Does Boris have a strategy?

What is Boris Johnson's strategy? Or is he stumbling from crisis to crisis, a victim of events?

There are two views.  The first is that Boris is playing brinkmanship.  So many times, we have heard it said that no-deal has to be an option to force the EU to agree a deal "best for Britain."  It is a "who will blink the first" strategy.  If that is the plan, then it has failed.

The second strategy is that Boris wants a no-deal Brexit and wants to blame the EU for the breakdown of the talks  "It's all their fault!"   That is what we see now - the blame game.

In any event,  far from being the first to blink, the EU position has hardened.  Boris offered no sensible or workable plan to deal with the problem of the Irish border.

So, now we are in the blame game.   It might have some success with hardened Brexiteers, those who want to leave the EU without a deal.   No-deal for them has become a kind of totem around which they do their war dance.

However, it may not be a strategy for winning the country - and certainly not for winning parliament.

While there was some appearance of seeking a deal, some at least of the former Tory MPs might have come on board.  Now, they will be alarmed and not likely to back Boris.

It is all very foolish and typical of the childishness of those running the Downing Street spin machine.

I doubt Boris will be that pleased with the latest opinion polls.  The Tories appear to have a commanding lead, but the fine details of the polling should give him cause for concern.  He is now trapped in having promised what he might not now be able to deliver - a no-deal Brexit.   Failure to deliver would see his poll ratings plummet.   No-deal has become a litmus test for hard Brexiters who would desert Boris to support the Brexit Party.

We are often reminded of the majority voting to Leave in the referendum, but this doesn't now seem to be translating into a sure victory at the polls.

Labour is struggling to make headway, but there are signs that it has held its own against the LibDem tide sweeping up the remain votes with their commitment to revoke article 50 and stop Brexit.  Currently, for Remainers, it is a lose, lose situation.  Their tactics, if there are any, have been hopelessly wrong.

The opposition parties at Westminster have failed to come up with a united position to stop Boris.  They refuse to take the obvious step of backing the leader of the opposition, Jeremy Corbyn as caretaker prime minister, allowing them to bring a vote of confidence against Boris.

Labour's strategy of negotiating a deal and putting it back to the people is a sensible one, even if it is difficult to sell.   Remainers need to consider that it is probably the best strategy if they want another referendum.   The LibDems do not offer that.   Just as "Leave means Leave", the LibDems have adopted "Remain means remain."

Boris might hope for an election on the single issue of Brexit, but in doing so, he might be making the same mistake as did Mrs May before him.  He will be aware of that, and he will know that the polls do not show him clear of the 40% mark that would make a victory sure.

Furthermore,  Boris has conceded the austerity issue.  His strategy is to spend his way out of trouble.  He will be in no position to point to Labour's programme as too costly.  He won't be able to use the 'money tree' jibe.  After all, he seems to have found one thriving in the Downing Street garden.

Will his domestic agenda fool voters?  Or will they see that it as big tax breaks for the richest while the poorest suffer the consequences of a no-deal Brexit?

The Institute for Fiscal Studies has published an analysis of the potential costs of Brexit.  It is stark reading, with a massive increase in the national debt and an enormous burden for many years to come.   No doubt hard Brexiteers will dismiss it, as they have done every other such analysis.  But it isn't an excellent backdrop for any party in a general election.





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