Another chaotic week in Brexit Land

Boris Johnson is happy to speak outdoors against a noisy backdrop

Bonkers Boris batted a blinder this week. The media went crazy, saying how he had been deliberately snubbed and humiliated by the Prime Minister of Luxembourg. Cabinet ministers lined-up to say how badly the UK had been treated. It all played into the hands of Boris because it allowed a cynical “us” versus “them” narrative. It enabled Boris the Bonker’s mates to tell us “this is why we need to get out of the EU”.

However, we need to take it all with a megadose of salt. Remember, apart from a couple of small examples, the bulk of the British media is “pro Brexit”. So you don’t always get the exact story.

Here’s what happened. Several days before the visit to Luxembourg various teams at Number Ten would have been involved in discussions with their counterparts in the Grand Duchy to work out precisely what would happen concerning the planned press conference. Briefings would have been provided to the media and technical arrangements made, such as parking for satellite trucks, cable laying, and so on. These things don’t “just happen”.

Furthermore, the Government security teams would have been in Luxembourg a couple of days before to check all was OK. Our Prime Ministers do not travel the world without thorough security planning in advance. One of the checks that will have been made would have been about the likelihood of protests and the potential threat from such events.

So, BEFORE Boris even set foot in Luxembourg, he would have known that the press conference was going to take place outside and that there was a good chance of protests. If he had wanted to get the press conference moved, he had the opportunity to ask for that several days beforehand. But, by refusing to take part on the day, Boris was able to effectively blame it on the Luxembourg Prime Minister, Xavier Bettel. And that plays into Boris’s “we must leave” mantra. This week we’ve seen much of the media and probably millions of people “agree” that we were snubbed. That’s simply is unlikely to be true. It’s much more probable that this was a deliberate cynical act by Boris to attract positive headlines for himself and negative ones for Europe.

Talking of negative headlines, the Labour Party is doing well in attracting them. First, they want to get rid of Tom Watson. Then the chief strategist who wrote the last – and highly successful – Labour Party manifesto quit his job as an advisor to Jeremy “Confused” Corbyn. He did so as he said there was no chance they’d win an election. And just after that, the MP Jess Phillips admitted she had no idea what the Party’s policy on the EU was as it was so confusing.

This all happened within 24 hours of a poll of Labour Party members which revealed that just over 50% of them want “more Government control” of the media. Welcome to Russia.

Just as the Tory Party is basing its Brexit strategy on a wad of lies, giving Labour an “open goal”, Mr Corbyn and his acolytes were busy tearing shreds out of each other. That’s before coming up with a new policy on how we should treat menopausal women in the workplace. Now, I know that the menopause is not funny, and it deserves more attention. But just as the country is about to face an enormous existential crisis, it doesn’t seem to make sense to focus on such things – however significant – while Boris is driving us towards the cliff edge.

Boris meanwhile seems to be sensing “Victory in Europe”. He’s hoping for another VE day like his hero Churchill. Bonkers Boris keeps saying a deal is possible and will happen before mid-October. But he has forgotten one thing. Any agreement – even “Mrs May’s deal in a blonde wig” (a great line from Jess Phillips) – needs approval from Parliament.

He has almost no chance of getting a deal through inside two weeks before October 31st, and he is banned from “no-deal”. So, even if he does come back from the EU Summit on 18th October with a deal, he is going to HAVE TO ask for an extension from Europe to allow our Parliamentary process to take place. Yet he has said “under no circumstances” will he ask for an extension. Boris seems to have forgotten that under the very circumstance he is saying will happen, that he is going to require an extension.

Boris only has three options: ask for an extension to allow his deal to go through, ask for an extension to get another deal, or revoke Article 50. And I repeat: he has said he would not ask for an extension “under any circumstance”. That means his only option is to revoke Article 50. He has boxed himself into the tightest corner. But just like the “Luxembourg Lectern Snub”, don’t put revocation past it being a Boris plot so he can blame someone else.