This much is clear at the end of a potentially pivotal week that saw the Government appear to compromise any prospect of a post-Brexit trade agreement with the European Union and, in doing so, jeopardise any potential deal with the USA due to a high-handed approach over Northern Ireland’s pivotal Good Friday Agreement.
Not even Covid-19 – and misgivings about the extent to which the Government’s ‘rule of six’ restrictions on gatherings compromises civil liberties – masks Britain’s impending isolation unless Boris Johnson can win back the trust of those international partners bemused by a desire on his part to break the ‘rule of law’.
It can only be hoped that wiser heads in the Cabinet, such as Chancellor Rishi Sunak and Alok Sharma, the low-profile Business Secretary, can, in fact, prevail before a no-deal Brexit – a high-risk strategy in good times – hits the economy as it begins to make a tentative recovery from the first Covid-19 lockdown.
Be in no doubt, however, that the devil is in the detail – and that much is clear from the Department for Trade’s official press release which cites an “agreement in principle” with Japan.
Furthermore, it says Yorkshire Wensleydale cheese, Yorkshire forced rhubarb, Grimsby smoked fish, Swaledale ewe’s cheese and Dovedale cheese form the list of products from this region that “could” be protected.
Note the use of the word “could” – there are no guarantees – and any dividend might prove to be shortlived if the EU and USA shun Britain on the issue of trust. As such, there’s now much food for thought for an embattled Mr Johnson as Brexit and Covid-19 coalesce on a potentially defining weekend.
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