Johnson is about to learn brinkmanship won’t work.
The PM has bought into his own hype and forgotten the history of the Brexit negotiations.
Boris Johnson believes he achieved a withdrawal agreement with the EU acceptable to the ERG through sheer force of will that Mrs May just didn’t have; he forgets he did it by throwing the Irish peace process under the bus and capitulating to the demands of the EU on terms “no British Prime Minister could accept”. Mr Johnson has bought his own hype.
The myth of the buccaneering King Of Brexit bulldozing his way through the gridlock and startling those stuffy farts in Europe into signing on the dotted line is just that; a facetious myth. And that same facetious myth is imperilling us onto the cliff edge of No Deal as we speak.
Johnson is threatening and blustering, and the EU aren’t blinking. In order to get a deal over the line Johnson will have to humiliatingly climb down and accept we don’t “hold all the cards”, we hold virtually none. Yes, the sky won’t fall in upon No Deal, and elements of the assessment of such an outcome are hyperbolic bordering on ridiculous, but the outcome would be disastrous for us, and however much it hurt the EU it would hurt us more, an economic shock we are in no state to absorb.
There can be no more lies, the clock ticks and the EU shows no signs of relenting; if Johnson wants to put the country first he’ll sign whatever measly deal is on offer. I still maintain the most likely outcome is a last second deal, but Johnson is legitimately considering No Deal on the basis of saving his pride, which shows how unfit the man has always been to serve as Prime Minister.
Talk of a mandate for WTO is an insult thrown in the face of the British electorate; the Tories made quite clear there would be no more talk of Brexit, and an easy deal, dismissing Jeremy Corbyn’s talk of “years of bogged down negotiations”. Well, who was right in the end? Tories now trying to sell this situation as what people voted for is beyond reproach.
The task lies with Labour to propose a fairer vision of a post-Brexit Britain; one where we renegotiate this terrible treaty we are about to sign and create a closer, more collaborative relationship with our European neighbours, and protect jobs and standards, while having the right to develop a radical vision of our economy beyond the constraints of EU neoliberal legislation, and a threshold in place so we don’t undercut standards. Rejoin isn’t the answer, Renegotiate and Reorient is.
Keir Starmer must hold these people to account for their lies, and throw their statements back in their faces; they deserve nothing less.