‘Seven years on, Rishi Sunak has struck a deal over the Northern Ireland Protocol - But is Brexit really done?’, asks Dawn Neesom

Dawn digest 27th Feb
Connor Davidson

By Connor Davidson

Published: 27/02/2023

- 22:16

'The devil’s in the details but we can only hope the new Windsor Framework gives us all reason to be joyful'

When we were kids there were some words that got your mouths washed out with soapy water. Obviously, you can’t do that now because today’s little angels know their human rights and probably have the European Court of Justice on speed dial. But, hey, back in the day it did the trick.

Now there are some words that make you want to wash your brain out with bleach. Rather than the ‘f’ word though it’s the ‘B-word’.

Yes, you’ve guessed it Brexit.

A word that has haunted us for seven long years. A mythical oven-ready deal that made us all feel like we were the turkeys getting stuffed reading for a roasting.

We were told that it was all about getting Brexit done.

And now - drum roll please - it appears to have finally staggered over the line.

EU chief Ursula Von de Leyen flew into the UK for a televised love-in with Rishi Sunak, a cuppa with King Charles and announced The Windsor Framework.

Okay so ‘The Windsor Framework’, sounds more like a bad sitcom about Randy Andy but let’s not sweat the details.


Is everyone thrilled? No. But with rumours that Northern Ireland’s DUP could back the pact and even Brexit ‘hard man’ Steve Baker quashing all those quitting rumours this could be as good as it gets.

But you can’t please all the people all the time and nothing, repeat nothing, has ever been as divisive as Brexit.

Ever since the referendum results were announced back in 1816. Sorry, 2016, it just feels longer, the UK’s ability to debate without hate has gone out the window.

No matter what side you were on even the very mention of the ‘B’ word caused screeching hissy fits and often literal punch-ups.

It’s been a totally insane ride that I’m not sure any of us ever really saw coming. Families and friends have found themselves falling out over something that really should have never caused such hateful hostility.

It was a democratic referendum. And we were, once upon a time a democracy. Now everything that goes wrong from tomatoes upwards is blamed on Brexit.

Never mind the fact the world closed down for two years for a pandemic or that there’s a war in Europe, nope everything was all the fault of BREXIT!

Try to bring reason into the equation and a frothing-at-the-mouth, bulging-eyed nutjob would scream abuse in your face. Astonishing.

Oh and suddenly your very worth was decided on what and how many flags you had in your social media biog. The more the madder.

Now, please God, we can move forward.

The huge problem of Northern Ireland and its border with Ireland - and therefore Europe - had to come before all the petty rivalries and political vanities: a problem which, this evening, Rishi assures us is solved.

There will be plenty in the Tory party who perversely wanted Rishi to fail. Which is weird because if the Conservatives are to have any hope of surviving they have to show unity.

Surely to most politicians and we exhausted plebs out here the important thing is getting Brexit done.

With so much else on our plates - tomatoes and cucumbers aside obviously - surely it’s better for everyone now just to work together and get on with it?

Look, despite Ursula’s twinkly-eyed podium double act with her new bestie Rishi none of us should ever forget the European Union have behaved appallingly over us leaving their cosy little club.

They behaved like a tantrum-throwing toddler and did everything to make us pay for daring to Brexit.

Apparently, today though all is well.

But we need to demonstrate true bulldog spirit here, show the rest of the world what we’re made of and rise above it.

The hideous stalemate of the past seven years has caused genuine distress and hardship, especially to those in Northern Ireland who haven’t even had a government for over a year.

We’ve already had one police officer shot as the horrors of sectarian violence in The Troubles rears its ugly head again.

The Good Friday agreement that brokered peace is 25 years old this year and cannot be broken now. My dad used to drive lorries around Northern Ireland back in the seventies and can vividly recall how close he came to the unimaginable happening.

We cannot ever go back there.

Like all deals, there is the small print. 100 pages of it to be precise that lawyers from all sides now need to digest. The Dry-y Mc Dry Face of documents but so important.

Shakespeare wrote a play called The Merry Wives of Windsor.

Let’s hope this new Brexit Framework gives us all reason to be just as joyful.

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