Politics

It's on, it's off. Oh wait, now it's back on again...hang on though, it was never really on in the first place…and now we're back to square one and it's halfway through October. Tick tock, tick tock…

That seems to be the general consensus of our political commentariat, who've been following every tortuous twist and turn of these increasingly fraught and fanciful Brexit negotiations. Once again the thorny issue of the Northern Irish border has thrown a spanner in the works, accompanied by pie in the sky expectations of frictionless borders between two independent and self-governing jurisdictions.

Whilst the EU indulges the fantasy that it can maintain some kind of legal control over the UK post Brexit, Britain daydreams about sending goods and products into a foreign jurisdiction without so much as a cursory customs check.

If there was the political will to manage this change in a pragmatic and co-operative way, there would simply be no need for these circular conversations endlessly revolving around some non-existent, magical border solution, which is how we know this is a political issue rather than a legal or technical one.

For example, more than 4,000 passenger vehicles and 10,000 commercial vehicles cross between the US and Canada every single weekday via the Ambassador Bridge
alone. In other words, the Irish border problem is eminently manageable if each party is willing to abandon its unattainable political goals.

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That angry wailing noise emanating from Washington right now is actually the sound of the slow, painful and undignified death of the Democratic Party and everything it has come to represent in recent years. That's a pretty bold statement I'll admit, but it would not be an exaggeration to say that history will remember the confirmation of Justice Brett Kavanaugh as the DNC's very own New Coke moment.

For those who aren't familiar with the phrase, the New Coke analogy is often mentioned in both business and political circles. It originates from Coca-Cola's calamitous, damaging and completely unnecessary re-branding exercise in 1985, when one of the strongest and most iconic brands on planet Earth decided to ditch the very formula which had made it into such a global phenomenon in the first place. Predictably, it wasn't long before the Coca-Cola board and their overpaid marketing people were scratching their heads as to how an indestructible brand was very nearly destroyed. Ironically, the only thing that saved Coca-Cola was reverting to the tried and tested and well-liked recipe of the past. Alas, the New Coke debacle is a political lesson that the DNC seems hell-bent on ignoring.

We are now witnessing Coca-Cola's once toxic combination of hubris and panic being replicated in today's marketplace of ideas. It's this lack of either perspective or principle which has led a seemingly intelligent group of people to throw their considerable weight behind a brazen, desperate and completely unconscionable attempt to defame a thoughtful, decent and boringly honourable man as some kind of serial sex offender.

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Well I guess there's some life in the old gal yet. After more than a year of obfuscation, humiliation and repeated capitulation, Theresa May at last seems to be waking up to the cold, stark realisation that the European Union is a thoroughly hostile, untrustworthy and deeply anti-democratic institution. After her completely unnecessary and gleefully stage-managed humiliation in Salzburg, our Prime Minister seems to have finally understood that the people she's dealing with will do anything and everything they can to undermine her at every turn, and what's more they'll enjoy doing it.

With her name fast becoming a byword for political miscalculation, Theresa May's decision to come out swinging following the EU's pre-planned political ambush was exactly the right move at the right time. We've all been forced to endure the endless scorn and derision of Brussels' bloated little big men since the day of the referendum, and we've all had a bellyful of it now.

After the astonishing scenes at Salzburg, anyone who cannot now see exactly who and what we are dealing with is either woefully misinformed or dangerously dishonest. Either way, we can now safely discount the mournful wailing of those continuity Remainers who still rush to bend the knee to this smug, ossified and overbearing boys club. Their breath-taking and barefaced mendacity shows just how well they'd get along with those Brussels bureaucrats who think that sniggering Instagram posts are an acceptable form of international diplomacy.

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"Brexit means Brexit…there must be no attempt to remain inside the EU, no attempt to re-join it through the back door and no second referendum." Theresa May, June 30th 2016

Like many Leave voters, I've been chewing my lip and trying to keep my own counsel for months as I've watched our government surrender concession after concession to the EU, while receiving the grand total of nothing in return. The exit bill, the order of negotiations, the transition period and the unending stream of calculated insults emanating from Brussels have been difficult to endure, but I've kept my eye firmly on the greater prize of Britain once again becoming a self-governing and independent nation state, ready to plot a new course in our rapidly changing world.

I'm not easily shocked, but the revelation that our own Prime Minister has been actively plotting to do the very thing she swore not to do when she was entrusted with the keys to Downing Street has taken some getting over. I know the word "plotting" has some very dark and emotive connotations, but it's completely justified. There's absolutely no chance that the Chequers agreement is something that was just scribbled on the back of an envelope as the PM awoke from a recurring Brexit nightmare one stormy night. It's far too sophisticated for that, having been deliberately designed to deceive by talking positively about sovereignty, while vaguely referring to some unspecified "common rulebook." Anyone who understands anything about the EU will spot Brussels' fingerprints all over a document such as this.

And just who will be writing, updating, interpreting and arbitrating this exciting new common rulebook I wonder? Now let me think…

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