so, juncker is alcoholic? … well, so would i be!

Boris Johnson leads his weary people to the unpromised land
John Crace, WSWS, Oct 18 2019

Juncker looks doubtful of Boris’ ability to make a good fist of things.
Photo: Kenzo Tribouillard/AFP

Northern Ireland was so last year. At the DUP’s conference in Nov 2018, Boris Johnson had said no British Conservative government could sign up to regulatory checks and customs controls down the Irish Sea. To do so would be to put the whole of the union at risk. But midway through the morning, Boris Johnson announced he had agreed a Brexit deal that did just that. The prime minister, whose defining talent is an inability to tell the truth to anyone, had lied again. He was nothing if not entirely dependable. Lunch appeared to have been taken rather early by Juncker, as he steered an uneven path to the lectern for his brief joint statement with Johnson in Brussels. Supermarket trolleys with wonky wheels have made less hapless journeys. Juncker mumbled a few vaguely coherent words about being both happy and sad and how the deal was a good deal, if by a good deal you meant a deal that was going to make everyone involved significantly worse off. Then his eyes rather glazed over. Too much time with Boris could do that to a man. He was sick of talking about Brexit. He had wasted too much of his life on this. While the commission president had been wobbling unsteadily in front of the podium, Johnson had stood to one side, tucking and untucking his shirt, trying to look serious like a statesman. Don’t fidget or smirk, he told himself, but too late, as a huge smirk crossed his face and his arms flailed uncontrollably. He looked and sounded like a rumpled guilty schoolboy, trying to talk his way out of a situation in which he had been caught red-handed, rather than a leader delivering his people to a promised land. probably because it was a land no-one had been promised. Selling England by the Poundland, he declared:

We leave whole and entire.

Apart from NI, that is. Ireland was dead to him. People would say he had thrown the DUP under a bus, but that wasn’t fair. He had thrown them under a train. Far more efficient. He had done away with the temporary backstop by turning it into a permanent full stop. Genius. This was a great deal, providing no-one looked too closely at the small print. Especially around fishing rights. Hopefully the ERG would support his promise to maintain regulatory alignment being shunted from the withdrawal agreement to the future political declaration. After all, they were notoriously dim, so by the time they realised they had been sold down the river and that EU regulations would be an essential part of any free trade agreement, it would be far too late for them to do anything about it. Johnson burbled something insincere about the UK’s decision to leave the EU being a high-water mark in international relations. The problem all along had been that the EU just hadn’t been European enough for the UK. The whole point of being a European wasn’t to get on with your neighbours, it was to ruck with them. Without the odd war, the past 70 years had just been too boring. The press conference ended with both men refusing to take questions. Happy to be let off the hook as Juncker tottered away, Johnson exclaimed:

Jean-Claude is the boss!

Once out of sight of the cameras, Johnson pressed a case of vintage Château Margaux into the president’s hands, and said:

It would be helpful if you could say you wouldn’t grant a further extension. Just to frighten a few MPs back in Blighty.

Juncker protested:

But I don’t have any say one way or the other!

Still, a case of Margaux was a case of Margaux, so there was no harm in being obliging. No-one would take him seriously anyway. Then Johnson pushed his way into the European council, shook hands with each leader in turn and said: “Goodbye.” They all replied: “Do you promise?” Somehow, they doubted it. Shortly before 6 pm, Johnson gave a further quick solo press conference. He needn’t have bothered. It was another failed music hall act in comparison with the one given by Juncker, Barnier, Varadkar and Tusk moments earlier. The UK has a fundamentally unserious, unstable leader for serious times. These days, Johnson is a joke without a punchline. He couldn’t explain why he hadn’t hung NI out to dry. He couldn’t explain how he would heal the divisions Brexit had caused. Somehow, everything would miraculously be OK. Most of all, he had no answer to what would happen if parliament rejected his deal. Maybe he’d get an election, maybe he wouldn’t. It was all just a game to him anyway. There was no defeat that could not be rewritten as victory. No lie that couldn’t be twisted into truth. He departed, stage right, smirking to the very end. Classic Boris.

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