Megan Nolan

S Aufrecht

… After calling the women “scroungers” and demanding to know whether they had jobs, one of the men took the decapitated head of a pigeon out of his pocket and threw it at them.

That particular fact won’t make any more sense the longer you look at it, and yet it goes on being true. I watched the video footage over and over, looked at earnest news headlines that simply read, “The footage shows a man verbally abusing protesters, before the head of a decapitated pigeon is thrown,” but no explanation was forthcoming. Why did the man throw a pigeon head at the protesters? More important, why was he carrying one in his pocket, ready, seemingly, to be launched as soon as a worthy adversary appeared?

But stranger still — or perhaps, upon reflection, not strange at all — was the gap between the English and the Irish when it came to interpreting the Pigeon Incident. … sensitive Britons were eager to ask why it mattered that the men were English. They’re just louts, they said. Why does it matter where they’re from? After all, all that occupation business was so long ago.

… The secretary of state for Northern Ireland, Karen Bradley, recently admitted with startling candor that she didn’t know basic facts about the politics of the region where she is in charge: that nationalists — those who seek a united Ireland — won’t vote for unionist parties, and vice versa. … I found myself genuinely breathless with anger when I read the Conservative M.P. Andrew Bridgen’s recent comments assuming he would be entitled to an Irish passport post-Brexit.

—Megan Nolan, New York Times1

Ms Bradley … told The House magazine: “I didn’t understand things like when elections are fought for example in Northern Ireland - people who are nationalists don’t vote for unionist parties and vice-versa.”

—Mikey Smith, Mirror Online2

When asked whether he understood the fact Northern Irish citizens will also remain EU citizens after Brexit due to the Good Friday Agreement, he said: “Well, that’s the common travel area as well, isn’t it? We do have the right to go over to Ireland, don’t we?” He added: “As an English person, I do have the right to go over to Ireland and I believe that I can ask for a passport. Can’t I?”

—Harry Cockburn, Independent3

It’s a bit like the good version of the psychotic moment I was always trying to live in with my ex, because this time I’m not trying to make anyone fall in love with me, and I’m not spending all of my money on things I ultimately can’t afford, things which are only going to make me unhappy when I finally have to pay for them. In this moment it’s just me and my friends and I’m not trying to prove anything or get anywhere else. The burger is only ok but it’s hot and greasy and it tastes good if you put enough mustard and ketchup on it, and the prosecco only costs a tenner, so fuck it, who cares.

—Megan Nolan, At The Table4


  1. Nolan, Megan. (2018-Oct-18). I Didn’t Hate the English — Until Now. New York Times. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/18/opinion/england-ireland-border-brexit.html
  2. Smith, Mikey. (2018-Sep-06). Tory Northern Ireland Secretary admits she didn’t understand basics of Northern Irish politics. Mirror Online. Retrieved from https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/tory-northern-ireland-secretary-admits-13204039
  3. Cockburn, Harry. (2018-Oct-16). Tory MP suggests all English people entitled to Irish passport. Independent. Retrieved from https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/irish-passport-england-uk-andrew-bridgen-tory-mp-brexit-border-eu-a8587286.html
  4. Nolan, Megan. Wetherspoons. At The Table. Retrieved from https://atthetable.co.uk/editorial/wetherspoons on 2018-Oct-25.