Donald Tusk’s arrogant rejection of Boris Johnson’s Brexit backstop proposal letter probably represents the biggest unwitting favour the EU has ever done for Britain. But despite the ever-present Brussels death-wish, I am profoundly dismayed by the narrow nature of the Prime Minister’s definition of ‘Real Brexit’. My suspicion is that he is underestimating Farage’s ability to tear apart any Withdrawal Agreement that fudges the real nature of Sovereign Brexit.
This morning, I received just an inkling of a whisper from an out-of-favour Tory MP that Boris Johnson might be contemplating a little jeu de main with ‘Hard Brexit-No Backstop’ politics.
Being as I am incorrigibly nosey, I’ve been re-reading BoJo’s little billet doux to Donald Tusk. To be honest, I’ve only done so since the aforementioned MP raised two points; that said, my own hackles are now raised somewhat.
Here are two excerpts that concern me, along with my italicised comments:
‘I wanted to set out our position on some key aspects of our approach, and in particular on the so-called “backstop” in the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland in the Withdrawal Agreement….The changes we seek relate primarily to the backstop. The problems with the backstop run much deeper than the simple political reality that it has three times been rejected by the House of Commons.’
Erm, actually it is the Withdrawal Agreement that has been rejected three times. I sincerely hope Boris isn’t going to take “primarily” too literally. As both I and hundreds of other online commentators have pointed out at length, the backstop is far from being the only bear trap in the WA.
The second extract is, however, infinitely more worrying (my emphases):
‘Time is very short. But the UK is ready to move quickly, and given the degree of common ground already, I hope that the EU will be ready to do likewise. I am equally confident that our Parliament would be able to act rapidly if we were able to reach a satisfactory agreement which did not contain the “backstop”: indeed it has already demonstrated that there is a majority for an agreement on these lines.‘
If BoJo sees common ground everywhere in the WA, then he is looking in the wrong places. And if he thinks a Commons majority for WA + finessed Backstop is what Brexiteers mean by “leaving” the EU, then he needs to think again.
I owe the lowly MP a huge debt of gratitude. In my own defence, I was distracted (quite usefully, as it happens) by a story about Jeffrey Epstein’s Will. But I had already speed-read the letter. Tonight, my main emotion is “Just howTF could I have missed that?”
Luckily for me – and indeed all Brits who still grasp what independent nation status means – in its own inimitable fashion, the EU has decided to poo all over the Prime Minister’s ill-considered olive branch. In truth, Johnson was offering most of the Olive Grove apart from a bit on the other side of a small lake; but true to form, Brussels rentboy Tusk has done his “Non” De Gaulle impression.
Tusk’s response insisted that, ‘the British government is refusing to admit the lack of realistic alternatives’ – a ridiculous position whose wording reminded me of Hitler’s self-effacing claim, in relation to Czechoslovak protests in 1938, that “my patience on this question is exhausted”. He was, at the time, talking about the wholesale invasion by Germany of a foreign State based on the truculent nationalism of a few German Nazis in the Sudetenland. (If you don’t now what I’m talking about, look it up you ignorant pillocks.)
There are realistic alternatives.
- The EU continues to insist that ‘the withdrawal agreement cannot be re-opened’. This is complete legal hogwash. The legs-akimbo May woman may have signed it, but not only has it not been ratified by our Sovereign Institution, it has been rejected – by enormous majorities – three times. The Brussels space cadets may think it closed, but it is a nothing at present: it is an agreement proposed by a organisation that has no sovereign authority in international law. But hey, busted-flush Europhile desperadoes, good luck with that one at the UN.
- On the table already (and suggested by Barnier in 2018) is a simple Free Trade agreement to keep the existing tariffs between us in place, but with none of the federalist takeover neo-imperialist unelected fascism that typifies the Brussels-am-Berlin approach.
A brief look at Downing Street’s response is required…..so herewith.
First and foremost, Johnson is scaling back contact with EU officials over the next 10 days in order to allow UK officials to focus on taking the UK out of the EU. Today, Steve Barclay the Brexit Secretary announced that British officials will decline to attend hundreds of meetings already lined up to keep them busy. Hurrah! One lesson learned at least (and at last) by Downing Street: ignore the homework.
Second, Boris has meetings scheduled with both Merkel and Macron prior to the G7 Summit in France. He also has a session inked in and guaranteed with Trump before any G7 sessions start. I still think BoJo might play a Trump card to poke Brussels firmly in the eye. We shall see.
Downing Street sources are tonight batting off the usual suspects. The Evening Standard (now edited by recreationally altered and failed eurofan George Osborne) was quick to insist that the EU reaction to the PM’s letter was one of “emphatic and united rejection”. But then, Little George the Osborne draper lied for England throughout his Chancellorship about paying off debt, wiping out the deficit, reducing the debt, borrowing less, false growth based on debt, lowering the deficit, wiping out debt and strengthening the Pound by laying off debt.
There is a crucially important point for Boris Johnson to take on board in all this. If Brussels won’t even budge on the Backstop issue, the pain of negotiating with these unelected Mafiosi simply isn’t worth it. Press ahead with No Deal and let them stew in their own thin and tasteless juice.
But I am still left with the bitter taste of betrayal in my mouth having read his gift horse to Donald Tusk.