A decent Brexit deal?
THERE is a maxim in politics that contains much wisdom. Commonly attributed to Voltaire, it cautions against letting perfect be the enemy of the good.
Rishi Sunak will be hoping the DUP and hardline Brexiteers show such pragmatism rather than undermining his Northern Ireland deal in the name of unionist purity.
But there is another saying the Mail also agrees with: Don’t try to pull the wool over voters’ eyes. Because they’re not stupid.
Yes, the Windsor Framework has many things to admire. Bureaucracy hindering trade between Britain and Northern Ireland is mostly being dismantled. Unnecessary obstacles around the movement of medicines, pets and plants have been cleared.
The Prime Minister deserves great credit for these achievements, which should materially improve life for families and businesses in the province.
Unfortunately, No 10 has accompanied the agreement with lashings of spin. Listening to Mr Sunak, you’d think it was nothing less than the Second Coming.
Yet the EU retains a right to interfere in Northern Ireland’s laws, VAT and state aid and the European Court of Justice remains the arbiter of trade disputes.
It’s hardly surprising, then, that some think the deal looks less like a new car than the same old model with a fresh lick of paint.
After a level-headed and forensic analysis of the detail, Boris Johnson was entitled to say he would find it ‘difficult to vote for’.
He was right that Mr Sunak’s pact will be for nothing if we don’t now make the most of Brexit by turbo-charging the economy – starting with cutting corporation tax.
But he’s also correct that people have other priorities, including the cost of living and Channel migrants. After seven years of Brexit squabbling, most just want to move on.
So the real question to answer on Mr Sunak’s deal is this: It’s plainly not perfect. But is it good enough?