Whisper it not, but it could just be that after three and a half long years we are on the edge of a Brexit breakthrough?

Having said that, I have to point out that I am writing these words on Friday; by the time you are reading this it might all have gone pear-shaped. And even if the UK Government and the EU are able to reach some sort of agreement it still has to get over the not unformidable task of winning a majority in the Commons.

At the moment the signs are positive for Mr Johnson, with both the DUP and the hard Tory Brexiteers making enthusiastic noises but this has become a zero-sum game – the more the Brexiteers purr with anticipation, the more the Remainers roar with indignation.

Clearly if there is going to be some sort of deal it would be what, in the past, we would have called a very hard Brexit indeed. One EU spokesman commented: “The UK’s relationship with Europe will be even more distant than the one we have with Canada.” (who’ve just signed a trade deal with the EU).

And that means that the hard-line Remainers – the Lib Dems, the SNP and most Labour MPs – will vote against Johnson’s deal. Hence, its chances of success might come down to how the odd Tory Brexiteer, the 21 former Conservative MPs expelled by Mr Johnson and the Leave-inclined Labour members choose to vote.

How many of these MPs will support the deal – if there is a deal – is impossible to know; all of which means that if and when it does come down to a vote on what’s being dubbed ‘Super Saturday’ the result will be close.

But hold on, I’m getting ahead of myself.

After months of non-negotiations what makes anybody now think that there is movement at last. And, if there has been, who blinked first?

Mr Johnson made the first move when, two weeks ago, he suggested that, whilst keeping the existing political border between Northern Ireland and the Republic, it would be possible to arrange for customs duties to be charged away from that border, enabling the UK as a whole to leave the EU customs area.

But then he proposed creating another border, this one for the single market (that’s where there have to be common standards for goods and services) in the Irish Sea.

This would leave Northern Ireland to all intents and purposes in the EU’s single market with the rest of the UK outside.

On the face of it both proposals looked like they might have been acceptable to the EU.

But there was a sting in the tail – the DUP, the main Unionist party in Northern Ireland, were being offered a veto which meant they could pull the UK out of the agreement, if and when it suited them.

This was unacceptable to the EU, the Irish in particular, and to many MPs.

Now, following secret talks between the British and Irish prime ministers, it appears that this veto might have been dropped.

Though what the DUP might have been offered in recompense remains, like so much else, unknown.

So here goes with predictions –which I have been trying to avoid ever since this Brexit business began.

First, there will be some sort of agreement – through in outline only – reached between the UK and the EU.

Second the agreement will squeak through Parliament.

Third, that the details won’t be agreed in time for Johnson’s do or die Halloween deadline.

The talks will continue after October 31 but it won’t be called “an extension”.

And with a no deal out of the way the opposition parties will agree to a general election

What happens then is anyone’s guess. There are too many imponderables for even someone as naïve as me to attempt a prediction.

Imponderables like: will Nigel Farage and the Brexit Party succeed in naming the deal BRINO – Brexit in Name Only – and then take votes off the Tories, denying Mr Johnson of winning a parliamentary majority, or will the Brexit party just wither and die, as did UKIP?

But two predictions can be made. If there is a deal, nothing will change.

Nothing that is until 2021.

This is because under the terms of an agreement already reached the UK’s transition period extends to the end of 2020, which means that very little will change until then.

And second, that even if and when we leave the EU, Brexit will continue to dominate British politics for many a year to come.

Ivor Gaber is professor of political journalism and is a former political correspondent based at Westminster