Most people living in Northern Ireland now believe that the Northern Ireland Protocol provides a “unique set of economic opportunities” for the struggling region.
That's because - unlike the rest of the UK - they have seen how the Protocol (the agreement designed to prevent checks along the border between the North and the Republic after Brexit) provides Northern Ireland with unfettered and enviable access to both the EU and UK markets.
For that reason, an impressive 62 percent of the people living in Northern Ireland now see the serious economic benefits of the Protocol, according to the latest Queens University Belfast study.
62 percent is a very convincing majority. Clearly Northern Ireland, and in particular its business community and on-the-ground entrepreneurs, have gotten the memo.
It's important to recall that the North voted emphatically against Brexit, because they clearly saw its destabilizing threat to the region. So the rapidly growing support for the Protocol is pragmatic, because it is seen as the best means to ending Brexit's political instability.
But the support is also entrepreneurial because the opportunities to sell to both markets is a once-in-a-lifetime economic windfall that no other part of the UK will enjoy.
The only people still pushing back against the Protocol are a tired old collection of yesterday's men: loyalist hardliners, fringe unionists, and the not-an-inchers within the DUP leadership.
Swapping a once in a lifetime economic windfall (in the poorest region of the UK) for the same old shoddy Brexit deal being enforced elsewhere, in their great wisdom loyalists and their political representatives have asked for the shaft instead of the goldmine, leaving the majority in the North to look on with disbelief.
Given these lamentable developments, you might think that a sober UK government would take this opportunity to steer a principled middle course through troubled waters, citing the once in a lifetime bonanza that the agreement represents for the hard-hit North, and reminding the public that they wrote and signed off on the deal themselves after all.
But the UK government has instead been acting like a group of beer addled Oxonions, only outdoing each other in the pursuit of the next most inflammatory statement, and threatening to break their own word and international law as if that were a commonplace of international relations instead of a disastrous breach of their own integrity and a proof of the UK's dimming profile on the world's stage.
As bumptious leaders like Boris Johnson and the suddenly hard to find Northern Ireland Secretary of State Brandon Lewis shadowbox with the latest Brexit bogeymen, it would be nice to find a sober and far-seeing Tory politician to respond to the latest looney tunes actions and threats made by loyalists and their glowering political representatives.
Instead, however, we have just witnessed a bus being set alight on the November 1 date that the DUP had given for the resolution of the Protocol “issues.” You have to ask yourself though, what kind of resolution do the people who set buses on fire hope to attain? We had over thirty years of hooded figures setting buses on fire and it didn't seem to result in very much political or economic progress for either community, now did it?
Unfortunately for Johnson, Lewis, and loyalism, public opinion in the North is now far ahead of the politicians already, and that public opinion has embraced the stability and opportunity of the protocol that Downing Street and loyalism wish us to believe does not exist.
It does exist, however. There is no political or economic crisis. The Protocol is already successfully working between the Republic, the UK, and the EU and it will continue to. The EU will not renegotiate a line of the deal they signed with Johnson nor is there any point in asking them to, because they have understood that Johnson's government negotiated in bad faith (and Johnson's former senior political advisor confirmed it).
Setting fire to buses in an attempt to destabilize what has already been accepted is just Monday morning Molotoving.