And so we reach the post-Brexit world where our alleged Prime Minister and his Government will no longer be able to deflect blame for their piss-poor performance on to the hated EU. The UK would be following its own direction; thus the UK Government would have to own the consequences. Or so it might have been thought: almost as soon as Brexit Day had passed, the press was being briefed to keep on kicking Brussels.
This morning’s papers could have been filled with very bad news about Spanish demands over the status of Gibraltar. Instead, the chest-beating and sabre-rattling has continued as if Brexit never really happened, as a completely made up EU-bashing story emanating from somewhere not unadjacent to Chief Downing Street Polecat Dominic Cummings has been splashed across the front pages of the most anti-EU papers.
Chief among those titles is the increasingly desperate and downmarket Telegraph, which screamed “Johnson fury as EU reneges on deal” today, as propagandist hack Christopher “No” Hope tells readers “BORIS JOHNSON has become ‘privately infuriated’ with what he sees as the EU’s attempts to frustrate a comprehensive free trade deal”. There is more.
“The Prime Minister believes Brussels has unilaterally been ‘changing the terms’ of the deal agreed last year when the sides set out to work towards an ambitious, deep trade agreement … As a result the UK is no longer wedded to a Canada-style agreement, in what could be a major hardening of the Government’s Brexit strategy”.
This is total drivel: the trade agreement comes next. It was not negotiated in any shape or form last year. There are no attempts to frustrate anything. Moreover, the “major hardening” will last only as long as the next industry warning on jobs. That, though, has not stopped the Sunday Brexit, still called the Express, running the same story.
“After ‘bonging in’ Brexit, PM issues ultimatum to Brussels … BORIS TELLS EU: NO MORE CONCESSIONS” thunders the headline. But what concessions? The rant continues “BORIS JOHNSON will set the tone for an assertive post-Brexit Britain tomorrow by telling the EU there will be no more concessions … The Prime Minister is to demand that the bloc treats the UK as an equal”. Bloody foreigners! How DARE they?!?
But enough: there is one logic leap here, and it is one that the Tories, along with their press cheerleaders, are unable or unwilling to face: having a Canada-style agreement with the EU does not mean the agreement with be the one made with Canada, only with “Canada” crossed out and “UK” written in in crayon. Bozo may have thought it would. The idea that the EU agreed that it would, though, is for the birds.
As outgoing Taoiseach Leo Varadkar pointed out on The Andy Marr Show™ this morning, allowing divergence in rules and standards for a competitor that is on the EU’s doorstep - to the point of enabling unfair competition - is not going to happen. The history of the EU shows that it does not allow friction-free Single Market access in those circumstances.
So no-one should be surprised that the EU won’t allow it now. The Tories want to tilt the playing field in their favour; they won’t get that. That is their fault, and theirs alone.
Our free and fearless press should try more factual reportage - and less stenography.
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