Monday, 27th February, 2023

[Day 1078]

Today is one of those rain besmattered days throughout most of the country. As we know that we will be going to Waitrose tomorrow, we decided on a different course of action for this morning. I needed to access an ATM before tomorrow and so we decided to visit our local Morrisons which is quite a large store and has a range of goods within it. So this was our little venture out for this morning and once we had got hold of our cash we wandered around some of the shelves to see if anything caught our fancy. We did end up buying some ‘knee highs’ for Meg which she can always make use of and, whilst we were in browsing mood, I bought myself some good quality black duct tape of which I can never have too much. We availed ourselves of some pharmaceuticals and then made or home where we enjoyed our normal cup of coffee. We know that today is going to be quite a big day, politically, so we were not sorry to get ourselves parked in front of the Daily Politics program at 12.00pm on BBC2.

After lunch, I did a little sort of repair job using a wonderful little product called ‘Scratch Cover’. This is basically a wood stain, sold normally in three shades (light oak, mid oak and dark oak) and although scratches on furniture are rare, they do occasionally happen. But the product also helps to cover up other slight imperfections and helps to rejuvenate anything which is basically looking a little tired and in need of a face lift. I apply this product very carefully and so far, I am pleased with the results I have achieved.

Today we knew was going to be a huge day, politically, for Rishi Sunak. As I write, Rishi Sunak and Ursula von der Leyen, the EU Commission President, have agreed a new deal which is to be known as the ‘New Windsor Framework’. We know that the EU and the Sunak regime have been working quietly on this behind the scene for some weeks now. So the first part of this process has been ‘hard pounding’ but fairly straight forward as these things go. However, there are two critical hurdles to be faced in the days ahead. First of all is the reaction of the hardline Brexiteers in the present day Tory party who are probaby quite desperate for the deal to fail so that Boris Johnson may return in triumph as their leader once they have helped to organise the defenestration (literally ‘throwing out of the window’) of Rishi Sunak who they hate and despise. The other signiicant player is the reaction of the Northern Irish DUP themseleves who may not be satisfied with anything less than the complete capitulation of the EU to their agenda – which is not going to happen. The Brexiteers on the Tory party, in the shape of the European Reform Group, will probably take a cue from the DUP. If the DUP completely rejects the new agreement, then the ERG will probably follow suit and there will be a massive rebellion within the Tory party. But it must be said that the Tory party has been at war with itself for decades over the whole European issue. The reaction to the agreement is developing as I write. Firstly, Steve Baker, an ex-Chairman of the ERG but now a junior government minister has given the deal the thumbs up. On Sky News he was reporting that Rishi Sunak as well as securing a Green lane for goods destined only for Northern Ireland and a Red lane for goods destined for Eire has also secured a democratic ‘lock’ for Northern Irish politicians. Once a new Northern Ireland power-sharing executive is in place, then any new European legislation to which the Northern Irish took exception would have to go through a process of litigation in the Northern Irish courts and then the UK courts before it got anywhere near the ECJ (European Couurt of Justice). This democratic lock, though, could only be triggered in the most exceptional of circumstances. This is almost like a judgement of Soloman. It means that the EU can claim that the ECJ will ultimately have primacy – on the other hand, there are so many trip wires that have been put in place then it is doubtful whether any cases would ultimately get that far. So this is a situation in which each side can claim a type of victory. The DUP themselves have not as yet rejected the deal but given a ‘holding’ statement in which they say they accept that progress has been made but significant issues remain. No doubt the DUP and ERG lawyers will be going through the text of the new agreement line by line. What the reaction of the Tory party in the House of Commons may well emerge later on today. It does seem, though, that Rishi Sunak has secured an agreement that eluded both Theresa May and also Boris Johnson. Basically,Rishi Sunak has generated a degree of trust not accorded to other UK Prime Ministers. The UK may well have taken the view that Theresa May was too weak politically to make a deal hold whereas Boris Johnson was outright duplicitous and could not be trusted to break his word.