Alexander Boris the Great

As an early supporter of a clean Brexit, I'm very well aware: Boris Johnson's deal with the EU is not perfect. Nevertheless, I stand resolutely and enthusiastically behind our Prime Minister. The harder his enemies try to sabotage him, the more he gains in stature.

You'd never remotely guess this from the German-speaking media, but right now Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson is something of a national hero. With each passing day, the Conservative leader's popularity rises in the opinion polls: not just among his obvious constituency - white, male, middle-class Brexiteers, like myself - but even among those groups that have been programmed to loathe and distrust him, such as 18 to 30 year olds, women and Londoners.

Sure across much of Britain's Europhile mainstream media you can still encounter the same old bilge about Boris being untrustworthy and a clown and a gambler entirely unfit to lead Britain out of the Brexit quagmire. But the 'expert' commentators making these claims are looking more and more bitter and out of touch. The fact is - as I cautiously predicted in these pages a few weeks ago - Boris Johnson is set to join Margaret Thatcher and Winston Churchill as one of the truly great Conservative prime ministers.

How has Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson achieved this? By slicing, like his ancient namesake Alexander the Great, through the Gordian Knot of his day: the seemingly insoluble problem of how to secure a Brexit deal capable of appealing on the one hand to the intransigent and belligerent apparatchiks of the European Union and, on the other, to the similarly obdurate stalwarts on his party's right (the European Research Group - ERG, nicknamed 'the Spartans') who will not contemplate approving anything that looks like a sell-out to the hated EU.

Not everyone, it's true, is enamoured of Boris's plan. When its details were announced last week, Nigel Farage - leader of the Brexit Party - took out a full page newspaper ad to declare 'THIS IS NOT BREXIT.' In a radio interview, he claimed that '95 per cent' of it was simply a rehash of Theresa May's hated Withdrawal Agreement, which Boris himself once dismissed as a 'turd' and which was voted down three times by parliament. His disquiet is shared by the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) whose 11 Northern Irish members in parliament have until now propped up the Conservative vote, but who consider Boris's deal a betrayal of the Union.

Nor, of course, has it cut any ice with the hardcore of Remainer Establishment hold-outs - Speaker of the House John Bercow; former Chancellor Philip Hammond; Supreme Court President Baroness Hale; to name but three - who will never be truly satisfied unless Britain is cancelled altogether.

What's far more remarkable and significant, however, is the number of disparate factions it has managed to unite in grudging acceptance. On the EU side, everyone from French president Emmanuel Macron and EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker; on the Brexit side, ERG Chairman Steve Baker and Ulster Unionist leader Lord Trimble.

I'm with them too. Having fought hard for Brexit since long before the Referendum, I'd say I'm a pretty good gauge of whether this is or isn't an acceptable version of that thing 17.4 million Britons voted for in June 2016. Let me first stress that it's by no means perfect: it means paying out a £39 billion (at least...) divorce fee the grasping EU doesn't deserve; it leaves Britain subject to the rulings, on matters of EU law, to the European Court of Justice (ECJ); it means that, for a period, Northern Ireland will be subject to different customs arrangements than apply in the rest of the UK. Farage is right to argue that a clean, No Deal break would be infinitely preferable.

Unfortunately, though, No Deal is not option. Of course it should have been - but thanks to the machinations of Remainer Establishment schemers, most recently a slimy Tory squish called Sir Oliver Letwin in cahoots with a devious lawyer called Lord Pannick - British constitutional practice has been so corrupted and distorted that the government's hands have been tied.

Under the circumstances, Boris has played an absolute blinder. With his relentless, tiggerish optimism and deceptively buffoonish charm - Boris always lights up a room when he enters - he has won over hardened EU ideologues (who swore blind they'd never renegotiate) and arch Brexiteers alike; he has conjured, almost from thin air, a deal which is recognisably real Brexit and which though mildly irksome to many is totally unacceptable to remarkably few. Boris has proved himself a great statesman in the making.

All he needs now is for parliament to vote his deal through (which this week it did - very briefly, in principle - only instantaneously to retract by blocking his 'programme motion' to fast track his Withdrawal Agreement Bill in time for a timely exit by October 31). A general election to resolve this issue now looks the most likely outcome. Given the popularity Boris has won by standing up to what is now widely despised as a broken, anti-democratic Remain-biased parliament, Boris is likely to win with a huge majority. At which point, the fun will really begin...

 

 

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