Boris Johnson and Leo Varadkar going in to confer at Wirral yesterday were like two men sent to defuse a massive bomb – Leo chest out and ready to meet his fate, Boris crouched round-shouldered, braced to receive the blast.
And they were in a risky situation. Snip the wrong wire or press the wrong button, and BOOM! There goes their career as leaders, along with the economy of Ireland, the UK and considerable parts of the EU. But snip the right wire, press the right button, and they’d emerge as national heroes.
Which would be handy for both, since both in the immediate or middle-distant future will be facing into general elections. How timely if you could carry with you the garlands of the superhero, the guy who succeeded where other supposedly better brains, in the UK, Ireland and the EU, had failed. Nothing succeeds like success.
Mind you, we’re not there yet. But if both weren’t very hopeful, would Leo have talked about a pathway to agreement?
So now we must ask: what will this agreement be? Well, customs, stupid. That’s been the sticking point for months, years even. The border in Ireland must stay as it is – invisible. But that’d mean there’d be a border in the Irish Sea, and the DUP have made it clear that they will not be separated from Mother Britain, ever.…What’s that? They’ve already agreed to a border in the Irish Sea, given their acceptance of a continuing place in the single market? So since they’ve moved away from that particular red line signed in blood, mightn’t they move again (or be moved) and accept all of Ireland as remaining in the single market and the customs union?
But Boris wouldn’t betray them, would he? Wasn’t it only a week or so ago he spoke heartily of his inner unionism and expressed the hope that the Sacred Union would stay in place indefinitely?
True. But there’s a bigger truth. And that is that Boris and the ERG and the Tories generally wouldn’t piss on the DUP if they were on fire. When they’re useful, of course, respect, support, flattery. But when they aren’t important for the numbers through the Westminster lobbies, out of the way, you bunch of bog-trotting perverse paddies.
We all knew it’d end in tears for the DUP. Even they knew it, yet soldiered on, hoping against hope that something would turn up. Yesterday something did, only not the way they wanted.
And whither now for the DUP? Will the farming and business communities see the coming election as payback time, for all the DUP’s insane support of a hard and ruinous Brexit ? Or will they once more swallow hard and vote for the DUP on the grounds that they’re not Sinn Féin?
But hey, leave those questions for another. Relish instead this bright new morning.
Boris – the saviour of the Tory Party, the Precious Union and the economy.
Leo – the saviour of Ireland north and South, the toast of the EU and material for a statue as one of Ireland’s greatest men.
Who knew? I mean, WHO KNEW? All changed, changed utterly.
Assuming, of course there’s not a second bomb, ticking softly, waiting for slow learners…