The power of the greeting card has proved itself to work even in the trickiest of situations, but few would have expected one to have proved an attention grabber in the Brexit discussions. The image of the European Commission president, Jean-Claude Juncker reading a Happy Jackson thank you card ‘from Ireland’, as the Irish prime minister, Leo Varadkar looked on, attracted masses of coverage in the international press, on TV, in newspapers and on the radio, as well as trending on social media channels.
The Happy Jackson card hit the headlines during the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar’s visit to Brussels on Wednesday (February 6) when it was shown during a meeting between the two leaders.
When the photo of the two statesmen with the card was first published it was initially thought that the card, a large Happy Jackson design that had been personalised to include the ‘from Ireland’, had come from Taoiseach Leo Varadkar or the Irish government. However it was soon revealed that the European Commission’s president had in fact received it from an Irish woman, called Hayley, who has no connection to politics, who wanted to thank Jean-Claude Juncker for having “stood up for Ireland”.
When initially asked about the contents of the card Jean-Claude Juncker said they were “private”. However, an image shared on social media showed that the card featured a lengthy message.
In the card, that had been ordered from Moonpig, Haley said that she “never really understood the importance of the EU” and that it was “something we learned about in school, a part of history, more than a part of today”.
She praised the EC president writing: “But your five words, ‘Ireland’s borders are Europe’s borders’ made me want to jump for joy, punch my hands into the air, and kiss you.
“For the first time ever Ireland is stronger than Britain. That strength comes not from guns or bombs, it comes from your words and that of your colleagues.”
As well as signing her own name, Hayley also included Scooby and Little Boo, her pet dogs.
Giles Andreae, who co-created Happy Jackson with Heather Flynn admitted that it was rather surprising to discover the brand had a “walk-on part in the Brexit process!”
He says that “what’s rather interesting about it is that, although cards can be nice little pieces of art and design to display, their most important function by far is to communicate emotion and to make or reinforce human connections. Whereas people might go “ooh, yum, chocolates” or “ooh, beautiful flowers!” no-one really goes “oh, lovely, a piece of cardboard.” The emotional connection is front and centre with greeting cards – that is the only reason they exist – and that is what makes them so powerful. It’s the symbolism of the giving of a card here in this news item that gives it emotional resonance – much more so than, well, flowers or chocolates!”
Building up the story, some online wags have been quick to suggest that Theresa May should reciprocate with a bigger card from the UK.