I really can't believe the level of briefing going on by ministers and opposition politicians on the state of the Brexit negotiations. There are, as we have known for a while now, no simple or good options that please everybody.
The EU has made plenty of mistakes along the way to this point. Insisting that its political aims, such as no hard border in Ireland, are in fact technical aims. They knew they had drawn red lines that were incompatible with Brexit and then forced the UK into agreeing them - yes, the UK was utterly stupid to walk into the trap, but nonetheless, it has not worked out to the EU advantage.
This is because the EU wants a deal too, Macron in France and Merkel in Germany do not want a catastrophic end to UK membership when Eastern Europe and Italy are already finding manifold reasons to dislike the EU. So, a deal will be done.
On Ireland, the Irish have been very content to play hardball with the EU backing but that will change if the EU back off a little themselves.
Yet there is no reason for them too. A UK that remains in the Customs Union for another two or three years whilst solutions are worked out (away from the glare of BREXIT media madness) is the right route to take.
Why the Leavers are so against this is beyond me, all the years of wanting to leave the EU and now they fear they will Leave but not 'properly.' Madness. Also, in Parliament the remain in the Customs Union for a bit is probably the only vote May can win with enough remain rebels on both sides and few Brexiteers really brave enough to push for no deal AND a Corbyn Government.
Hopefully, this can all be decided soon as the economy is definitely starting to feel slow in part due to the tortuous path of the these negotiations. If it takes another three years (still prior to the next election) to work out the Canada Plus trade deal then fine - really, that will be fine with everyone. Immigration is already dropping and the Government can always focus on Non-EU immigration for some red meat in the meantime to sate its UKIP wing.
For the EU, allowing the UK to remain in the customs union whilst exiting is a big deal as it ruins its hand in the future negotiations - quite the opposite from what the Brexiteers are trying to parlay currently. With the UK not suffering any economic damage, the negotiations can proceed in an atmosphere of calm - to date the Eu has skilfully played on the deadlines imposed by itself and the UK to control the process. After March 2019, a reset will allow cool heads to prevail at last.