If Lizz Truss MP has any gumption, it shouldn’t take her too long to wrap up the small matter that is the Northern Ireland Protocol.
The cold facts of the affair are as follows: The EU wants a deal and the UK does not want to initiate a trade war with Brussels.
The end result should be a final scenario which sees Northern Ireland enjoying the best of all worlds - free and unfettered trading access to both the EU and UK markets.
The former Brexit negotiator, Lord Frost, had become an impediment to progress in all of these matters. Sorting out deals of any nature is all about giving and taking. Lord Frost never seemed to have the ability - nor desire - to see the EU’s perspective on most of the issues that got to the very heart of the protocol.
I also found it strange that he was sent to unpick a deal that he had been to the fore in securing at the very outset. If this was the implementation of some form of creative logic on the part of London, then it totally bamboozled me.
Truss joins Northern Ireland Protocol debacle
Meanwhile, Truss brings with her a track record of rubbing British farmers up the wrong way.
While UK environment and rural affairs minister, she did very little to support production agriculture.
However, in her role as International Trade Secretary, she laid the foundations for the trade agreement recently agreed between the UK and Australia. A similar arrangement involving the UK and New Zealand is, more or less, over the line.
Both of these arrangements have the potential to see large quantities of cheap beef and dairy products heading for the UK from the southern hemisphere over the coming years.
Such an eventuality is bad news, in equal measure, for Irish and UK farmers. This is particularly so, where beef is concerned.
Trade deals and cheap food
The current government in London is totally wedded to a cheap food policy. The travel miles associated with the importation of food from Australia and New Zealand are enormous.
But Boris Johnson and his team of ministers seem to think this is a ‘price’ worth paying, despite the opprobrium vented upon them by environmental groups in the UK and beyond.
Adding to the hypocrisy of all this was the fact that the agreements with Australia and New Zealand were both agreed in the run-up to the UK’s chairing of COP26.
Liz Truss is now the UK’s Foreign Secretary. Gone are the days when Britain had its own bespoke Brexit Minister.
Where the Northern Ireland Protocol is concerned, she has a very simple question or two to answer: Does she sit down and complete a workable deal with Brussels in pretty short order or does she procrastinate?
The early weeks of 2022 will provide with us some answers.