I think I finally grasp what the problem is. Basically two opposing realities. Northern Ireland has a land border with the Republic of Ireland and therefore the EU. Northern Ireland is part of the UK which is no longer part of the EU. With Brexit the government chose the former as being more important, freedom from Brussels meant more than the integretary of the UK. Thus the need for customs protocol through the Irish Sea.
Coco can wish this problem away in his dreams but it will not and cannot disappear. He cannot realistically blame it on retainers (although that will not stop him). He also has a couple of other problems related to trade. To invoke Article 16 and create a trade war with Europe and therefore also provoke trade talks with the Biden administration to collapse leaving Brexit as a huge economic disaster (well, well!). All this at a time when the British public are showing signs that the vaccine success may not be enough to counter the litany of failures.
I do not know enough about the nasty party to say how the cookie crumbles regarding the ERG and the ‘red wall’ seats. But I suspect it will take more than a few bypasses and housing estates to satisfy the demands for ‘levelling up’. I can just imagine the fuckwit actually trying to blag that ‘levelling up’ was just a euphemism for projects which would make it easier for the residents of the north to reach London.
And then the problem of London. A Labour Mayor with some charisma. His idea of levelling up seems to be creating local mayors who can then be blamed for inadequacies. I think he is already realising that this might not go to plan. Andy Burnam in Manchester has been a formidable opponent and proponent of the area. Even Andy Street in the West Midlands has not been a pushover. But again we have a muddle – creating overlapping mayors (West Midlands and Birmingham for e.g.) – appearing to devolve decision making to the regions whilst centralising power . new structure for NHS will do this. Education is similar, give the impression of freeing schools from local authority control (locally elected control) and pass it over to academies answerable only to Westminster. And Londons place as a financial centre and economic centre of the UK. 1 in 7 live in London and another 2 in 7 are inexorably entwined.