I refer to those who demand that the Government resile from the PM’s statement that ‘no deal is better than a bad deal’, and that it rules out the possibility of leaving the EU without a deal.
No matter how much you might desperately want a deal in a negotiation , to say that you rule out the possibility of leaving without a deal, is to completely undermine whatever strength your negotiating position had. It announces to your negotiating counterparties that you will accept any deal no matter how bad, and they can adjust their demands accordingly.
It is a stupid negotiating strategy.
So why are clever politicians urging the Government to adopt it?
The same clever politicians have put their names to an amendment to the Withdrawal Bill which requires that Parliament be given the power to reject the deal that the Government has negotiated. This would give Parliament the power to ensure that there is no deal.
So, they demand that the Government rule out the possibility of no deal, but they demand that Parliament has the power to ensure that there is no deal.
This is truly bizarre.
There are three possibilities: perhaps they are not nearly so clever as was thought;
maybe they are just being awkward for the sake of it;
or perhaps some of them really want as bad a deal as can possibly be had, in the desperate hope that the British people will lose their nerve and demand to stay in the EU.
After all, senior EU politicians keep reminding us that we can still change our minds.
There are all sorts of campaigns running to try and persuade us to do so, including the ‘Grab Your Granny For Europe Campaign’ which seeks to get young voters to persuade their grandparents to change their minds about leaving the EU.
Add to this mix the way that broadcast media present every piece of economic news as part of a gathering Brexit catastrophe, and you realise that ‘project fear’ is still very much alive.
Did I ever expect them just to accept the referendum result and get on with it?
No I didn’t.
European elites have a record of ignoring referendums. The Irish rejected two treaties in referendums and on both occasions were bullied into voting a second time to secure the desired result. The same happened to Denmark with the Maastricht treaty. The French and the Dutch rejected the European Constitution (in Holland by a staggering 68% to 32%) yet all its provisions became the Lisbon Treaty.
I am confident that we British are made of sterner stuff and will not allow our democracy to be stolen from us.