"All’s well that ends well." OK, Willy of Stratford you weren’t wrong and when Act V resolves all the plot lines in a manner that leaves the audience with a sense that justice has been done and - even if multiple corpses strew the stage - the route to a better future has been opened.
But what if it doesn’t end well? What if a toxic atmosphere fuelled by ill-informed exceptionalism produces a stream of arrogant gloating that something has been done which by all measures of rational thought should not have been done? What if this atmosphere is orchestrated by an over-privileged purveyor of lies who couldn’t find his way out of a walk-in fridge?
Difficult to imagine it ending well, isn’t it?
Strangely – or perhaps not – there are a few bright spots on an otherwise bleak horizon.
They are German, Croatian, Argentinian, Cuban, Dutch, Swiss, Norwegian oh, and a Finn... and a Scotsman, whose native land might soon be in a position to extricate itself from self-inflicted isolation.
2019 has not ended well for these current beneficiaries of free movement but their fluidity, collaboration and unity shine through – a paradigm for relationships in wider and, ultimately, more significant settings. If only...
But while 2020 looks certain to bring enforced separation and the removal of the rights of British citizens to share their lives in an open way with their European counterparts and looks almost equally certain to see our thoughtfully-assembled multi-national squad return to the second tier of English football, relegation is not a terminal condition.
For 48 years – aside from a brief excursion of one year to the third tier - Norwich City have been promoted eight times and have only very briefly threatened to become a member of that select band of ‘established’ top-level performers (Portsmouth, Middlesborough, Nottingham Forest, Sheffield Wednesday, Ipswich etc). Relegation is part of the cycle... if we continue to play progressively, maybe next time and, anyway, we can enjoy the journey.
Hedge-fund promoted self-harm is another matter but in a post-truth world, who’s got a problem? Foreign travel remains unrestricted.
I’m sure that many readers are making plans to fly to Mustique for New Year 2021. As E.L Wisty once remarked of his local laundrette, “You get a nice class of people there on a Tuesday night.”
Perhaps another ruby of wisdom that emanated from that particular source is worth further consideration. “I've always wanted to be an expert on tadpoles. I've always fancied being a tadpole expert. It's a wonderful life if you become an experty tadpoleous, as they are known in the trade. You get invited to all the smart parties and social gatherings.”
Hang on a minute. There’s surely only so much self-serving bullshit that can be spouted before it begins to dawn in the minds of even the most narrow-visioned xenophobe that they might have been had. We’re not in Act V yet.