It is symptomatic of today’s spun politics, aggravated by groupthink in media reporting, that the Brexit trade agreement is chiefly garnering praise for being the one thing that it is not. Boris Johnson initiated this spin on Christmas Eve when he claimed “we’ve also today resolved a question that has bedevilled our politics for decades”.
This mantra was quickly taken up by politicians and commentators on all sides, in an emotional spasm of relief that the years of “banging on about Europe” and the subsequent post-referendum civil war were over. But, of course, they are not. The sole outcome that could have secured a final settlement of the European question, whatever its other disadvantages, was a no deal Brexit. In years to come, that reality will become more apparent.