Don’t let the smoke and mirrors fool you. This has been yet another terrible week for Boris Johnson.
Despite his swashbuckling display at the Tory party conference, and praise for a toned-down rhetoric in Parliament yesterday, he’s still playing the same old game.
Bluster hard enough and maybe the idiots will actually believe me.
The truth is that all of Johnson’s power is gone. He is entirely reliant upon Parliament to support his new deal, which is, unbelievably, looking possible.
But his “deal” isn’t actually a deal. It’s an offer to the EU, and the offer basically amounts to a fart in a jar.
The EU has given Johnson an extra week to find extra concessions that don’t create not one, but two borders on the island of Ireland. They have rejected his offer, politely but firmly, and that is the real lay of the land.
Johnson will not be able to find a revised deal in the space of a week. And so he will push on with no-deal, even though it is illegal.
As in, to pursue it would be to commit a crime. Quite how he will get out of that little hell of his own making is, currently, anyone’s guess.
But that’s for next week. Let’s have a quick review of this past one then drink ourselves to oblivion.
Links, as ever, in the subheadings.
The Tory conference was in full swing, and Sajid Javid announced plans to raise the minimum wage. This policy, like the entire Conservative Party Conference, is irrelevant in the immediate future, because the Tories have no majority, and so cannot enact it.
If, as per the other parties’ conferences, this is merely a policy designed to win a future election, it is also irrelevant. A General Election will be dominated by Brexit, and nothing more.
So that, like most politics of this current era, was an utter waste of time.
Meanwhile, the PM was in the midst of yet another scandal after Times journalist Charlotte Edwardes alleged he groped her under a table.
These allegations have fallen by the wayside since Boris announced his new proposals for Brexit.
Who could have possibly foreseen that?
Priti Patel, the Home Secretary, looking every part the Bond-girl who actually turns out to be working for the baddies, announced to the CPC that the UK would be turning to a points-based immigration model, like Australia.
See above for why this is, at its core, irrelevant and pointless.
She also warned criminals that “We are coming after you.”
One can only assume that upon hearing this, Boris Johnson quietly shat himself somewhere.
Anyway, Boris vowed to give the EU a “Final Offer,” which made the Conference irrelevant again.
Sorry. More irrelevant.
Boris gave his keynote speech to the Tory Party Conference, and was much more like himself. He made a joke about the Speaker of the House eating a kangaroo testicle, however, which is a rather unfortunate mental image.
He was rightly praised on his delivery, but the speech was also entirely lacking in anything remotely close to substance. No policy announcements, nothing definitive over Brexit – just the repetitive, meaningless mantra of “Get Brexit Done.”
To be fair to him, he then tried to do just that. Boris sent a proposal to the EU which included customs checks across the Irish border, as-yet uninvented technology, and giving the DUP, the Northern Irish hard-right party, full control over the entire system.
Which, as I’m sure anyone with a passing knowledge of Brexit will know, is almost offensively crap.
The EU didn’t reject it outright, but gave overtures about dissatisfaction with parts of it.
By the EU’s standards, this is the equivalent of flipping Boris the bird and screaming “TA MERE” at him.
Boris gave a statement to the House of Commons about his new proposals. He struck a conciliatory tone, a stark contrast to last week’s balls-to-the-wall, borderline offensive rhetoric.
He was praised by morons for trying to be kinder. People who aren’t morons quickly saw through his new tone as being a ploy to try and entice support from Leave-supporting Labour MPs.
It has, to some extent, worked. The rebels in the ERG who rejected May’s deal have all come on board, and at least five Labour MPs have openly stated that they will support the deal.
So, the big question – is this it? Is this what will, finally, break the Brexit logjam and smash us through into the reservoir of national harmony, drowning a few major cities of reasonable, fact-based dissent along the way?
No, it’s absolutely not.
Because it’s not a deal.
A deal requires two sides to accept it. The EU will not accept this paltry attempt at a deal. While Johnson may have whipped up support within Parliament to try and force the EU’s hand, they absolutely will not accept anything that could threaten the Good Friday Agreement or damage the EU’s trade customs.
So for all the optimistic rhetoric you will see on the front covers of the newspapers today, do not be fooled for one second – Brexit is not even remotely over.
The EU has given Boris an extra week to try and make his deal more appetising than vomit-glazed roadkill. The kind of concessions they are asking him to achieve, however, are almost certainly not going to be palatable for the ERG and Labour supporters he has just managed to convince.
If he fails to do so, then the EU summit on the 17th of October, where Johnson hoped to finalise a deal, will be moot. It will be case of extension, or, somehow, no-deal, despite it being illegal.
This is the infuriating thing about our politics – despite it being clearly illegal, by virtue of the fact that we passed a sodding law saying it was, Johnson has ignored it and has just kept waffling on about it.
However, a Scottish court is currently considering whether or not Boris could be literally jailed for enacting a no-deal Brexit.
Boris might go to prison, you guys.
We will, almost certainly, delay Brexit again. If Boris refuses to do it, the EU has said it will listen to another representative of our democracy, possibly the head of the Civil Service, Sir Mark Sedwill.
And what of Boris? Will he be forced to stand down through his inability to “GET BREXIT DONE”? Or will he use his failure as a strength, pitting himself against “the anti-Brexit establishment”?
We shall have to wait and see. But it’s going to be a vicious, snarling couple of weeks.
Also, Rory Stewart is running for London Mayor as an independent candidate, having been kicked out of the Tory party. Quite a strange decision, given that he could easily have joined a different party or stood as an independent MP, but it might prove to be a good one for his career.
Just think. A few weeks ago, he was competing against Boris Johnson to be our Prime Minister. Imagine, just imagine, what things could have been like if he’d succeeded.
…Still shit, probably. But most likely considerably less so.