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Backstop the lights

De Facto

De Facto
Liamy MacNally

Backstop is the new word, the elixir. The new ‘bar-stool thinking’ is done over a cappuccino or an Earl Grey in the coffee houses and tearooms, the paradise of the minds with time. Wisdom is stirred amidst the brown sugar of deep thought.
A quiet cuppa can elicit a mighty earful of knowledge. A gentle sip can ingest deep insight. The more you stir the more you learn. And it’s free! Amazing what you overhear for the price of a cuppa!
Christmas trees, Christmas lights, the crib and backstops are the order of the day.
“The first backstop was introduced by the Brits. In 1921 they created the British border in Ireland. It was done so under a threat of all-out war if the Irish did not agree.” “And they call it the Irish backstop.” “They can call it what they want – they created it and it’s coming back to haunt them.”
“A rum tree on the Octagon, Cove. And the crib. Fair play to the council. They can do it when they want to.” “But there’s nothing at the Clock? There’s no tree there this year. There’s not even a light on a tree in the vicinity. It’s like a dungeon over there.”
“The Octagon tree won’t do Ger any harm. It’s like a free advertisement for him. If I were in his shoes I’d tell everyone that I donated it to the council. And that all the Christmas trees on sale are descended from this ‘Daddy’ tree.”
“Do you remember the lovely lights that were draped around the Octagon years ago? That was the essence of Christmas. Westport should become a feast of lights for Christmas, like a Covie Hanukkah, for locals and visitors.” “Cutbacks, probably. Or laziness masquerading as cutbacks, maybe.” “Settle! Didn’t Ringo answer the Shinner donor in The Mayo News last week? The council money is still coming from the Government; we’re just getting it in different ways. Some comes directly and more trickles via Irish Water.” “You won’t win that one Cove, no matter which way you argue it. It always costs us more!”
“I notice the council elves were out a few nights painting all the parking places on the streets. Amazing how it was never done before this. Now that the charges are looming the spaces appear!” “If business owners and staff showed some respect rather than park their cars all day outside their premises, or other people’s premises, we wouldn’t have charges. Some of them just don’t care.”  “I still can’t understand why you have to pay at the Quay from the moment you park. There’s no free time there at all.” “There’s money there, that’s why!” “Ah come on now!” “It’s true. If you’re gong to the Quay you’re going there to spend money so the council wants to get in on the act. It’s that simple.”      
“Did you lamp James Street? Lost out again this year.” “It’s not hectic alright. Small dribbles of lights on smaller dribbles of trees. The little treeíns need a bit of 10:10:20.” “Remember when the French trees and lights arrived and we were promised that they would be added to every year.” “That all cost an arm and a leg.” “At least someone made a few bob out of it.” “Yeah, but the ratepayer picked up the tab.”
“What about May?” “May? This is December?” “Theresa May you twat!” “Well it’s December for her, big time.” “She won the battle but not the war, not with those Tory clems. Typical rich-kids syndrome. They treat her like a skiv.” “Brexit is about nationalism, just like the North. Unionist nationalism!”
“It’s ‘Brexit No’ for some and ‘Brexit Now’ for others. There’s only one letter in the difference, yet the distance has never been so great in British politics.” “And the DUP! Queered! They’re not wide. What’s wrong with them? They could be kingmakers by having Northern Ireland both in the UK and the EU.” “Stormont for beginners, part two. The UK is neither, not united nor a kingdom!” “And it’s called Brexit not UKexit!”
We celebrate the annual Christmas backstop – birth and new life. Nollaig shona to all.