Current Affairs Politics

Boris Johnson’s Brexit Plan: Fake, Fatuous And Futile

A “scam”. That was the description offered during the week by Jonathan Powell, the former United Kingdom chief negotiator at the time of the Good Friday Agreement in 1998, when discussing leaked proposals by the UK premier Boris Johnson to end the current Brexit impasse between Britain and the European Union. And sure enough the plan unveiled on Wednesday at the Conservative Party annual conference in Manchester had all the hallmarks of a carefully conceived con job. Albeit a con largely aimed at a British audience, with the hopes of stoking up further self-righteous indignation among the UK’s Leave-supporting electorate by convincing it that the country had done all that it could to reach an equitable exit agreement with the EU. And that the ingrates of Europe had no one to blame but themselves if they rejected a “fair and reasonable compromise”.

In fact Downing Street’s suggested plan was not just a repudiation of a previously agreed understanding between London and Brussels, itself the end result of two years of torturous negotiations, but swift analysis has shown it to be unworkable on almost every level: politically, legally, regulatory and so on. It is a nonsense, a would-be smoke and mirrors trick that might deceive the willingly gullible in the UK but is glaringly obvious to the EU. So we are again, stuck with a non-deal from the elected leaders of Britain that will lengthen that nation’s non-Brexit and with no obvious end date in sight, despite all the machinations and tactical plays of Leavers and Remainers alike.

The Brexiteers may think that they can make Ireland and the rest of Europe the scapegoats for the deliberate scuppering of any real prospect of an amicable separation between the UK and the EU, and the Tories’ hibernophobic and europhobic allies in the Democratic Unionist Party were on the attack within hours of Boris Johnson finishing his speech at the Conservative Party conference, but few informed people will be fooled by this. Even on the other side of the Irish Sea.

For some evidence of that realism in Britain one can reference the episode below of the BBC’s Question Time political panel show where even a hard-right Brexit-loving, Irish-despising newspaper columnist and guest struggled to find any merit in the British government’s threadbare alternative to the Backstop Protocol and the Draft Withdrawal Agreement already signed up to by Boris Johnson’s predecessor, Theresa May.

18 comments on “Boris Johnson’s Brexit Plan: Fake, Fatuous And Futile

  1. They’re either too smart by half or too stupid by far, take your pick, but whichever they’ve made a complete balls of fooling anyone. I’m not sure how all this will play out in Britain, but the DUP are certainly in deep shit on this side of the water. And so they should be.
    I’m wondering about the possibility of either of two things happening. Will Johnston throw the DUP under a bus to get a deal? Or will he get Hungary to veto an extension, thereby nullifying the Benn Act, in order to crash out with no deal? We’ll have a better indication by this time next week.

  2. Boris is turning the tide most effectively with his transparent machinations, the DUP must be shitting themselves.

  3. Im sure the UDA inner council and UVF brigade staff will want to know from the DUP why there will be border down the Irish Sea.

  4. Best lines from Boirs school report from Eton, 1981:
    “Boris sometimes seems affronted when criticized for what amounts to a gross failure of responsibility.”
    “I think he honestly believes that it is churlish of us not to regard him as an exception, one who should be free of the network of obligation which binds everyone else.”
    So not a lot has changed then?

  5. David Mac

    Dumps his wife for a woman 26 years his junior, his wife having cervical cancer at the time, a right gentleman is our Boris but loved by the undereducated over 70’s National Service mob who spent their youth putting down the natives in the last enclaves of the old empire.

    • On a related theme (pun intended) just like Boris Johnston himself, his aul scoundrel of a father, Stanley Johnston, has been elevated to something akin to a national treasure by, primarily, the BBC. This is the same Stanley who drove his wife, Boris’s mother, to a complete mental breakdown by his numerous affairs during their marriage. The poor woman was in and out of mental institutions for years before she recovered.
      Another one deemed to be a national treasure by the BBC is the extreme right-wing politician, Anne Widdecombe, formerly of the Conservative Party and now a Brexit Party MEP. Widdecombe left the CoE and converted to Catholicism when the CoE decided to ordain women.

