Brian has a point when he argues that the DUP may struggle to oversell the complications of this Brexit deal. Of course they should be given time to look over the car and kick the tyres. Sammy Wilson and others are entitled to point out the shortfalls.
But this deal changes the overall degree to which any UK government is willing and prepared to go out on a limb to salvage things for the DUP in particular and unionism in general. The phoney Brexit war is over, so is the accompanying cosplay.
It’s too easy to miss the fact that it also sets the UK on a critical path back in a direction towards the single market (politically impossible though it remains for any UK party to consider joining it. It also starts the process of unf*cking the UK economy.
This is vital for Sunak. He may not believe he can win the next election but he has been busy trying to mend the so called Blue Wall of pro European, pro business constituencies in the southern part of England that had been threatening to detect.
Green shoots of recovery of the sort currently evident inside the EU (including Ireland) constitutes the bare minimum he will need to try to close the 20 point gap Starmer’s Labour has opened up on his Conservative Party.
In this context, as Brian says, “the DUP would be wrong to make a fetish of a new and complicated way of saying no”. Why? The bigger politics of the UK the question of whether Stormont returns or not is a secondary matter to the UK’s economic wellbeing.
I doubt they are parsing the text for legal purities. Instead it is far more likely that they’re putting surveys and polls in the field to test the waters for not just whether they can sell this deal but whether they launch and win a new contest for the FM’s job.
What should concern us then is how we get a decent reform process capable of delivering a democracy that allows our institutions not just to fail (it’s a feature not a bug), but to fail safely. And if we have to wait longer for that, what odds?
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty