The real deal?

Considering how much she despised his two predecessors, it was a veritable love-in at Windsor on Monday as President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen and little Rishi Rich announced a new agreement to resolve some of the trading problems facing Northern Ireland in the wake of Brexit.

Frazzled Northern Ireland minister Steve Baker is certainly breathing a sigh of relief.

I can hardly believe Rishi has pulled it off, but it’s certainly looking that way, and all it took to finally seal the deal was a ‘say yes to this Ursula and I can fix it for you to meet the king’.

The smiles and positive delivery were turned up to 11 as the new best pals exchanged platitudes while knowing full well that the people they were broadcasting to were not the ones they are actually trying to sell it to.

The potential spanners in the works are not, for once, Labour as Steer Calmer has already said he intends to back the deal.

Of course, the SNP are having a moan about how, they claim, it will put Scotland at a competitive disadvantage, but we all know the only thing that would placate them and they’re not getting it so boo hoo.

No, the problems, should they arise, could lie with MP for Rayleigh and Wickford, Mark Francois and his contrary European Research Group of Tory backbenchers as they would rather we ignored the EU completely and have already put together a “star chamber” of legal eagles to go over the deal with a fine tooth comb for any issues.

Then, of course, there’s the Democratic Unionists, who are already cheesed off about King Charles being used as a political carrot, and will need to see enough in the Windsor Framework to return to power-sharing devolved home governance.

The car park attendants of politics will, of course, keep everyone waiting as that is what they like to do. It gives them an authority rush, a feeling of self importance, plus there are elections coming up in May.

To my mind it certainly looks like a substantial move forward which protects the Northern Ireland Protocol, but by rights at the end of the day the only people whose opinion should really matter about the deal are the people of Northern Ireland – not Parliament and certainly not the DUP who need to get their flabby backsides back to Stormont pronto and finally do the job they were elected to do.

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It has been dismissed in certain quarters as a conspiracy theory, but does anyone actually NOT think that the COVID-19 pandemic originated at the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China?

Are we supposed to think it’s just a coincidence that ground zero for the virus responsible for the deaths of millions across the world is a seafood market in the same town where there is a government-controlled laboratory that had conducted research into coronaviruses?

If the blindingly obvious is staring you right in the face, how can it be conspiracy theory?

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I don’t like turnips, thanks all the same Therese Coffey.

I also reserve the right not to buy a misshaped carrot that looks like a penis (and not even a human one), a bruised apple, a potato with a green patch on it or a blemished sprout, OK?

OK.

Stupid TV quiz answers of the week

Tipping Point:

Q: Mary of Teck was the wife of which British monarch who reigned from 1910-1936?

A: Henry VIII?

Q: Which indoor sport stages the Jockey Wilson Memorial event?

A: Badminton?

Celebrity Mastermind:

Q: The name of what city is the title of a 2021 film which was written and directed by Kenneth Branagh and won the Oscar for best original screenplay?

A: Hamlet

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Edward Case

Columnist