Just not at the meeting
The news today that both the Scottish and Welsh first ministers met in Brussels with the EU Chief negotiator Michel Barnier helps to underscore Northern Ireland’s absence and that it does not have a government to reflect its views even if it had an agreed position. That as Mr Barnier warns that the clock continues to tick on Brexit negotiations – and these are negotiations which could yet lead to some of the biggest changes on this island for decades.
That’s worrying from an island perspective but what is more worrying is the extent to which it is becoming clear that others may “not be at the meeting” either from a wider UK perspective. There has been an extraordinary intervention from the UK’s comptroller an auditor general who says a lack of energy and leadership in Theresa May’s government has left hopes of a successful Brexit at risk of falling apart “like a chocolate orange.”
Amayas Morse says the government had failed to take a unified approach to talks with the EU. He also revealed that a request to see a ministerial plan for the changes needed to leave the EU had been met with only “vague” assurances.
The perception of a failing negotiation has also been reflected in the pages of the Financial Times with a considered view that things are going badly wrong and instead of cake and eat it the prospect is varying degrees of national humiliation.
The clock continues to tick.