Earlier this week the Guardian launched ‘Brexit Shorts’, a series of monologues written by Britain’s ‘leading playwrights’ about the aftermath of the EU referendum. Now I know what you’re thinking: ‘What fresh hell is this?’ But bear with me. Watching the first batch of these short films, which are on the Guardian website, isn’t complete purgatory. Not because they’re much good, obviously — although one is, and I’ll come to that in a moment. But because the reason these writers are so anxious about Brexit is due to their uncritical acceptance of Project Fear. Perhaps they’ll become a little less hysterical once they’ve been introduced to some solid facts.
Take ‘Your Ma’s a Hard Brexit’ by Stacey Gregg, which is set among the ‘peace lines’ separating Catholic and Protestant neighbourhoods in Belfast. It’s not a fully fledged drama — more a piece of agitprop. And it makes the same point over and over again, namely, that if the UK leaves the European Union there will inevitably be a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic. ‘We know what it means to be divided,’ says the protagonist, a ‘peace-worker’ played by Bronagh Gallagher. Then she says something a bit odd: ‘I remember the border, do you? Wasn’t much craic.’ (To read more, click here.)