Posted by Thersites on  UTC 2019-09-19 11:16 Updated on UTC 2019-10-07

There are people who ramp up the seriousness of the earthquake they claim will follow a No Deal Brexit. There is a chance they may be right.

There are also people who claim that a No Deal will pass by with barely a fracking tremor that hardly disturbs the needle of the seismograph. There is a chance, too, that they may be right.

Between these two extremes there is a relatively rational position that simply terminating all existing relations with the EU overnight (currently on 31 October) – repeat: overnight – will create some difficulties, both in the short and the long term. No Deal is a vacuum which has to be filled with all the things that are required for further relations with Britain's closest trading partner.

What is certain is that these difficulties, the consequences of disengaging overnight from a relationship that has been matured and extended over more than half a century, will not be trivial. Just how big they will turn out to be is a matter of debate, but it seems that, as usual, only time will tell.

Boris™ has stated with vehemence that if an agreement is not reached with the EU, then 31 October will be a final No Deal exit. Having chosen emphatically and repeatedly the road to the cliff's edge, yesterday's meeting with the EU panjandrums appears to have been his Thelma and Louise moment.

The reports of his lunch with Juncker and Barnier yesterday in Luxembourg and Barnier's subsequent speech to the European Parliament – admittedly all of which accounts emanate from the enemy's side – leave no doubt that all his dealmaking efforts, about which he has blustered for weeks now, have been somewhere between totally worthless and non-existent. His own lack of contact with reality has become plain for all to see.

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It appears though that even his limited intellectual capabilities have finally grasped what leaving the EU entails and what consequences an overnight departure will have.

What he will do about it is another matter. Like Thelma and Louise, he has run out of road: 'Step out of the car with your hands up.'

Even with his talent for bluster and bombast, it will not be possible for him, now gazing into the abyss, engine idling, with NBFF Dominic Cummings at his side, to make a last minute U-turn, surrender to the cops and still remain as Prime Minister. The prediction that his premiership will be the shortest in British history would thus be fulfilled.

But a U-turn will have to be made. Flooring the accelerator is not a sane option – even for him.

We were told that preparations for No Deal were being conducted behind the scenes '24/7'. It turns out, when we peek behind the green curtain in Whitehall, that preparations are being undertaken over tea and biscuits by two civil servants, aided by Dilyn, Carrie's sweet new dog – the mindless, terrier-like get-up-and-go of the Jack Russell being invaluable at moments like this. The reason for this government inactivity becomes clear when we reflect that preparing for Britain's departure is actually what a deal was supposed to do.

What is the betting that Theresa's 'worst deal in history' will be put before parliament yet again? The backstop could be removed by dumping those pesky right-wing religious fundamentalists in Northern Ireland into some vague exclave (or enclave, depending on how you look at it) jointly administered by the EU and the UK as a protectorate. Labour and its Irish Republican sympathies would love to stick it to the hated Unionists. The refractory, troublemaking Scots would be happy that a precedent would have been set for their departure from the Union. Everybody would get something. Stranger things have happened.

After Thelma and Louise and a nod towards The Wizard of Oz we are left with only one more metaphor to hand: that chap – what was his name? – in that bunker, alone with his fantasies (dreams of the Incredible Hulk, for example, bursting out of shirt and shackles), with his mistress, his dog and a few loyal aids whispering in his ear about secret weapons and gigantic phantasmagoric armies of relief that are only days away (where they have been for the last two months, by the way).

It looks as though he is going to end up 'dead in a ditch', as he himself put it. Never tempt fate, Boris™. After all, the principal characteristic of the Incredible Hulk is that he is incredible – 'impossible to believe' as the dictionary helpfully puts it.

When – one way or another, the convertible or the bunker – what will be, will have been, we suspect that that nice Mr Gove will be drafted in to negotiate the last days of the Tory party, assisted by his RFF (Real Friend Forever), his former aide, Dominic Cummings, for whom unfortunately, at the critical moment, the gun jammed and the NHS cyanide was past its sell-by date. Pity, that.

Update 04.10.2019

According to a submission to Scotland's highest court today, the UK Government will accede to the wishes of Parliament (the 'Benn Act') and not leave the EU without a deal on 31 October. If no deal has been reached the Government will ask the EU for an extension.

With that, everything Boris™ (Thelma and Louise) Johnson, a.k.a Boris™ (dead in a ditch) Johnson, has said and reiterated vehemently in public since taking over as Prime Minister eight long weeks ago has been empty bluster. Mendacious, dissembling bluster. This is not a shock – we expected no different from him, after all.

The position on asking for an extension must have been known within the circles of the wise in Downing Street for some time. Even as recently as the Conservative Party conference in Manchester, Boris™ repeated the claim. Thus the word 'bluster' is too mild – 'lies' is a much more accurate word.

We just need to sit back now and observe how he squares it with the faithful.

Update 07.10.2019

Anyone who believes anything that Boris™ says needs professional help. His utterances are valid only during the time before the full stop completes them. Once that happens, they turn into simple lies – usually utterly brazen ones at that.

It came as a surprise that so many of the ERG group of Tories backed his candidacy for Leader of the party. One particular surprise was that the MP Sir John Redwood, who in most other respects gives the impression of being sane, supported Boris™ for PM.

In Sir John's latest comment on the state of Brexit we sense the python of betrayed loyalty that is tightening itself around his neck as his chosen candidate (apparently) pursues his fantasy agreement based on Theresa May's universally hated Withdrawal Agreement:

I voted for Boris Johnson as leader because he promised to take us out by 31 October, and he confirmed the Withdrawal Agreement was dead.


The present PM needs to tell the EU that his Irish border proposals to get talks going are neither an invitation to assume the text of the rest of the Withdrawal treaty is fine, nor an invitation to get rid of all the best bits of the border fix from the UK point of view in subsequent one sided compromises.. The press when the PM launched the ideas said it was take it or leave it. To change that approach now would be seen as weakness in Brussels.

John Redwood's Diary.

Sir John's comment on Johnson's 'Irish border proposals to get talks going' and his attempt to blame the EU for all setbacks are the kind of sophistry we would expect from Boris™ himself, the master of mendacity.

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