I don’t mean Theresa May now works for a takeaway pizza place. No, Trish (as I still call her years after we… well, a gentleman shouldn’t mention such things), has delivered on her promise to trigger Article 50.
I immediately went to see her to offer profuse congratulations. “Well done, Trish,” I said. “Now we’ll definitely come to the defence of those Etonians if they’re attacked.”
“Alex, you blithering crypto-Russkie idiot,” replied Trish, not bothering to conceal the slightly naughty affection she still feels for yours truly.
“You clinically retarded nincompoop twat. You got it all wrong. First, it’s Estonians, not Etonians. Second, you’re thinking of Article 5 of the NATO Charter. What I’ve delivered was the letter triggering Article 50, telling the EU we’re leaving.”
“Beats delivering pizza,” I quipped in my customary nonchalant manner.
“Could you spare me your puerile, immature so-called humour?” said Trish with a half-smile that brought back the memories of… Well, being a gentleman, I can’t tell you.
The question was rhetorical, so I didn’t bother to answer. Instead I asked, “So does this mean we won’t defend those Estonians if they’re attacked?”
“Alex, you geographically challenged ignoramus,” explained Trish. “Just look on the map, where Estonia is and where we are. You can’t possibly expect us to die defending a faraway land about which we know nothing.”
The ghost of Neville Chamberlain came wafting into the room, but I chased it away. “No, of course not, Trish,” I said. “How silly of me to think that you’ll comply with the NATO Charter. But at least now we’ll stop all those immigrants flooding in…”
“Not so fast, Alex,” smiled Trish. “But then you always were quick on the trigger, as I recall. The pizza… I mean the letter I delivered says we start withdrawing from the EU. And when you do it right, withdrawal takes a long time, if you catch my drift.”
“How long?” I wanted to know.
“Well, longer than two seconds, if you catch my drift,” smiled Trish. “Longer even than two years. The short answer is, I don’t have a clue. May take a while. Get it? May take a while? As in Theresa?”
“Righty-ho,” I said. “But then we’ll stop those hordes of immigrants…”
“First, they aren’t hordes,” objected Trish with her customary firmness. “They are individual human persons endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights…”
I had to chase another ghost away, this time of Thomas Jefferson, before replying, “So we aren’t going to stop them coming?”
“Not everything is black and white, you daft simpleton,” explained Trish. “We’ll have to be subtle about it.
“We’ll keep the free movement and tell the EU about it – truthfully. But then we’ll tell the British people that we’ll respect our borders – also truthfully. Respect and control are different things, if you catch my drift.”
“I get it,” I said. “We’ll announce that we respect our borders and keep them open.”
“You got it in one,” smiled Trish with loving indulgence.
“Well, at least we’ll repeal EU laws and revert to our tried and true Common Law,” I offered.
“Er… yes and no. We’ll repeal the European Communities Act that gives effect to EU law in Britain. But then we’ll take all the same EU laws and declare that henceforth they’re English. Get it? We’ll naturalise EU law.”
“I get it. We’ll continue to obey EU laws while calling them English. It’s like pasting a cheddar label on brie and then scoffing it.”
“See, even someone like you can understand it,” said Trish, who has always admired my ability to get my head around the most recondite problems.
“Thanks, Trish,” I said, accepting the accolade in the spirit in which it had been offered. “And I take it we’ll stop paying billions into EU coffers now.”
“Wherever have you heard such an asinine thing, Alex?” asked Trish with her usual unquenchable inquisitiveness. “Must’ve been at the place where you asinine halfwits congregate.
“Of course we’ll continue to pay. We are leaving the European Union, but we are not leaving Europe – and we want to remain committed partners and allies to our friends across the continent.”
“And that means continuing to give them money?”
“Just that. First there will be a down payment, say 50 billion or so, then the rest in annual instalments. It’s all about the deep and special partnership we hope to enjoy with the European Union once we leave. A partnership that takes in both economic and security cooperation.”
“So we’ll join the EU army too, once it’s formed?”
“Don’t see why not,” agreed Trish. “Last I looked we’re in Europe. So why shouldn’t we have one army for all? We’ll be stronger that way. God is on the side of the large battalions,” said Trish, gently waving the ghost of Napoleon away.
Suddenly everything clicked into place. “I say,” I said. “Thanks for making it crystal clear, Trish. I now know what Brexit means.
“We’ll leave the EU at some unspecified time in the future, two, three, ten years, whatever it takes. But even when it happens, we’ll only have respect for our borders, not control over them. We’ll still be governed by their laws, now called English for propriety’s sake. We’ll still be paying billions to the EU. And we may even join the EU army under the command of a Belgian general.
“Have I got that right?”
“You have, Alex, you imbecile dullard,” said Trish with the seductive smile she always reserves for yours truly. “Plus ça change, as François says. I knew even chaps like you would catch my drift.”