Goodbye Dolly

Sean Mallory with what he hopes is not a premature tarah to Theresa May.

Goodbye Dolly Gray..... (Theresa May)
“Goodbye Dolly I must leave you, though it breaks my heart to go
Something tells me I am needed at the front to fight the foe....”

Goodbye Dolly Gray was a music hall song written around the time of the Spanish – American War at the end of the 19th century and at the turn of the 20th century. It became more popularised with the Boer War and later became associated with the Great War.

100 years ago the canon fell silent forever more on the fields of Flanders and a little red flower with a black heart began to grow, oblivious as to the future political vitriol it would be inadvertently culpable for.

Little Belgium had been saved and by men no less than those of the Ulster Division, UVF one and all. No more ran the lines of Ulster blood (9 counties in those days).

100 years later, a slim-lined Ulster and the poppy hugging successors to those forefathers who haste to face death for King and Country was heartlessly and savagely accommodated and sacrificed by the British Establishment for the well-being of the Empire once again find themselves being sacrificed by the Establishment for the well-being of the nation. Only this time certainly not in Little Belgium's favour!

Unlike the brutality and cruelty of Europe's Flanders 100 years ago, good old fashioned lying and deceit (politics and dialogue to you and me) has replaced the art of war between the powerful European states, and the descendants of the Ulster Rifles are now demanding the right to run away very fast from Brussels, threatening their blood red lines will flow again if they are refused ... however only on paper.

Although paper cuts can be quite nasty but not as nasty as charging a machine gun nest or having 500lb explosive shells (not sea-shells) fired at you, but nonetheless they can be painful enough!

Theresa May, bless her little socks, and much like the British high command 100 years ago in Flanders, was initially ignorant of her staffs actions at the front in Brussels learned late on Tuesday afternoon that her Brexit negotiating team had actually secured an exit agreement of sorts with Brussels.

Pleasantly surprised by the initial discovery, Theresa's mood of developing elation flat-lined on being informed of what the agreement actually contained.

Immediately she set about ordering her staff to discontinue communication with her coalition partners the DUP – Ulster Rifle descendants who were intent on running away from Flanders to Zeebrugge for transport back to Blighty could not be counted on.

Her immediate task was how the hell she was going to sell it to her Cabinet especially since her Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab who negotiated the deal was having reservations about it. Reservations that would later lead to his resignation.

I suppose when you appoint someone who has no idea about the importance of the transport link between Dover and Calais, and places very little personal value on their own ability then this is the type of intelligent reaction to expect from a cabinet minister who presents a deal that took 2 and ½ years to negotiate, signs off on it and then finds fault with his own work.

With the Deal announced but not disclosed, rumours and leaks abounded as to its contents. Reports of what Sabine Weyand had disclosed to European ambassadors led William Hague in a pique of Raabitis to haughtily dismiss these revelations and advised the public to wait and see what is actually in the agreement. No need to worry about leaks from “somebody you’ve never heard of before” announced William flippantly.

Any person who has been following the Brexit negotiations closely knows exactly who Sabine Weyand is – she is the EU deputy chief negotiator to Michel Barnier! Well said William!

The Brexiters having got wind of a sell-out begged Theresa's Cabinet to rebuff the agreement. The DUP having discovered that their one and only blood red line had been crossed and unlike their forefathers, they had missed the boat in Zeebrugge leaving them stranded on mainland Europe indefinitely, threatened even louder than before to blow May's house down but decided on a curve ball and blamed Leo Varadkar's aggressive attitude for all the turmoil.

Varadkar responded by rubbing garlic (not salt...too English!) in their wounds with his very optimistic assessment of what his ambassadors had achieved for Ireland.

Theresa having scraped her agreement past her Cabinet knowing that resignations were surely to follow at some stage then invited the DUP to meet with her to discuss their concerns. After an hour or so of burning the candle the DUP along with the Downing Street cat found themselves on the doorstop - none the wiser but just as angry. Theresa headed off to bed and to dream of her rousing speech and accolades to come from the House the following day on her announcement of the deal.

A dream that quickly turned to a nightmare as firstly resignations of unheard off junior ministers who held posts no one knew they had begun to fly and then Raab and Esther McVey (Work & Pensions Secretary).

Finishing off with letters calling for a vote of no confidence ... all from the usual suspects and expected to reach its quota over the weekend.

As the day wore on Michael Gove turned down the offer of replacing Raab due to his demands not being met by May and left the public guessing as to whether he would resign. Next morning he announced much to everyone's dismay at the Environment Department that he was staying as their Minister. Damn, just when we all thought that things couldn’t get any worse!

Later in the day his hopes of being repaid for his insincere loyalty to Theresa with a supportive ticket from the Brexiteers in his run for leadership were severely dashed when they made it clear that if he didn’t resign he could kiss that idea goodbye. Gove is now contemplating his next move.

Meanwhile Foster, smiling and not snarling as usual but displaying as much ineptitude as a party leader as she was as a Stormont minister, and completely failing to understand the gravity of the situation, had hoofed it off to Dublin to spend the evening watching her fellow Orange State take on Varadkar's Free State in a soccer friendly.

As she sat in the area reserved for heads of state, which unknowing to Foster she isn’t one, Simon Convey courteously welcomed her to the game.

A game that turned out like her party's confidence and supply agreement with the Tories – a game her Orange State should have won but didn’t!

And so: as the poppies begin to wilt, just like Theresa Mays tenure as British Prime Minister, and as Arlene's blood red lines begin to clot, we can rest easy in our beds knowing that TGIF!

All together now to the tune of Goodbye Dolly Gray:

1, 2, 3,

Goodbye Arlene I am leaving, your boilers warms my heart to go
I've had enough of your DUP scheming, but Barnier tells me the EU already know
You see the Brexiters are already marching and I must depart for I cannot stay
I hear the no confidence vote a calling, so it's goodbye confidence and supply and fare thee well from
Theresa May

Sean Mallory is a Tyrone republican and TPQ columnist 

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Anthony McIntyre

Former IRA prisoner, spent 18 years in Long Kesh. Free Speech advocate, writer, historian, humanist, and researcher.

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