So, Boris Johnson has finally achieved his lifetime ambition and made it to Number 10. "The end of the beginning" as his hero, Winston Churchill, once said. Or could it possibly be the other way around?
Brexit is now in full-throttle Cronus mode and has clearly demonstrated that the truth is irrelevant when you're chained to an antiquated and highly flawed ideology; the good old days when the sun never set on the British Empire. If devouring its own children in order to maintain the status quo is what it takes, then so be it.
Former US president Bill Clinton summed it up perfectly to RTE's Tommie Gorman in June. Expressing his concerns about those at the vanguard portraying the pursuit of a hard Brexit as a means of "liberating the United Kingdom" Clinton warned they may be:
… consigning one of the world's greatest nations in human history to a smaller role just so that people who have historically been in control can stay there.
As much as we like to tut-tut at Boris, Rees-Mogg, Gove et al pining for a simpler time when Paddy knew his place, with regard to blind devotion to an archaic creed are we really in a position to cast the first stone?
Take, for example, the GAA; arguably the final bastion in Irish society but an organization whose stubborn resistance to change rivals that of the Vatican. If the top table is unwilling to discuss a recent suggestion from Jarlath Burns (touted by many as a potential Uachtaran CLG) in relation to removing anthems and flags from GAA events in an attempt to welcome those of a different persuasion, are they (and thus by default, we) not handcuffed to an equally outdated doctrine also?
What flew in 1884 doesn't necessarily fly in 2019. What was written during a time of war doesn’t necessarily apply during a time of peace. All philosophies have a sell-by date. I believe this is what hurling pundit Donal Og Cusack was driving at with his " … last remnants of British culture on these islands …" comment made during a recent post-match analysis in which he defended coaches criticized for exploring alternative tactics.
For many the GAA is about identity; for others it's simply chasing a ball around a field. I'd suspect the silent majority fall somewhere in between. Of course the GAA takes on different meanings depending on geography and I fully appreciate that carrying a hurley in Ballymena isn't the same as carrying a hurley in Ballyhaunis. Placing less emphasis on historical and cultural aspects may be anathema to some; it was to me until recently. But I believe it's time for what former Crossmaglen Rangers and Armagh footballer John McEntee described in his Irish News column as 'uncomfortable conversations'.
This thinking will no doubt meet with fierce resistance in some quarters but our rich culture, one which transcends burning tyres and pallets, isn't jeopardized one iota by holding such discussions.
One would think this is a more pressing matter for GAA president John Horan than introducing a ridiculous and totally unnecessary back-pass rule.
⏭ Paul Kelly is a Tuam based writer.