The Prime Minister has achieved something beyond the expectations of almost everyone.
The talking heads assured us he is just an optimistic cheeleader who lacks the seriousness to operate at the top tables. The same people have told us for years there’s no way that the UK would get a good deal from the EU because the EU was intent on two things: protecting its internal market and punishing the UK by way of example to other countries daring to leave the club. Most of all they told us that Boris is an over-promoted clown, way out of depth, who would be crushed by the EU’s intellectual titans at the negotiating table.
Events appear to have turned out differently.
Whereas Theresa May, a supposedly serious politician, failed four times to get her Withdrawal Agreement through the Commons, Boris got his much better WA through at the first attempt. Tonight the Commons will approve the trade deal he has presented to Parliament. The first clue that it wasn’t too shabby came over the weekend when the Prime Minister’s enemies failed to produce anything particularly bad in it. The most they can come up with at the moment is something about sausages.
The deal preserves our sovereignty. It allows tariff-free access to the EU’s markets for the vast bulk of exports. It reclaims control of our borders and immigration. It reclaims total control over our money. It allows us to conduct trade with the rest of the world on terms which we are free to negotiate. It reclaims control over our laws and denies the European Court of Justice any jurisdiction in UK/EU affairs. All the red lines were preserved. It delivers everything which the experts predicted we would have to lose to get a deal. Instead, Boris delivered a deal which, at any time in the past, let alone since the referendum in June 2016, would have been regarded as good enough and a clear victory, even by Brexiteers.
It has been said by the sound people that in leaving the EU we can move from being bad tenants to good neighbours. The deal allows us to do that. It also allows the UK to finally get past banging on about “Europe” all the time. The issue blackened Ted Heath’s name for all time and brought down three Prime Ministers. We never belonged to a Continental club and took too long to leave.
The Prime Minister, his lead negotiator Lord Frost, and the negotiating team deserve congratulations. Only the churlish would say otherwise.
But we should still never trust the Tories.