Friday 9th February
Maybe we are all underestimating Theresa May. Maybe she is, actually, a genius who might even end up being more lauded (by some, hated by others) than Thatcher. Maybe she has a secret Masterplan.
Maybe she already knows what we do not, maybe she has some insider knowledge, maybe she is far cleverer than all her Civil Servants, than the majority of Commentators, than the Governor of the Bank of England even. Maybe she has a Masterplan that the EU will roll over and accept, and that even the Hard Brexiteers in her party will be ecstatic about. Maybe she has solved the intractable problem of the Irish Border question. Maybe she can square the circle and have no border and yet for the whole of the UK, including Northern Ireland, to be out of both the Single Market and the Customs Union. Maybe she has a Masterplan to have completely free and frictionless trade (no border checks) with the remaining EU while not belonging to the Single Market at all – a feat not accomplished by anyone so far. But she must have a plan. Mustn’t she? She must have some secret unseen, unpublished document, some ‘Peace in our time’ wonder-plan to solve these seemingly impossible and contradictory goals.
Of course she has. We have all underestimated her. Her Masterplan is this.
She will send her stooge David Davis along to meeting after meeting, where he will smile and smile and slowly concede point after point until Barnier and the EU start to relax as they begin to see that all that rhetoric about no Single Market, no Customs Union, no ECJ – was just that, rhetoric and bluster; and that a sensible solution was going to emerge. Then, at almost the last minute she will breeze in and lay down the law. No Single Market, no free movement, no ECJ, no customs union – even during the transition period – but a completely free and frictionless ‘bespoke’ deal immediately. Or else…
Or else she will walk away with no deal (much better than a bad deal). Which, of course, she will be forced to do – amid a blaze of publicity. The Tory press will go to town, all the old animosities resurrected, the anti-German hostility, the anti-immigrant nonsense, the ‘stab in the back’. Those damn Europeans being awkward again, they always hated us anyway. We will go it alone. And swept along on a tide of jubilant Brexiteers she will immediately go to the country to back her. A huge majority is only four weeks away as the public realise what a fighter she is beating those pesky foreigners – her very own Falklands War.
Now, that really is what I call a Masterplan.