After Trump and Turkey week for Theresa May but with the aftershocks still shaking the bones, Brexit week with the Celts must seem like an anti- climax. Despite all the warms words there is no sign that Mrs May is taking the pro-EU positions of two and half of the three devolved administrations even slightly seriously. The briefings before today’s Cardiff meeting could hardly be more underwhelming.
We will not agree on everything, but that doesn’t mean we will shy away from the necessary conversations and I hope we will have further constructive discussions today.
“We have also had the Supreme Court judgment which made clear beyond doubt that relations with the EU are a matter for the UK government and UK Parliament. We should not forget that that means MPs representing every community in the UK will be fully involved in the passage of Article 50 through Parliament.”
It looks as if she’s content to let Nicola stew in her own dilemma as the polls repeatedly show the failure of Brexit to boost support for a second indyref. She seems unmoved as Nicola turns up the volume.
Our own new all-woman leadership ( if we can call it that, shorn of titles and most of their ministerial positions) are getting their first joint outing and will expose their differences over Brexit and its implications. A split Northern Ireland non-Executive hardly presents much of an immediate challenge.
Sinn Fein have made their position melodramatically clear. But Arlene Foster apart from adopting her by now familiar dismissive attitude, has not spelt out how she thinks Brexit will benefit Northern Ireland. Indeed on the contrary the most detailed analysis she signed up to was her joint letter with Martin McGuinness highlighting the problems. Trust Theresa and cleave hard to the Tories is the thrust.
Whatever the divisions over Brexit, they have not prevented the new northern Sinn Fein leader Michelle O’Neill suggesting that Sinn Fein ”can do business” with the DUP after the election. This is an unexpectedly positive sign, or setting the DUP up to fail. Let’s hope the former.
Later in the week Theresa May heads for Dublin where nervous pessimism reigns and similar ignorance of how the British intend to confront the problems for Ireland of a UK outside the single market. Can Theresa get away with offering no specifics beyond the present “ clarity”? On form, you bet she can.
Former BBC journalist and manager in Belfast, Manchester and London, Editor Spolight; Political Editor BBC NI; Current Affairs Commissioning editor BBC Radio 4; Editor Political and Parliamentary Programmes, BBC Westminster; former London Editor Belfast Telegraph. Hon Senior Research Fellow, The Constitution Unit, Univ Coll. London