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Irish Border Face-Off, Comfort Squirrel and the Mock-Croc Bag

WE'RE winging it over to the Emerald Isle today where tensions are fraught over the Irish border as the final EU-UK face-off about Brexit begins.

After months of Prime Minister Theresa May bemoaning the ball is in the EU's court, Michel Barnier has made a move, declaring a deal could be struck as soon as next Wednesday. As long as the UK agrees to his terms on how to prevent a hard border down the centre of Ireland, by either the whole of the UK remaining in the customs union or alternatively, Northern Ireland agreeing to remain in it alone.

Arlene Foster of DUP fame has kicked off, declaring her party won't vote in favour of the Government's upcoming Budget if Mrs May agrees to anything which would rip Northern Ireland away from the rest of the UK - they are the Unionist party after all.

But this is all a bit of a stab between the shoulder blades for Mrs May, who thought she was the one wielding around the bribery in this relationship, after giving them £1 billion from the magic money tree last year in exchange for the DUP's undying support.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn was also left incensed yesterday (Wednesday,) at Prime Minister's Questions, over Mrs May's claim that austerity was over, calling it "a great big Conservative con". Mr Corbyn called repeatedly for an end to cuts, along with pay rises for teachers, police officers and other public servants following Mrs May's promise during her keynote conference speech last week, urging her to get on with it without delay in this month's Budget.

In classic back-track mode, Mrs May responded what she had actually been talking about was a "loosening of the purse strings". Um Mrs May, This Reporter thinks you'll find we've got it right here on tape, and you definitely said there would be an end to austerity ("take a chance on me").

The highest court in the land has decreed a bakery run by Evangelical Christians was not under any obligation to bake a cake decorated with the message "support gay marriage". Ashers refused to produce the cake featuring Sesame Street puppets Bert and Ernie in 2014 for Gareth Lee, who supports the campaign to legalise same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland.

The UK Supreme Court's decision overturns all previous decisions that the bakery discriminated against Mr Lee because he was gay, saying that Ashers' actions were correct under article 10 of the European Convention on human rights which includes the right "not to express an opinion which one does not hold". Write that on a cake and it would have to be in the greyest of grey icing.

And finally, story of the week thus far, is the tale of the American woman being chucked off an aeroplane for trying to take her comfort squirrel on board. As we know, comfort, or emotional support, animals on planes are now a thing - we are just going to have to deal with that one - but what we may or may not have known is only certain animals are allowed aboard to do the comforting and a squirrel is absolutely not one of them. Something to do with teeth and claws.

The woman, who remains anonymous, refused to get off the flight until the police were called and forcibly removed her and her squirrel, identity also unknown, holding up the flight from Orlando to Cleveland for two hours.

This Reporter declares the last person to show such an affection for a squirrel was Kim-Joy on the Great British Bake Off with her inanimate ones fashioned out of paprika. Before her Beatrix Potter and This Reporter will give you a clue. There's only one she considers worthy of the much-proffered Paul Hollywood handshake.

But back to the squirrel, and This Reporter sees there's only one thing for it, and that's to fake it with this seasons - one of many -  must-have bags, which according to Vogue will inject a ladylike flair into any outfit. This Reporter's not completely sold on that. But this one by Lemaire in seasonal pumpkin crocodile effect leather is good enough to distract from the meerkat belted into the seat next to you, on the plane.

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