It is attrition, suffocation and contortion. While Theresa May’s Brexit program, weak, compromising and cobbled as it is, endures that bit longer, her opponents from within and without government have been essentially undercutting her on various fronts.
Foppish and solutions-free Boris Johnson does so from the perspective that the May program as it has been agreed to with the EU so far is a case of Britannia surrendering to the wickedness of the Continent. He prefers, according to Sir Roger Gale, “the grievance to the solution”.
In the Commons, Johnson persisted with his motif of imprisonment and punishment for the sceptred isle: that the bureaucrats across the channel were cooking up a terrible fate for Britain were the backstop not to be removed from any arrangement. “They will keep us in permanent captivity as a momento mori, as a reminder to the world of what happens to all those who try to leave the EU.” Britain would be hostage to Spanish claims on Gibraltar, the French purloining of its fish and bankers, and German pressing for concessions on the free movement of EU nationals.
Opposition parties assail the prime minister from the perspective that the entire campaign for Brexit, and government behaviour since, has been a tissue of irresponsibility and lying. They are often not sure which, but they are chancing it. Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn is, however, playing a double game. Being himself sympathetic with the Leavers, he can only, as of…