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Authenticity matters.

The UK-EU Brexit negotiations are warming up, largely at the instigation of the Brits. Sticking to its simple vision of the likely outcomes Britain is playing its cards for real. The EU bureaucrats are not.

Last week Johnson published his mandate for trade, set a date for agreement by June and, if disappointed will focus on managing the full disruption of a hard exit. He knows only too well that each of the other 27 member states fear their possible loss of treasure. He knows the British want above all to cut the European courts from any UK jurisdiction after December 31 2020. As I have set out before this will come down to a decisive adult against a confused child contest. The outcome will build either on the soft Canadian model or the hard Australian one.

Throughout, Johnson’s eyes are set on building the UK’s own trade futures with the Americas, with Asia and with its Commonwealth without any interference from a Europe it sees as in crisis. In a profound sense Britain has already left Europe – it is getting on with its new life. Any “deal” with the continent if entirely acceptable is just a bonus.

Negotiations are won or lost on the authenticity of the leadership.

Have a good day, James