Thursday 10 December 2020

Boris must stop weaving a web of deception and deliver a clean Brexit

"Boris must stop weaving a web of deception and deliver a clean Brexit," says Ben Habib in the Telegraph, and "Now is the time for the PM to break free of his past false promises."

Strong stuff, one thinks. Read on as Ben produces the sort of guff that passes for informed opinion in the once-respected Telegraph, before they fired all their proper journalists.

It is not quite going to plan, is it? With a thumping majority you would be forgiven for thinking Boris Johnson should be able to carry his agenda. So what is the problem? It is this, his premiership was won with a deception.

I get that most politicians lie most of the time but Boris’s deception was not on matters of secondary importance. It was on the key issue he was elected to address, Brexit. Remember, for the months preceding his election victory, the Country was in a constitutional crisis. It only ended when he told the people he had an oven ready deal which would allow the UK to leave the EU whole as an independent sovereign nation, trading with the EU as an equal. Not a single aspect of that statement was accurate.

I did point out repeatedly at the time, in this newspaper, that his claim was false. But with brexhaustion having gripped the nation and virtually every Tory putting party before country, his deception went unchecked.

Why did he do it? It was politically expedient. It gave him the ammunition he needed to win the election and he no doubt figured he could sort it all out later. The bit that still foxes me is why he did not ditch the deal once the election had been won but before the Withdrawal Agreement was signed. His rhetorical ability would have enabled him to carry that 180-degree U turn. But he willfully signed the WA and set in train the next set of constitutional crises. The first of these is playing out at the moment, Northern Ireland.

With the pressure heaped on him now with Northern Ireland annexed off into some different status, separate from Great Britain, why does he not start playing a straight bat? He thinks, I suspect, that he can put a positive spin on the outcome for Northern Ireland and that people will not notice. He is wrong. Michael Gove repeatedly referring in the Commons, in his statement on 9 December, to Great Britain and Northern Ireland, as opposed to the United Kingdom, belies any claim of union.

The next crisis to come will be in having to explain to the British people why he signed up to a trade deal which encompasses an EU level playing field, fixed fishing quotas, ECJ interference and possibly military interoperability as well. For if he wants a deal, this is what he is going to have to do.

And the crisis after that will be Scotland. Sturgeon is inexorably moving towards a second referendum. She is emboldened by the Northern Irish settlement.

Oh the tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive.

The Prime Minister must stop weaving. If he wishes any form of positive legacy he must now do what, in fact, is supremely politically expedient. He may not yet see this but the expedient thing to do is to leave the Transition Period without a deal. Only by cutting the ever tightening Gordian knot of the web around him will he begin to see daylight.

The British people will be 100pc behind a no-deal outcome. They have all witnessed the malign attitude of the EU to the UK ever since 2016. With the exception of a hard-core of Remainers, we want to be firmly rid of the EU.

It is also only with a no-deal outcome that he will be able to break Sturgeon’s momentum. With the UK genuinely out of the clutches of the EU she would find it very difficult to mount a campaign to hand back control to Brussels including that of Scottish fishing.

Having done all that he would be in a strong position to properly unpick the Northern Irish Protocol.

Now is the time for Boris Johnson to break free of his past false promises. Draw the sturdy sword of integrity and slice through the apron strings attaching us to the EU. Liberate himself and the Country at the same time.


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