In my last blogpost, I posed the question: given the entrenched positions of the DUP, the Irish government and anti-European Tory MPs, how was it even possible for a deal to be reached? Ireland required no hard border, which meant either that Britain as a whole had to remain closely aligned to the EU (ie. a soft Brexit), or there had to be a special status for Northern Ireland. The DUP's red line was no special status for Northern Ireland, which left no other option for Theresa May but to concede the principle of a soft Brexit right now - except, of course, that would be totally unacceptable to anti-European Tory MPs.
The circle has theoretically been squared today by allowing Tory MPs to retain hope that a soft Brexit can be averted by means of a special status for Northern Ireland, while also keeping the DUP on board by giving the Northern Ireland Assembly a veto on such a deal (which, given the cross-community voting arrangements in the Assembly, amounts to a DUP veto). Essentially, it's a temporary truce that hinges on the stupidity of Tory MPs - they have to believe it's possible that the DUP will eventually sign off on Northern Ireland becoming a "special administrative region", which is plainly never going to happen. When that realisation hits home, it's not hard to imagine how everything could quickly unravel, and an extreme 'no deal' Brexit could be back on the cards.
As far as the consequences for Scotland are concerned, arguably today's developments leave the Tories in an even worse position than the proposed agreement on Monday would have done. The Monday text merely conceded that one part of the UK could remain more closely aligned to the EU than other parts if it so wishes, which the Tories had previously said was impossible for Scotland. Today's text goes further and gives a devolved legislature a veto on one aspect of Brexit, which was also supposed to be completely impossible. The SNP are quite right to scent blood.
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Two new Scottish subsamples have been published since my last update -
ICM: SNP 33%, Labour 27%, Conservatives 24%, Greens 8%, Liberal Democrats 6%, UKIP 1%
YouGov: SNP 38%, Labour 30%, Conservatives 23%, Liberal Democrats 5%, Greens 2%, BNP 2%, UKIP 1%
Across all firms, twenty-seven of the last twenty-nine subsamples have put the SNP in first place.