  6. Whatever path we take over the next few months, eventually this all ends up with Brexit cancelled or a WA with NI only backstop.

    Leaving the DUP shafted, regardless of how this weeks accusations of Lundy resolve. Heading into NI’s centenary. That should certainly put them in the mood to use the celebrations to reconcile with their erstwhile rivals. Reach out the hand of friendship, equality, respect. I’m sure they will be restrained in iconography, emblems, bunting, flags, statements, parades, bonfires. There will be absolutely no taunting or coat trailing. Then they will wonder why there’s a majority in favour of a border poll and re-unification.

    • I wouldn’t rule out a no-deal exit yet. Brexit may be cornered but it’s not down. If the Brexit zealots in government and parliament, Cummings and company in particular, can find a way around the legal and parliamentary obstacles they will do it.

      • I’m not, I think the pressures on the UK in the event of a no deal are such that a WA w/ NI backstop would be passed as soon as a GE allowed it to.

        • Could be. The latest twist, BoJo could threaten to send Farage as a UK nominee EU commissioner. Nonsense of course, as if he could just be appointed by the UK and not require ratification.

  7. Difficult not to think that his two-facedness is going to come home and really hit him. It’s one thing to project oneself as the saviour of Brexit, another at every instance having said something different to authorities (such as the Scottish courts this last couple of days re an extension).

    • I’ve seen some interesting analysis that this proposed deal is a DUP climb down and indicator of its weakness. Maybe so. But if the proposal was never a real one in the first place, and the DUP going straight for the Dublin jugular hot on the heels of the announcement certainly indicates that, then they had nothing major to lose by letting BoJo float it. They knew it was a non-starter and just part of a cover story, a fake narrative to explain away a hard Brexit.

      • I think the DUP thought they were being clever. Offering to agree to something the EU had already rejected, while also having the power to terminate the agreement should the EU actually accept. I don’t think the DUP anticipated the criticism, and they can’t really come out and point out the above without validating WbS assessment. As you say ASF, the rapid responses, the leaked prepared Tory responses, and Johnson’s statements all point to this being a time wasting effort, not a real offer.

      • Except, ASF, you’re not allowing for the NI electorate in all of this. The penny has finally dropped with Brexiteer business-people and farmers in NI that they’re going to suffer badly from any form of Brexit, never mind crashing out with no deal. They already feel as though they’ve been led up the garden path by the DUP and are in no mood to buy this latest bullshit. Most of NI is saying to itself, “How can we blame Dublin for not accepting something that we wouldn’t touch with a barge-pole ourselves?” It’s a toss-up which angers the electorate more: That the DUP genuinely support Johnston’s cunning plan or that they have been playing a game all along.

        • True. Though how will it play out if a UK general election takes place in November? The DUP will be hitting the danger to the union wardrum pretty hard. Enough perhaps to nullify soft pro-union but Remainer votes going APNI and Greens. I know there is an growing perception that the DUP will take an electoral hit for Brexit but I’m not at all sure about that. Unless agreed candidates emerge or certain parties stand aside in certain constituencies the DUP is likely to retain all its Westminster seats.

          • Good point. I’m hoping a combination of electoral pacts and the galvanising effect of Brexit on small-u young voters and middle-of-the-roaders will do the trick. The latter types last got off their arses to vote in the GFA referendum.

            • South Belfast has got to be in contention, with the DUP only having 30% of the vote. APNI are running Bradshaw, the SDLP Hanna. I think the political winds and the candidates make Hanna the favourite. Throw in some bad November weather and I think DUP loses.

              South Antrim might also be in contention, last time out DUP won with 38%, with the UUP on 31%.

              The wildcard of weather in psephologist prognostication is going to be fun.

              • Totally agree on South Belfast. I think the only way the DUP retains it is through pig-headedness on the part of their challengers – which I wouldn’t rule out. No idea about South Antrim, to be honest. I’d love to see Lagan Valley going to the APNI. Pompous wee “Sir” Jeffrey would be wonderfully distraught.

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