It is possible to be bored with Brexit. I get why people are. But I did not expect the prime minister to be so bored that when he lost the programme motion on his Bill last night that he would then defer all further debate upon it.
Let’s be clear: there was no reason to do so. It was entirely possible for Parliament to have debated the Withdrawal Agreement Bill today. That would, admittedly, have led to the tabling of a significant number of amendments to the Bill. And no doubt John Bercow might have called one or two of them. But that this is the parliamentary process should be no surprise to Johnson. He’s been an MP, twice, for different constituencies and if he has any sense would be looking for a third right now, given the state of hospitals in the place he represents at present.
Instead Johnson had a tantrum. He pulled debate. He, in effect, told MPs that they could go back to debating the meaningless Queen’s Speech that considers a range of legislation that absolutely no one thinks will ever see the light of day. Or he could, instead, have shown good intent on the issue of the day and built on his first ever significant parliamentary win, which has been a record a long time coming, and shown the EU we were serious about getting a deal by letting debate go on.
But he did not do that. And there is only one obvious explanation to suggest, which is that he is not serious about getting a deal.
The more people read the Bill the more apparent that is. Laden with Henry VIII powers that subvert Parliament and having within it what Caroline Lucas appropriately described as a trapdoor to No Deal, the Bill is just a charade. It is not a serious attempt to build a new relationship with anyone, whether that anyone be in the EU, the countries of the UK or the USA, where the puppet masters would appear to sit. It is instead just a way of creating the chaos that rentier capitalism can exploit. It is no more than an opportunity for profit for a few at cost to the many.
And that’s been rumbled.
Johnson knows that his Bill might pass, but massively amended.
And not at a time of his choosing.
And that is not his plan. And so he will not proceed with Brexit. Instead another delay will be built in. This time it will be a general election.
Johnson thinks he will win a general election. He believes the polls. And it’s true that the polls look good for him. They did too for May. And they didn’t for Cameron. What we do know is that they are at most a deeply unreliable guide.
So all we actually have is Johnson pursuing the very worst of British politics and pretending that he wants a Brexit deal. That’s precisely because he’s now realised one is possible, and it’s not the one he wants. It’s not the one I’d want either. But he’s the person who has said he wants a deal, and I have not. And that’s why he has to be called out for lying, yet again.
This one has a long way to go.