How we landed in a sci-fi novel

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - - Front Page -

IT was hard for the peo­ple in 2018 to pin­point when ex­actly their lives had be­come a sci­ence fic­tion novel. For some peo­ple it was when the tod­dler-in-chief had a tantrum with a jour­nal­ist. It was just one of many, but it ce­mented for some that some­how, a ma­jor ass­hole had be­come the leader of the free world. For oth­ers, it was when Mal­ibu started burn­ing and the celebri­ties be­gan flee­ing their homes. If even the celebri­ties, who had enough money to in­su­late them­selves from the chaos, were be­ing en­gulfed in it, then things were surely, fi­nally, out of con­trol.

But most peo­ple could not pin­point the mo­ment, be­cause it all spun out of con­trol in such a ba­nal, grad­ual way. You only needed the norm to de­vi­ate by 1pc a day, to have de­vi­ated com­pletely in 100 days. So there was no ma­jor tip­ping point. Just a slow drip, drip whereby sud­denly, what would have seemed ut­terly bizarre a year be­fore, now seemed per­fectly nor­mal.

For the peo­ple of Ire­land, a small coun­try off the then united con­ti­nent for­merly known as Europe, some date the tip­ping point to the emer­gence of the sec­ond John­son. Most peo­ple had not known there was a sec­ond John­son. One was enough for the world. Those who were aware of the sec­ond John­son had rested se­cure in the knowl­edge that he was not like his brother. He was a Re­mainer, and thus re­garded as more rea­son­able than his brother. His brother Boris, too, had been a Re­mainer, while also be­ing a Brex­i­teer. But he had flipped a coin and de­cided he was a pas­sion­ate Brex­i­teer. When the sec­ond John­son, the rea­son­able one, started act­ing like his brother but from a dif­fer­ent per­spec­tive, it seemed like the fi­nal straw.

Ev­ery­one in Europe had long been bored with Brexit. The Brex­i­teers them­selves were bored of it by now too. Some of them woke up in the morn­ing and looked in the mir­ror and wished to them­selves it would just go away. And then they would get a grip and go off for an­other day of pas­sion­ate Brex­i­teer­ing.

Even­tu­ally ev­ery­one got so tired of wak­ing up each day to roller coaster head­lines that there would be a deal... and then there wouldn’t be a deal... that they all agreed to give the UK what­ever they wanted just to end it. And Theresa May agreed to give Europe what­ever they wanted just to end it. But when they told her she could have what­ever she wanted, it turned out Theresa May didn’t know what she wanted and she didn’t know if she could get it past par­lia­ment.

And ev­ery­one just shrugged their shoul­ders and moved on. And the next time peo­ple got as ex­cited about any­thing again was when Taylor Swift faced off Oprah in the Demo­cratic pri­maries.

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