Are we on the brink of a great Brexit deal? Hmmm. These are the outstanding hurdles to a deal. They are not trivial.
- Persuade DUP to have checks on goods going from GB to NI to ensure they meet EU product standards. Difficulty rating - 4/5.
- Persuade EU to let whole of UK stay in customs union as part of NI backstop, and grant permission to UK to negotiate third-party trade deals. Difficulty rating - 4/5
- Persuade ERG true-Brexit wing of Tory party not to go bananas when backstop says UK could stay in customs union forever (because UK will not be able to prove beyond doubt that its alternative plan to keep open border between NI and ROI will work by any specified date). Difficulty rating - 5/5
- Persuade EU to let UK in effect stay in single market for goods, but exit for services and with no free movement of people. Difficulty rating 5/5.
- Persuade EU that the political declaration on the UK’s future relationship with the EU must be prescriptive and not vague or blind, if the UK parliament is to vote for it in the so-called meaningful vote. Difficulty rating 5/5
Conclusion? Odds of a negotiated rational smooth Brexit are still no better than 50:50.