Counting the Brexit Chickens.
Everyone is asking me about Brexit. Can Boris outnegotiate Europe? What about Scotland? What will he do post October 31?
the next few months are not about Brexit – they are about power, Boris and his crew retaining it. The heart beat of populism is not the jingoism, the insensitivities, the twitterings – that is just the noise in the system. The heart beat, what makes it so dangerous, is being prepared to say anything, go to any lengths not to help your country but to ensure you stay in power for a few days more. Truth flies out of the window, long term values, conviction politics follow quickly after. Nationalism, Britain First, becomes the totem of right and wrong. Here’s the distillation of where we stand as at the end of July:
Boris has a wafer thin majority of three in Parliament – a figure already threatened by an election next week in Wales. At least a third of his Conservative party want to remain. The Labor opposition is conflicted, hesitant, sees an oportunity to take power itself and lacks the leadership to act – however they will vote to remain. So Boris will lose a straight vote, if one is called in the next few days.
Meanwhile the European Union is facing down the despotic and populist disruption caused by Italy, Greece and its most recalcitrant members to the east and south. The E.U. has to stand firm, make an example of the UK over Brexit if only to encourage the others and prove their own leadership resolve – that is why the new leaders matter so much. So Boris is not going to win any time soon a special victory that eluded Theresa May.
Instead even after 3 years, Boris has no friends and a cabinet of tyros and fellow travellers with no visionary thinking and no chartered course to the benefit of their country. However change your paradigm – see instead this for what it really is – a narcissistic and megalomaniac dance of power. Boris will:
– cast about noisily checking his adversaries – hence the schedued visits to Scotland, Wales and Ireland in the next few days where he wi be pilloried;
– continue noisily to challenge the E.U. expecting a vigorous and clear rejection;
– talk a strong and generalised stream of promises about abolishing things, increasing sovereignty, building on special relationships, increasing incentives and wanting to work with anyone who will listen.
And then the Pauline conversion – a shift in thinking, a new “understanding” of the E.U. realities, and the “feelings” of the British People. He has “listened” and he will go to the country offering a scond referendum if elected.
Already that is a winning game.
According to my playbook, Boris is indeed counting his chickens – he is doing so very carefully.
Have a good day, James