No sooner had my friend Tessa come back from her holiday than she and I met at a quiet Westminster pub. It was an intimate affair: just Tessa and I, her press secretary, make-up artist and six bodyguards.
Ever the traditionalist, Tessa took a sip of that classic English drink Dubonnet and asked me how I thought Brexit was going. There was a mischievous sparkle in her eyes that suggested she knew something I didn’t.
“Well, Tessa,” I said, gulping my Wife Beater down, “it isn’t going, actually. There’s a lot of bickering between the parties and various factions within each. And externally, it has all ground to a stop. I can see some unsolvable conflicts developing. The whole bloody thing is dragging on and on.”
“Alex, you imbecile,” smiled Tessa, using the offensive epithet to conceal the admiration and, well, affection she feels for me. “Don’t you worry your ugly little head about that. I’ve got it all sussed out.”
“You’ve got what sussed out, darl…,” I stopped myself just in time, for Tessa’s retinue were all ears. Using an intimate word like ‘darling’ would reveal that Tessa and I haven’t always been just friends… But a gentleman doesn’t talk about such things.
“Alex, you reactionary swine, I know what you think about democracy, but me, I could scratch anyone’s eyes out who says one word against one man, one vote. I am a servant to Average Man, the voter.
“Remember how you wrote, you bastard, that any man randomly picked out of the phone directory could do a better job of government than my cabinet? Well, I happen to agree. Average Man knows best, that’s what democracy is all about. He commands, we obey. And he commanded we leave the EU. So leave we will. Cross my heart and hope to die.”
“Don’t die yet, Tessa,” I pleaded with mock sincerity. “We need you to drive Brexit through, to take control over our borders and territorial waters, to stop paying money to the EU, to leave the single market…”
“Alex,” smiled Tessa with loving indulgence, “you’re even more cretinous than you look. What did the people vote for?”
“To leave the EU.”
“Right, you got that in one. But they didn’t vote for leaving the single market and the customs union, did they?”
“Well, no, they didn’t, not explicitly at any rate,” I admitted begrudgingly.
“Explicitly is what I’m talking about, you half-witted nincompoop. Right, so we’ll stay,” said Tessa, holding one finger up. “And neither did they vote to keep Spanish fishing boats out of our waters, did they now? So that’ll continue.” Another finger went up.
By then my mind was spinning like a top, so all I could manage was a mumbled question “So what about immigration?”
“What about it?” Tessa signalled the landlord for another bottle of Dubonnet.
“Show me where anybody voted for shutting our borders to European wogs… oops, I mean neighbours. Nowhere. So they’ll be able to come, if with a little detour to Dublin. What old tossers like you don’t understand is that all those Romanians enrich our culture. We’ve only had Shakespeare, Donne and Dickens, while Romanians have had… well, you know what I mean.”
“I do,” I said, though I didn’t. “But money? Are we going to keep paying the EU after we leave it?”
“Alex, let me put it in simple words even a moron like you can understand. People. Voted. To. Leave. The EU. They. Didn’t. Vote. To. Stop. Payments. So. We. Shall. Go. On. Think you get this or shall I paint you a picture?”
“Well, now that you put it this way…”
“And that’s not all,” added Tessa with that triumphant look I remembered from the times when we… well, never mind. “We’ll also join the euro during this parliament.”
“But Tessa, doesn’t Brexit mean we reclaim our sovereignty and therefore keep our own currency for ever?”
“Don’t you know anything? Since when does using someone’s else’s currency mean losing sovereignty? Ever heard of British Virgin Islands, Caribbean Netherlands. East Timor, Ecuador, El Salvador and Marshall Islands?”
“What do they have to do with anything?”
“Trust a retard like you to ask such an idiotic question. They’re none of them part of the US and they still all use the US dollar. No problem with sovereignty, is there? And are we any different from El Salvador?”
“Less and less so, I dare say. I assume we’ll still continue to obey all EU laws?” I asked with what I thought was devastating sarcasm.
“But of course we will,” nodded Tessa, which movement made her belch quite loudly. “We’ll just call them British laws, that’s all. I get it. We’ll call them common law – common with the EU, that is.”
“Tessa,” I said, helping her up. “What a brilliant plan. That way you can have the Brexit apfelstrudel…”
“And throw it up too,” giggled Tessa in that girlish way of hers. “That’s my kind of Brexit.”
“Or rather May kind of Brexit,” I said, hoping that by then Tessa was too far gone not to mock the feeble pun.