Peter Foster @pmdfoster Europe Editor of the Daily Telegraph. Formerly based in Washington DC, Beijing and New Delhi. Opinions my own. May. 22, 2019 3 min read

I have to say, even I didn't appreciate quite how grim the reception would be for May's new 'greatest hits' #Brexit comipilation...but the savagery is a reminder of a persistent truth about this negotiation. /1 Thread

 https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/05/21/theresa-mays-plan-leaves-mps-choice-uncertainty-chaos/ 

Right from the get-go, going back to David Cameron's Bloomberg speech when he was full of optimism about reforming the EU in the UK's image, getting a derogation on free movement, there has been a mismatch between expectations and reality. Consequently.../2

Every single product of these negotiations over a three-year period is delivered in London & Westminster stillborn.

However artfully constructed, the product of compromise always pales against the unalloyed visions set out by the Rees Moggs and the Farages of this world. /3

This is not, in itself, that suprising. But what IS surprising is that the repeated sequence of failure and disappointment has not apparently taught anyone, anything. /4

On the negotiations side, Cameron/May..and soon to be Boris/Raab etc have never managed expectations.

Indeed they cling to power (or seek to acquire it) but hopelessly inflating expections, knowing surely that they cannot be delivered /5

They do this, knowing knowing that in the end those setting the impossible bar (on ending free movement, on a fantasy clean-break Brexit) won't be swayed by their hard-won compromises. Because they never intended to be. The bar was never set at a height to be cleared. /6

Essentially, the nation is run by political crackheads - they live day to day, craving for the next survival fix that keeps them allive....even as it kills them. /7

But just as remarkable as the politicians not learning, is that the voters haven't learned either.

They are miserable crack-heads too, craving the next baggy of snakeoil promises, because it makes them feel better than what's deliverable in the real world. /8

In 'normal' politics this doesn't often matter so much - you campaign in poetry and govern in prose - but in #Brexit you have a very different proposition.

You cannot fudge it - it is fundamentally unspinnable, since after the bluster you have to deliver operable realities. /9

This is where @Nigel_Farage is smart - he never gets anywhere close to having to operate or deliver anything.

I remember asking him, three days after June 23 2016, 'what now?' - on Ireland, customs, free movement etc. /10

He just laughed. Happy to admit that he didn't have a clue, didn't consider it his problem. His job was to deliver the political triumph, the rest of it, well.....someone else's problem. #Brexit was Nigel's ticket to the talk radio circuit...of which Brexit Party is a version /11

Which brings us back to May's 'new' (ho, ho, ho) deal, and why it landed dead as a dodo.

As regular readers will know, I think @theresa_may must shoulder the great burder on responsibility for this disaster. She never confronted her colleagues or the country with real choices/12

Perhaps she never confronted them herself until too late.

But there is one area where I DO have sympathy with May, which is in her political miscalculation that hardliners in her party would take pragmatic/calculated course./13

The truth thing (among a lot of silly lies) she told the clean-breakers was that her deal was the best they were going to get; that it would likely only get softer if they rejected it. But it was too late. They were too angry, too steeped in irrational promises to accept./14

And this is the same proposition at the heart of her final 'new' offer: take the sensible middle road I am offering - a deal, a transition period, a stable negotiation - rather than chaos and a 'death-match' between 'revoke' and 'no deal'/15

But it is way too late for that. We are nation of crackheads; methadone won't cut it any more.

And while Nigel is pushing his happy pills; it's Boris or Raab - or whichever poor sod who inherits May's crown - who'll have to deal with the hangover. /16

Already now, contacts in Europe start to wonder out loud if the only way to bring the Brits back to earth is to let them hit rock-bottom...then let the patient heal itself.

Come October, if the UK really goes the full tonto, Macron may not be so isolated....

17/ENDS


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