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British leader Boris Johnson is aiming for No Deal Cliff, but will he jump?

The Brexit clock is tick-tock. Or more specifically, the Trexit clock, as the UK has already left the European Union and is now struggling to leave the transitional portion of its lengthy divorce from the EU (and some might argue from reality). Right now there is talk of the stiff upper lip and the lightning bolt in London, and of growing astonishment and dismay in Brussels that the British could actually be as disturbed as some would claim. At least the ones in Downing Street and Westminster; and whatever is left of the metaphorical Fleet Street. Was the widely publicized story of additional naval vessels sailing to La Manche to prevent foreign fishing vessels from entering a harbinger of future British action? A new cod war for the smartphone generation? Or was it just routine planning for the impending dispensation to the EU that the Whitehall spin doctors did an extra round or two on the PR wheel to put pressure on the unruly continents? And the French in particular.

The reasonable money is a last minute compromise agreement, or the promise of an agreement through another endless extension of one kind or another. However, in the last great UK and Europe gamble, the reasonable money backed the former, which remained married to the latter. And we all know how that turned out. Of course, in the near future, all kinds of mini-deals across all kinds of UK-EU interactions are inevitable, no matter how much the British may snort and puff about them. And many are already in the game or about to be.

Not least the so-called Northern Ireland Protocol, the old backstop clause for steroids, the effects of which will be felt in the coming months and which will create a maritime customs border in the Irish Sea. A 21st century division that has led some Irish and British journalists to joke that Brexit did more to put Ireland on the springboards to unity than the IRA ever did. Without the Good Friday Agreement there would be no protocol. And without the IRA, there would have been no Good Friday Agreement. In order to…

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