Sunak’s flying visit to Belfast smacks more of a reality check than harbinger of a deal…

Rishi Sunak is in Belfast to brief party leaders this morning. There’s been rumours circulating for weeks that a deal is done. Unlike Boris Johnson, the current PM has not been spraying promises around the place or playing high stakes in the media.

It’s thought he’s kept the nature of the deal tight amongst a very small group within his own cabinet, so that what the party leaders hear this morning is pretty fresh. There’s an understanding in Dublin at least that this is not home yet.

“A distance to go yet” says the Tanaiste and Minister of Foreign Affairs Micheál Martin. For example, other sources in Dublin suggest there are still issues to be resolved on future proofing local accountability for the implementation of EU trade laws.

London too, according to Stephen Walker on Good Morning Ulster this morning, is also playing the caution card.

Today’s meetings will consist of 15 minutes briefings. So one one hand an updating process and on the other fishing for local steers before settling on a deal that finally sticks rather than another plaster that falls off with the first exposure to reality.

There does seem to be a new seriousness in the way the two governments are working with each others which has probably led to a shift in the attitude of the EU, which seems finally to have focused on the issues unionists alone have brought to the table.

Is the deal? Who knows. Despite the performative dance at Stormont over the absent Assembly, the Secretary of State has taken the pressure off the DUP by giving them time to see if what’s coming will address the concerns of their ordinary voters.

People forget the Belfast Agreement itself was a tricky manoeuvre that relied on people not making it difficult for those who had the toughest challenges (Trimble after the DUP pulled out, SF for suing for terms a long way from their military objectives).

“The world is not simply available; it is achieved rather than given.”
Alva Noë

Discover more from Slugger O'Toole

Subscribe to get the latest posts to your email.

We are reader supported. Donate to keep Slugger lit!

For over 20 years, Slugger has been an independent place for debate and new ideas. We have published over 40,000 posts and over one and a half million comments on the site. Each month we have over 70,000 readers. All this we have accomplished with only volunteers we have never had any paid staff.

Slugger does not receive any funding, and we respect our readers, so we will never run intrusive ads or sponsored posts. Instead, we are reader-supported. Help us keep Slugger independent by becoming a friend of Slugger. While we run a tight ship and no one gets paid to write, we need money to help us cover our costs.

If you like what we do, we are asking you to consider giving a monthly donation of any amount, or you can give a one-off donation. Any amount is appreciated.