“It’s all but over for Boris Johnson” says Tom Kelly in his column this morning. He may be right, but I’m not so sure the actually being over is going to come so soon as many Tory insiders now wish it would.
But if it presages a distinction between Britain and it’s political leadership, that’s a good thing for inter island relations. Brexit has seen a rise in anti British sentiment unknown since before the ceasefires.
It’s coincidence with the breaking up of the old two and half party system (FF, FG and Irish Labour) has been more than beneficial to the newly popular populists of Sinn Féin in the republic.
One of the reasons Johnson looks weak is that his brand of Brexit, whilst pure in terms of what the ERG feels is important, it is also appearing to deliver the poorest economic outcomes of any G7 country.
Correction: I should learn to follow my own rules and do the research before making claims. Fullfact shows second lowest reading for the last quarter, but highest for the last year.
That may be a temporary blip in the longer term but the problem with waiting for long term benefits is that your preferred solution has to survive long enough through the short and medium term for payback.
But then again, just because it’s not working doesn’t meant it can be easily fixed without some impressive new political take on what the decision to leave EU taken by public referendum in 2016 means.
This week, in the Bagehot column, The Economist had this to say on the matter:
There is very little middle ground between the trade deal Britain has now and the freedoms granted by the full-fat single market. Mrs May tried to forge a bespoke deal, only to be thwarted by European leaders who saw it as cherry-picking.
The arrival of a friendlier prime minister wouldn’t much change how the EU regards its fundamental economic interests, says Georg Riekeles, a former adviser to Michel Barnier, the eu’s chief Brexit negotiator. When Mr Johnson ordered a hard Brexit, the EU was happy to serve it up.
Tory Brexiteers warn darkly of a fragile Brexit being killed by stealth if they lose power. Were it so easy. To deepen Britain’s trade agreement would require clear objectives and a willingness to chisel away at the EU’s position, year after year. Fitful Britain lacks this strategic patience.
It is more likely that the country will be stuck with Mr Johnson’s deal, perhaps for decades. With each anniversary, almost everything Remainers feared would happen has come to pass. Yet they still do not have a plan for what they saw coming. It is vindication, but it does not taste sweet. [Emphasis added]
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty