It is almost as if the majority of our commentariat and MPs have Stockholm Syndrome; they have been captured by No 10 spin and don’t want to believe anything else.
In fairness, most curious occurrences tend to be “cock up” rather than conspiracy, but sometimes it is just that – conspiracy. The history books are littered with devious activity by politicians and Whitehall, so it must happen.
The remarks Olly Robbins, the UK’s chief Brexit negotiator, is alleged to have made in a bar in Brussels raise the very question of this dichotomy between accident and design.
In fact, they raise a series of questions which, in normal times would be poured over at length. But these are not normal times and the previously unconscionable is becoming acceptable behaviour by the Government.
Firstly, how is it that the most senior civil servant involved in a matter of the utmost state importance has not been taken to task for discussing policy in a public bar? Who exactly is running the country: the Prime Minister or Whitehall Mandarins?
The second question is whether this outpouring of information was deliberate or not, and if so on whose behalf was it leaked.
The content of Robbins’ alleged comments is interesting. He reportedly revealed that there would not be a “no deal” exit; the choice is essentially between a lengthy delay to the leaving date, or the PM’s deal.
If this is indeed what will happen, it not only removes any negotiating leverage for the UK by encouraging the EU not to compromise on anything, but also serves the purpose of threatening MPs and the country with a “never never” exit from the EU.
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