After many months of difficult negotiations, accompanied by sometimes bitter briefings, leaks, and recriminations, agreement has finally been reached on one key element in the increasingly fraught EU negotiations. Theresa May and David Davis have finally managed to achieve what look like consensus on the colour of the unicorn which they are going to demand from the EU. Itâ€™s taken two years, but at last there is now a clear route forward to the point at which the UK government formally asks the EU to declare its proposals unworkable, unrealistic, and undeliverable.
How on earth they can possibly imagine that the EUâ€™s insistence on a backstop arrangement for Ireland â€“ to which they both apparently agreed last December (albeit with their fingers crossed behind their backs) â€“ can be realised by agreeing a date at which said backstop comes to an end whilst still not having a clue about what will replace it, is a mystery only to those who fail to understand the sheer uniqueness and specialness of the UK. So, most of the world, then.
Meanwhile, Corporal Johnson, one of the other ringleaders of this whole process, has been recorded privately warning that Brexit (or rather the more â€˜combativeâ€™ approach which the Prime Minister is going to take in relation to her demand for that unicorn) will lead to a â€˜meltdownâ€™, but like his near namesake, his response is simply to tell everyone not to panic. But as I recall from that old TV programme, the customary sequel to â€œDonâ€™t panicâ€� was a request for â€œPermission to panic, sir?â€�, so we have at least something to look forward to in this long-running end-of-the-pier show before the entire cast lead the audience over the end of said pier, waving union flags and singing Rule Britannia out of key.
A good scriptwriter would have at least some idea about how heâ€™d get his characters out of the briny for the next episode; but at the moment thereâ€™s nothing better on offer than the traditional â€œwith one bound he was freeâ€�. Itâ€™s a plot line that might have worked on steam radio in the 40s and 50s, but surely no-one would seriously depend on such a cliched mechanism in this day and age?