- May - who seems to have taken personal charge** - had impressed the eurowallahs with her earnest, purposeful and thoroughly euro-like weaselling over how many angels can dance on the head of the pin labelled "alignment"++
- the RoI Irish thought they'd racheted the North ever closer to their clutches
- Sadiq Khan thought he'd found the perfect precedent for London to declare UDI
- the Scotty fish-woman thought she'd not only done likewise, she additionally reckoned she'd got a new argument about how Scotland could be independent without a hard border
Enter the unsmiling DUP, who pulled out the rug from under the lot. I reckon they've done everyone a favour, particularly (a) those lazily beguiled by the aptly-termed magic thinking, and (b) anyone who likes to see the smirks wiped off the faces of Sturgeon and Khan.
Of course, the first-level euro-response is: how can anyone be so unsophisticated as not to understand a good weasel-solution?! But the second-level response is to recognise the situation all too clearly: May having problems with a small and stroppy coalition partner, which is the basic currency of domestic politics up and down the continent (vide A.Merkel ...)
I have a feeling this is strategically beneficial; because the eurowallahs are inclined to be understanding and helpful to anyone who is willing to join the huddle for a good bit of euro-weaselling; and May now seems to have qualified. Who can guess where this leads? But if they no longer think of her as a hostile, distant stand-off, doing her business through the apparently - and I'm sorry to have to say this - doltish Davis, but as another beleaguered European leader in need of intelligent help from her peers (a.k.a solidarity which, as I've said before, we don't really understand in the true euro-way)... Money? No object: we've established that. Rights of citizens? Trivial. No - it's all down to the structure of the trade deal: and everyone really wants this to be sensible.
Obviously there's another way to read the first few paragraphs above, namely that Hard Brexit, Hard Borders is now inevitable. Fair enough. But that's not my reading just now.
Which brings us finally to J.Corbyn, whose strategy is obviously to let the Tories dig themselves deep in their own excrement, then waltz in to power whenever the next election falls and run with whatever he finds. His slogan, a Brexit for jobs, is totally non-commital. The petty malice he intends can be achieved with or without Brexit. It may still work that way, of course. (McDonnell, I judge, really does want Brexit because his malice has much more comprehensive and far-reachingly structural aims, impossible within the EU.) We've discussed a lot of this before (- and I've offered a more pessemistic scenario, too).
Now: this rather depends on the eurowallahs giving May rock-all. But if they now find her an acceptable interlocutor^^ - and they know full-well Corbyn's useless & McDonnell's dangerous - and contrive a sensible outcome, they can probably see a result that, pragmatically speaking, is a good deal closer to the status quo than anything they'll get with Corbyn-Labour in charge.
More twists and turns to come, for sure. The Irish - both tribes - have moved this whole thing onto a different plane. Quite a lot was banked yesterday and the phoney-war phase may now be over.
** Ordinarily that's not a move one would recommend for a leader, but in this case it might have worked out for the better
++ Aspects of this are puzzling - although we are talking about Ireland, of course. For example, from my own sphere: both North and Republic come under an all-Ireland 'SEM' - single electricity market - with a brilliantly pragmatic form of integrated governance / operational mechanism, across two grids and two currencies. It works! Do the DUP find this highly subversive? Or do they, actually, quite enjoy reliable and (for a small island at the very end of the energy system) reasonably-priced electricity?
^^ Guido was onto this boost to her fortunes immediately, quoting Juncker as saying: "She’s a tough negotiator, not an easy one". Juncker also credited her with negotiating in good faith. We get the positive message.