Forget about all the talk
Comments about Brexit from Boris Johnson moved markets once again today. It’s another example of the noise that’s going to be dominating over the next six weeks (or less) as nine UK Conservative candidates battle to become party leader and Prime Minister.
None of the talk matters because of a few hard realities:
- Parliament needs to approve a deal
- Parliament will never allow a hard Brexit
- The Irish border problem is unsolvable
- The EU isn’t going to renegotiate
Eventually, this is going to lead to an election. However there is a narrow way out — a united Conservative front. If the party can mend fences among MPs and back some kind of Brexit plan there is a possibility they could get the DUP or enough Labour MPs on board to pass it.
The key to that happening is party unity. All that matters in the Conservative leadership race is that someone comes out on top and that MPs rally around him or her.
Do I see that happening? No. Boris Johnson is too divisive and there are too many hard feelings. But politicians are all about self-preservation and the party’s best chance going forward is to close ranks. My guess is that Jeremy Hunt is the only candidate who could do it.
So I’m going to be ignoring all the hollow, impossible promises in the next few weeks and concentrate on signals and signs about unity.