Post Salzburg, Canada +++ seems the most likely agreement now (provided the integrity of the UK can be maintained with some sort of legal fudge).
Leo Varadkar, the Irish Taoiseach, believes he is a the Hound of the Baskervilles, when in reality he of course has no more bite than a hamster. He has been the lead attack dog for the EU since the exploitation of Northern Ireland as a pressure point began. He is the flash grenade that the EU lob whenever they want to discombobulate the British Brexit negotiations. The gunfight at the Salzburg corral is the latest result. PM May had evolved her position, at considerable political risk, and foolishly or not, believed that the EU would do the same. All the indications from the EU themselves was that they would. She was shocked when the EU shot her down and then stood over her and mocked. Varadkar has led the mockery and condemnation, with the EU behind him building him up, from the very start. He believes the EU, that their single market is everything, paradise. And the EU would be forever grateful. So he throws off another market, one which is massively more valuable to Ireland. He sticks his finger up at the Brits. Foolish, because the EU will drop him quicker than a hot coal when his usefulness is spent.
Dominic Raab has been on the media trail post-Salzburg, and one thing he said in particular struck home. It stank of Varadkar. Northern Ireland, he said, was the price that Britain would have to pay to get a deal from the EU. Completely unacceptable. So, is that what the EU promised Varadkar? Do not worry Leo, Brexit will break up the UK, we can engineer that, it will all be yours… PM May has misjudged, but Varadkar has been reckless. If there is a No Deal Ireland will suffer massively. His ego got the better of him, it is the only plausible explanation. Amongst national leaders only Trudeau of Canada comes close to Varadkar in folly, with his ongoing petulance over the NAFTA reset. The Irish people truly have no idea of the consequences of his choices.
I have trawled the Irish press. There is talk of misperception but very little else. One writer, who understands clearly, but is reluctant to start the panic, mentions concern. Mostly everyone is on board with the Varadkar strategy, they have blind faith in the God-like EU. Like Greece did once, and Italy. The UK was always sensibly circumspect, or the population were, despite the politicians. I will paraphrase another delicious nugget i came across…at Salzburg, the EU did not premeditate an ambush. There you have it, ambush it was, despite all the denials. Because it was spontaneous it doesn’t really count. As much as the EU used Varadkar, urging him on, he will have tried to pull them along with him. Varadkar must take his share of the blame.
So what happens now? I have given up trying to predict what May will do next. Logic and coherence have not helped. The EU have been utterly predictable, which is why it is baffling that Team UK could not keep up or follow the thread. So i have renewed my strangest notion, with a twist…that PM May is being deliberately incompetent to ensure a No Deal. Makes just about as much sense as anything else i can think of. That would require intelligence, planning, nerve and faultless execution…even better, let Varadkar lead the EU down that path. They think they are pushing, he is really pulling, Varadkar is a double agent!…no, it’s too much. I am surely assigning abilities and skills that are way beyond these players. Perhaps Salzburg was a ruse, a play acted out so that Chequers lost is better accepted when it is miraculously returned thanks to the strength of PM May…there i go again, too much credit. Nope, Occom’s razor must be the way, PM May is simply incompetent.
Canada +++ seems most likely now, as long as the integrity of the UK can be maintained with some sort of legal fudge. For myself I would leave the EU at the end of March, on WTO terms. No implementation period, no Brexit bill, nowt, clean and quick. You cannot talk to these people. Slash tariffs, slash corporation tax, sit back and wait…and do trade deals with everybody and anybody around the World who comes calling. Poor Ireland, back in the kennel now and only fed on scraps from the bland No Deal bone, would not be able to join the queue. The EU themselves would eventually come calling. Do not believe all the noise about a No Deal being a disaster. It is so mendacious that it could have come from Varadkar himself.