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Tuesday 8 October 2019

The EU has formally made known it’s aversion to Boris Johnson’s proposal prompting a defiant rebuttal from Downing Street, sent to the Spectator.

The briefing attacks Ireland’s Leo Varadkar and the other big Brexit players on the EU side, Emmanuel Macron, Angela Merkel and Michel Barnier for failing to understand that if the current proposal fails, it’s No Deal.

If an extension is forced through, the next Tory government will campaign on a No Deal platform and that will be the ultimate outcome.

The Downing Street source, rumoured to be Dominic Cummings, went on to threaten putting EU countries choosing to sanction another extension “to the bottom of the queue” adding, “any undertakings about cooperative behaviour, everything to do with ‘duty of sincere cooperation’ will be in the toilet.”

Downing Street transparently fear that they will lose votes to the Brexit Party if they don’t get a deal tied up before the month.

A delay would not only hit Boris’s Brexit credentials, having pledged to leave the EU on October 31st “do or die” on numerous occasions, it would also leave the PM with only one policy position left to pursue, WTO Brexit. Having made one extremely generous proposal to the European Commission and the EU27, he cannot come up with another without haemorrhaging support. Besides that, what offer could he possibly come up with.

As this FT column point pointedly observes, if Brussels goes all the way and rules out a deal in favour of an extension, “it would reveal that it can only offer a limited range of future relationships: Theresa May’s old deal or full membership of the single market and the customs union.” In which case, it has to be No Deal.

“It’s Brexit or Corbyn,” says another FT piece, making the compelling argument that for all the momentum the Lib Dems are gathering – Heidi Allen joined them last night – they are still way behind in the polls. If the Tories lose the next election, it won’t just be a second referendum that wins, but Jeremy Corbyn. How many Remainers can stomach that prospect?

Of course, Brussels knows this, but the EU is staffed by “lawyers and ideological monks”, to quote another columnist, the Telegraph’s Ambrose Evans Pritchard. The EU capital is blinkered, which is why the rebuke of Boris’ ideas, arriving on a “broad landing zone” as they did, have been unceremoniously dismissed, even though logic would suggest the opposite response.

The point-by-point rejection, seen by the Guardian, seeks to kill Britain’s final offer stone dead.

Although the Guardian scoop is light on detail, the leak in itself is a serious act of denunciation on the EU’s part. The British government has made it plain that official responses should be contained within the so-called “tunnel”, not revealed to the media. Radio 4 reported this morning that Boris has offered to get stuck in at the negotiating table himself. The offer has been declined, another sign the EU has no interest in the deal he’s offering. All they want from Boris is that extension letter – on that note, Scotland’s Court of Session has refused to issue the PM with a court order to that effect.

The EU is totally ill-equipped to understand the grave error it is making in colluding with Britain’s Remain establishment, as the author of the Number 10 briefing astutely points out: “Ireland and Brussels listen to all the people who lost the referendum, they don’t listen to those who won the referendum and they don’t understand the electoral dynamics here.” A ComRes survey has found that 83% of voters would blame Parliament if Brexit doesn’t happen at the end of the month far more than Boris (56%). Seventy percent would lay the blame at the door of Remain MPs and 63% would think the European Commission at fault.

The way the figures stack up, it looks like those blaming Boris are almost entirely Remainers, with all Leavers pointing the finger at Parliament, and many Remain voters too.

Brussels and the Remain side are delivering weapons grade election material straight to the Tories and the Brexit Party while praying Britain’s withdrawal from the EU is reversed. Stupidity in the extreme. The ballot cannot come soon enough.