German Chancellor Angela Merkel has just gifted the United Kingdom a No Deal Brexit. (Thank you, Mutti!)
Heaven knows whether this is what Merkel intended to do when she let it be known that a Brexit deal is ‘overwhelmingly unlikely’.
But this, surely, will be the net effect of her intransigence.
If Merkel has removed a ‘deal’ from the table, then it follows logically that the only remaining option is ‘No Deal.’
I’ve seen ‘experts’ on social media – usually ones of a Remainer-ish persuasion – describing this as a ‘catastrophic failure of diplomacy.’
I disagree. It looks much more to me like a case of ‘Everything going according to plan.’ At least it is, if like me, you want real, meaningful Brexit to happen.
One of the things the more sharp-eyed among you may have noticed in the three and a half years since the Brexit referendum — and in the fraught negotiations preceding it — is that the European Union is not remotely interested in striking an equitable or even mutually beneficial deal with the United Kingdom.
All along – and people like the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier have been perfectly frank about this – the sole purpose of the EU’s dealings with regards to Brexit have been to humiliate and bully the United Kingdom.
There’s nothing personal about this. (Well, not much). It’s simply like this: if you allow one prisoner to escape without being shot, then all the others will expect to be able to escape without being shot. So, better to shoot the first escaping prisoner good and dead to make sure none of the other prisoners are tempted to make that foolish bid for freedom.
On the British side of the equation, meanwhile, any attempts to negotiate the Brexit that the majority of people want have been stymied by an entrenched Establishment congenitally predisposed towards Remain. This Remainer Establishment has tried – with some success – to make the termson which Britain leaves so awful that everyone has second thoughts and realises that it would have been better to Remain all along.
All this is very obvious, I’m not pretending otherwise. But I think sometimes we become so embroiled in details that it’s worth taking a step back and looking at the bigger picture.
It’s certainly why I’ve always been, perhaps naively, confident that what we’re going to get is a No Deal Brexit.
And also why much cleverer analysts, such as veteran economist Dr Ruth Lea, have been predicting the same.
A few months ago, Lea put a 75 percent probability on a No Deal Brexit. And she has an excellent track record with her predictions: she was one of the few who predicted a positive outcome from Britain’s departure, in 1992, from the European Exchange Rate Mechanism. She also correctly called out Gordon Brown on his disastrous deficit spending policies. And she has been a vocal critic of the Remainer Establishment’s Project Fear.
What is Ruth Lea’s special skill? The same, I think, as that of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s senior advisor Dominic Cummings – to spot the blindingly obvious when everyone else is running around like headless chickens.
The European Union is our enemy and can be relied on unfailingly to act like our enemy under all circumstances.
What, therefore, is the canniest option when facing such an intractable opponent?
Why to use his intractability against him, of course!
Boris – in his sweetly optimistic way – probably imagined that somehow he could engineer a congenial Brexit by jollying along all the competing parties and steering everyone to some kind of compromise deal which would get somehow get accepted by the EU and voted through by parliament.
I’m quite sure that Cummings never entertained such a fantasy. On the ‘accepted by the EU’ front, especially, it would fly in the face of everything that has ever happened ever.
Merkel is not, of course, herself an EU functionary. But she thinks like the EU and she acts very much with the EU’s interests in mind.
There was a fascinating example of this earlier this year in the BBC’s fascinating documentary Inside Europe: 10 Years of Turmoil when we were shown then-Prime Minister David Cameron going round Europe with his begging bowl to try to persuade the various EU member state leaders to give him something, anything to incentivise the British people not to vote Brexit.
He failed, of course.
In one scene, Merkel was shown keeping him waiting late into the night. (She appears to need little sleep). This is a common EU tactic – the idea being, of course, to wear your opponent down until he gratefully seizes whatever gristly, rancid, flyblown morsel you care to toss him.
She got away with it with Dave. She won’t get away with it with Boris who has sensed that, for all his squeamishness about confrontation, the British people are fully behind him and that this is his moment.
Angela Merkel has done Brexit an enormous favour. It has made the British more determined than ever to get the hardest Brexit possible (for which self-respecting Briton wants to be told by the Germans what they can and cannot have). And it is going to force Boris to do the right thing.