Monday, 19 October 2020

Australia, Somalia, and acts of war


Perhaps the PM really believes, as he has said all along, that the EU will eventually back down and give ‘Global Britain’ the penny and the bun, although the idea that he ‘believes’ in anything other than himself stretches credulity somewhat. Perhaps he’s just playing a game in which the thinnest of deals miraculously conjured up at the last minute as a result of UK concessions can be presented as a huge victory, achieved by being resolute.

Back in 2018 he speculated about the idea of having Donald Trump leading the negotiations on behalf of the UK, saying that “There’d be all sorts of breakdowns, all sorts of chaos. Everyone would think he’d gone mad. But actually you might get somewhere.” Note the use of the word ‘might’. Another possibility, therefore, is that, albeit very late in the day, he’s decided to follow the Trump approach after all. It’s an approach which has certainly led to a number of renegotiations of international agreements by the US, but close examination of them suggests that the general rule is that both sides lose. That doesn’t worry Trump at all: as long as the US loses less than the other side, he calls it as a victory. (And even if the US lost more than the other side, he’d lie and declare it a victory anyway.)

More likely than any of those is that Johnson himself doesn’t know what his game plan is because he hasn’t got one; ‘seat of the pants government’ is his default approach. And he’s almost certainly bored with Brexit - he has a notoriously short attention span and no interest at all in the detail. Any suggestion that he has the remotest idea of what ‘Australian terms’ (or as Gavin Esler has suggested, ‘Somalia terms’) means is not credible. There is some speculation that at least some of those around him are starting to wake up to the implications, but the fanatics in his party are almost dancing with joy about the possibility of the UK achieving Somalia status vis-à-vis the EU. And the PM is seriously in hock to the fanatics for putting him where he is; the only rational escape route is to ditch them, make some major concessions to the EU, and rely on Labour votes to get the deal through parliament. It's an approach whose probability must surely be close to zero.

In the meantime, let’s just hope that the idea that people around him will be telling the PM to “…[sink] a bunch of French fishing boats on New Year’s Day” was intended as some sort of joke, because it doesn’t seem entirely beyond the capability of people who would try and sabotage migrant boats with man-made waves, floating walls or fishing nets.

1 comment:

dafis said...

Securing terms with the EU on a par with those agreed with say Somalia would probably represent "not a bad deal" especially as countries like Somalia tend to get concessions due to their grinding poverty. You may ask of course "well, what has that got to do with us, this great world class nation-state ?" and the answer isn't vividly obvious until you realise that such plans as Boris and his crew have will in due course reduce us to something close to parity with likes of Somalia! A miniscule %age living the life in the wealthy elite and the rest begging, robbing or starving through a miserable existence in a rapidly crumbling society.