BY DOMINIC WIGHTMAN
There’s a ferry from Manila to Cagayan de Oro in Mindanao which takes a day and a half. On board, it’s mostly a pretty friendly vessel. Kids from Mindanaoan families mix quite happily with kids from Luzon. Adults queue at the restaurant kiosk and chat amongst themselves. Smokers congregate on deck and lend a tale and a light, while holiday-making students sip from bottles of San Miguel and Crazy Horse, joking and laughing, playing cards to help the journey pass. Only the long-bearded contingent from southern Mindanao – from places like Zamboanga and Marawi (recently overrun by ISIS) tend to keep to themselves.
The significant downside in taking the ferry – aside from losing a day and a half when the flight from Manila to Cagayan takes only an hour and a half – is that ferries in the Philippines are known to sink. Often.
Ferries are a common mode of transport between the more than 7,000 islands that make up the Philippine archipelago, where hundreds of people die in boat accidents every year. Just this month a ferry with 50 on board capsized killing ten. The larger ferries tend to sink too: the Kim Nirvana, which was carrying 173 passengers and 16 crew members, capsized in strong waves minutes after it left the port of Ormoc City on Leyte Island in July 2015, at the cost of 36 souls.
After disaster strikes, the tales that emerge on news bulletins and in newspaper accounts from the survivors of such sinkings always talk of a communal effort by the passengers and crew – desperate attempts to save women and children first, all screaming and hollering to attract passing fishing vessels and accounts of strong swimmers returning time and again under the ferry to pull out those who have become trapped.
In other words, in those moments of tumult, the long-bearded contingent and the beer-imbibing students are as one. Suddenly it’s humanity against the sea and sharks. Always there are survivors who live to tell the tale of how the ferry’s bow rose above the water and the passengers screamed; how the ferry capsized in a sudden squall.
As at Grenfell, political differences are put aside in the rescue effort. It is suddenly all about unity when faced by the shocking potential of calamity. Adrenaline trumps difference – like humans uniting in the face of an alien invasion.
Which is why I’m not that worried by Tory-DUP unity or even Tory unity breaking up until the 2022 election. Yes, there is likely to be a change of leader in each party. Sure, there will be bumps along the way. Even the occasional squall. But nothing to undo the DUP life-jacket when the alternative is calamity.
Even the thought of ditching a 5-year fixed term parliament for the drowning and sharks that Pied Piper Corbyn and his band of Marxist groomers risk for Britain is such a unifying fear that it simply will not be allowed to happen. We’d all drown with the rats and be gobbled by the sharks after all.
Corbyn will be 73 in 2022. Let us hope that by then the Tories will have remembered how to win elections and that the Corbyn freak tsunami will have passed by then leaving an opposition of relative sense which actually loves Britain – rather than willing her holed below the waterline.
Fluctuat nec mergitur
Tossed by the waves but never sunk. Britain should sail on in hope. She will survive this squall.