While everyone, including myself, has speculated how Boris Johnson could be the Hero of Brexit, it may come down to French President Emmanuel Macron being that hero.
Macron has made noise after noise about not wanting to grant any more extensions to the U.K. to delay Brexit. He wants Brexit completed.
That’s what Macron wants you to believe. And as we close out another week of Brexit drama, that’s what everyone is supposed to talk about until Monday when Boris Johnson brings forth his latest attempt to get a General Election through a Parliament inchoate with hatred of him.
Mike Shedlock has his latest take up on his blog covering this angle. It is well-considered. Mike believes Macron is serious and predicates his analysis on this position.
This is the heart of his analysis:
We now have confirmation that Johnson is indeed coordinating with Macron, something many refused to believe could possibly happen.
Now France is saying “an extension is not a given” . That’s something even I rejected, perhaps incorrectly.
I have made the case many times.
1. France is sick of this mess more than any other nation.
2. France does not want the UK wrecking its policy in the European Parliament (EP). Perhaps Johnson even said that to Macron.
3. France and Germany are at odds over many issues in the EP.
4 . France picks up EP seats once the UK leaves. Germany does not.
We do not know if France is buffing on No Deal. Nor does anyone else, except perhaps Johnson.
But if France withholds support until Tuesday, Labour is going to be damn well pressed to do something.
The Liberal Democrats and SNP will be even more pressed. After all, an election serves both SNP and Jo Swinson of the Liberal Democrats even more so.
Mike has this absolutely right that Johnson and Macron have undermined Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn’s opposition to a general election. Macron is playing hard ball to get this treaty done and dusted, as the Brits would say, so he can move on with his EU political integration without the Brits vetoing everything in the European Council.
That is, in my mind, the only compelling argument for blackmail that Johnson has over Macron. The threat of appointing Nigel Farage as the U.K.’s representative to the European Council should turn all those moldy old Eurocrats beyond white.
And as fun as it is to imagine that happening, I don’t for a minute think it’s close to the truth.
Macron would love nothing more than to tie the hated U.K. down with this Treaty and years of pointless negotiations using the Free Trade Agreement as leverage to undo all the ‘wins’ Boris got in his version of the deal.
He leaves the U.K. with no voice but still setting U.K. policy through ‘regulatory alignment’ and a ‘level playing field’ with the European Court of Justice the final arbiter.
How can he sign on the dotted line faster?
To get that treaty through all Macron has to do is scare enough MP’s into either voting for it before Thursday or grant Johnson the election he’ll likely win.
Either way the deal is more likely done than it was before.
But, the truth is that Johnson isn’t any more a committed Leaver than Theresa May was. He talks a good game and is more convincing than May but he doesn’t need this deal or any of the machinations associated with it to deliver Brexit.
No Deal is the default position. The Benn Act didn’t change the Withdrawal Act invoking Article 50. Johnson could do nothing here and run out the clock (also something Mike considers) but that’s not what he’s doing.
What he needs is a political victory that saves the Tories from extinction while betraying Brexit fundamentally. The Withdrawal Treaty he cooked up with Macron, Barnier and Juncker last week accomplishes that.
He’s played this game very well blackmailing everyone into the final betrayal of Brexit by co-opting the strongest voices in the ERG, making them cabinet members and cooking up a game of chicken with the French President.
The U.K. will not be leaving on Thursday without a deal. The question is whether it will leave on Thursday with Boris’ deal or later with Boris’ deal.
Never forget that none of these people act independently. They are controlled by or in cahoots with powers that stand behind them and set the actual policy.
Brexit is to be betrayed. How that happens is just a matter of doing so without appearing to do so.
I still think the goal is a second referendum. Corbyn is trying to attach it to the call for a general election. But, that doesn’t really gain the Remainers what they want because the new government doesn’t have to be bound by anything passed by the previous government.
So, it may still come down to calling Macron’s bluff, ousting Johnson, putting together a caretaker government and committing political suicide to stop Brexit.
We’ll see if I’m right or if Mike is right.
But here’s the out there scenario. Here’s the thing no one has considered. And I’m now spitballing here because something about Corbyn’s opposition to this deal of Boris’ rings very hollow.
Jeremy Corbyn talks a good game about worker’s rights, the NHS and the rest of the Labour talking points in opposing this deal. But what if Corbyn’s opposition to this deal is based on the above analysis, that Macron and Johnson are fundamentally betraying Brexit and British Workers?
What if he knows this is a bad deal for the U.K. and Boris is cooking the books just like May did to snooker people into a Brexit In Name Only?
And he’s refusing to give Johnson his election because he knows that leads to a Tory victory which fundamentally betrays Brexit through passing this Treaty.
Corbyn has been assumed to just be opposing Johnson on petty partisan grounds, but what if it’s deeper than that. Corbyn is a Euroskeptic. He voted Leave, after all.
The problem now for Corbyn is he has no leverage, as Mike points out, except to call Macron’s bluff and force the Benn Act into motion with an extension to January 31st.
And that plays directly into the hands of No Deal. Because with every extension and betrayal, Nigel Farage looks more and more like the moderate and the only grown-up in the room caring about respecting the 2016 referendum.
The polls are already moving in Nigel’s direction with the hint of Johnson failing to deliver on Halloween.
An extension will see Farage take a significant chunk of seats in the Midlands, forcing Johnson into a harder Brexit stance than before.
That leads me to the weirdest question I’ve asked in a long time. What if Jeremy Corbyn is using the blind fear and hatred of him taking power to get the very result he wanted from the beginning but his party blocked him from advocating?
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