prospect of Scotland leaving the EU on 29th March in a disastrous, no-deal scenario was enough to get me really on edge. My fix was to book a flight to Dublin for that day.
My thinking was the whole event would have a slightly better perspective from Ireland , and I know the media reporting there has been intelligent and sophisticated. Then I decided the obvious next step was to cross “the border” the next day, into the North.
The possibility of a no deal Brexit meant the road crossing into the Irish part of the UK had the potential to be truly messed up with customs checks, so I booked a seat on the lunchtime train from Dublin to Belfast . Then I organised a flight home from Belfast on the Sunday afternoon.
I even managed to find a good ice hockey game to see in Belfast on the Saturday night.
So far, so good.
Of course almost as soon as I had paid my money, May decided to go for a postponement.
Well, in spite of that I had a good time. Dublin was wonderful compared to the misery of Brexit Britain . Brexit will be very damaging for Ireland of course, even if a deal can be done. Everyone I spoke to wanted to know if I am pro-Brexit, and loved it when my vehement anti-Brexit views came out.
Crossing the open border on the train was a moment to relish. How long will it remain open? Is it about to be an EU 3rd country border, and so subject to all the customs and immigration checks which follow from it.
For those who have never crossed the border, at the moment you do not even know you have crossed it – somewhere between the stations at Dundalk and Newry.
I had to wonder what the people in Belfast think about it all. The North voted to remain in the EU. It benefits massively from EU membership. The EU was instrumental in bringing about the Good Friday Agreement, which has produced 20 years of peace after 30 years of violence. London is happy to throw it all down the toilet in exchange for political support from the DUP – who opposed the GFA and want Brexit.
Well, I had a nice hotel and the ice hockey was good, as was my flight back to Edinburgh .
ⓒ iain taylor, 2019 🏴🇪🇺🇮🇪