They’re at it again, our dear ‘leaders’ and our dear MSM ‘journalists’! When they haven’t got “sources” to give them interesting titbits of ‘Brexit gossip’ to write about, they pump hot air into deliberations by backbench politicians about a GE and a 2nd Referendum. 

No surprise then that the latest Brexit items were the meeting of Johnson and Varadkar and the deliberations of Corbyn about a GE. First things first – what happened at that meeting? The Times has a lovely little ‘mood piece’ setting the scene:

“It was not lost on observers that Boris Johnson and Leo Varadkar’s meeting took place at a wedding venue yesterday. Despite the happy couple going for a walkabout in the grounds with a photographer, this wasn’t a union but more of a rapprochement at astonishing speed.” (link, paywalled)

The next sentence, a seemingly casual aside, is important – no, not the bit about what Johnson was wearing:

“The first sign that Mr Johnson arrived in a mood for emollience was not just that he had brought Mr Cummings with him, but that the famously eccentric dresser was wearing a suit and tie. Both delegations were as high-level as possible. The prime minister brought his EU sherpa, David Frost, and the cabinet secretary, Sir Mark Sedwill. Mr Varadkar came with their Irish counterparts. For much of the time the two teams were left out of the room. Mr Johnson and Mr Varadkar sat on large chairs in a lounge and discussed the impasse alone for an hour and a half. They summoned in their teams to update them on what they had hammered out. The pair then went for a walk while the aides worked on a joint version of events, which Mr Johnson and Mr Varadkar posted simultaneously.” (link, paywalled)

We know that Cummings is fierce about preventing leaks – if leaks are needed, he’ll do them himself, anonymously, such as the ‘big leak’ on Monday to the Spectator’s James Forsyth. Thus only the agreed statement was published – you can read it here – and there are no titbits about toys having been thrown out of prams, as of yet. You’ll be very glad to know that both sides immediately went to tell ‘Big Daddy’, M “Non” Barnier:

“Mr Frost [the Olly Robbins replacement] headed straight for Brussels. Steve Barclay, the Brexit secretary, will meet Michel Barnier there today. Last night Mr Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator, was being briefed by Irish officials.” (link, paywalled)

Keen comment posters on various political sites pointed out that the choice of “Pathway” in the statement was a bit unfortunate, given the venue – Liverpool. Those of us with memories going further back than last Tuesday remember what ‘Liverpool Pathway” stands for. Others pointed out that Johnson would have to convince the DUP that he’s not sold them out. Here’s an analysis, based on the official statement:

“Three things are true: the DUP does not want a no-deal Brexit, it does not want Labour in Downing Street and it needs to be able to justify any deal to its base. The DUP also knows that if Jeremy Corbyn reaches No 10 before Britain leaves the European Union he could negotiate a softer withdrawal than it wants. How the DUP responds will be a function of the weight it assigns to each of these key issues.” (link, paywalled)

‘Official’ sources who talked to the MSM about that meeting made the following remarks:

“Critically, he [Johnson] is understood to have dropped his insistence that the Tories’ DUP allies be given a veto on new arrangements coming into effect. The Times understands that Mr Johnson spoke to Arlene Foster, the DUP leader, before the meeting and last night party sources did not dismiss what had been agreed out of hand. However, they cautioned that there was a long way to go in the negotiations and suggested that Mr Varadkar may have been overly optimistic. Even if it can be agreed in Brussels, if the DUP rejects the plan it could still be turned down by the House of Commons. Nevertheless, there was a feeling in London and Dublin that genuine progress had been made before next week’s European Council meeting.” (link, paywalled)

Well, that’s nice, but I’m not so sure I believe that it’s all lovey-dovey from here on in. Like the former ‘analysts’ who combed through the official statements in the press of the former Soviet Union to find tiny, hidden bits which could be significant for further policies, I found this, tucked away right at the end:

“Mr Johnson made no public comment after the meeting but Mr Varadkar said that what had been agreed should be “sufficient to allow negotiations to resume in Brussels”. (link, paywalled)

One might interpret that as ‘Johnson has given away too much and he’s not sure if he can sell it to the DUP’. Another indicator for Johnson having lost many of his negotiating feathers is this:

“A Brexit deal is possible by Oct 31, the Irish Prime Minister has said, as he suggested a last-minute breakthrough could be on the horizon. […] Reports have emerged from Ireland that Mr Johnson was preparing to give ground on the issue of Northern Ireland staying in a customs union with the EU.” (paywalled link)

No wonder Varadkar was beaming when he left the Liverpool venue! The Backstop ball is now in the Barnier Court. Given his track record of first saying that ‘acceptable progress’ has been made and then coming back with variations on the theme of “Non, Nein, No”, we all have to wait and see, even the Times correspondent who writes somewhat hopefully:

“The strong likelihood is that anything backed in Dublin will satisfy the European Commission and the most important member states, such as France and Germany.” (link, paywalled)

I’m not so sure that Madame Merkel will be satisfied, given her remarks to Johnson in that telephone call on Tuesday.

That brings us right back to our wonderful domestic Remain Theatre with all the speculations about what the Remain Harlots might do next. There will be talks, exhortations and arm-twisting galore in the Tory Party today and over the weekend because they know that Johnson must deliver on Halloween or it’s curtains:

“The Daily Telegraph has obtained a ComRes survey which was presented last week at a conference fringe event attended by Tory MPs. Mapping voter reaction to five Brexit scenarios, it showed the Tories would only win a majority in the Commons if Britain left the EU on October 31.” (paywalled link)

Obviously, Labour is aware of that. That’s why Corbyn was dithering as usual between calling for a GE or demanding a 2nd Referendum – or both. This is the latest permutation:

“Allies of Jeremy Corbyn are putting intense pressure on the Labour leader to support the strategy [of going for a 2nd referendum first] as they fear that holding a general election first could result in a Tory victory and then a hard Brexit. […] In a keynote speech yesterday, Mr Corbyn stuck to his guns, saying that he still planned to demand an election within days of the Prime Minister requesting an extension from Brussels. He promised a second referendum on Brexit, but only after Labour had won power at the polls.” (link)

Well, we all know how much we can trust politicians’ promises! However – his own backbenchers are dead keen on Remain (nothing new there) and prefer to go together with the Tory Remain Harlots, sorry: ‘rebels’, to get that 2nd Referendum first:

“Opposition MPs and Brexit rebels are planning to ambush Boris Johnson and force him to hold a second referendum on EU membership. Labour’s Hilary Benn said he was looking at ways to get MPs to support a ‘people’s vote’ when the Commons returns for a special Saturday sitting on October 19. Those behind the plan want a lengthy Brexit extension and a new referendum by the end of March next year – with a general election only following afterwards.” (link)

By the end of March 2020? For goodness’ sake! Given the complicity of the Speaker, given the statement of the EU Parl President Sassoli about the conditions under which an extension would be granted – a GE or a 2nd Referendum – it’s no wonder that the Remain Harlots think they can achieve their aim!

So while we wait for the verdict of M “Non” Barnier and while we look forward to the coming weekend of plot and counterplot to fill the MSM, let’s keep our MPs ‘honest’, let’s not get caught up in MSM hysterics but

 

KBO!

 

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