Is it possible? Might it happen? Could the dreary steeples of Fermanagh and Tyrone be about to sink at last beneath the waters?

Probably not, is the answer. Unionism always finds a way to disappoint its supporters. But there is a chance –a chance, no more than that – that the EU and UK may have located a way out of the morass of grandstanding and pig-headedness that has marked the progress of the Northern Ireland Protocol.

Two factors are at work. The first was the quiet revelation by Maros Sevcovic, the European Commissioner charged with the outworkings of Brexit, that Brussels was prepared to relax more of the regulations governing the operation of the protocol. Sevcovic has made it his mission in life to bring the ongoing row over trade between mainland UK and Northern Ireland to an end before it leads to a disastrous trade war with Britain. With Liz Truss newly installed as prime minister, he is ready to go for broke.