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 

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....


You can follow @pmdfoster.


Tip: mention @threader_app on a Twitter thread with the keyword “compile” to get a link to it.

Enjoy Threader? Sign up.

Threader is an independent project created by only two developers. The site gets 500,000+ visits a month and our iOS Twitter client was featured as an App of the Day by Apple. Running this space is expensive and time consuming. If you find Threader useful, please consider supporting us to make it a sustainable project.