The next fortnight should be interesting – I believe we might be about to see the first application of the progressive micro-aggression principle to the art of geopolitical negotiation.
We are about to see micro-concessions.
The EU have offered Britain the deal that the EU would prefer Theresa May to deliver for them, but they know there are still lots of principled MPs not scared enough by the phantom alternatives their pet media in Britain have screamed about non-stop for the last few months.
A second referendum!
Crashing out with NO DEAL!
No Brexit at all!
Jeremy Corbyn as Prime Minister!
Running out of water and Mars bars and sandwiches and medicine and air!
Still, not enough MPs are going to vote for it.
So it’s over to the EU for some micro-concessions, as they hope each one can shake loose a few more votes. And then a few more. And a few more.
But the better the deal gets, the more it will encourage other EU Members to ask for the same.
So it has to be kept really bad.
First, some polite and non-committal lover letters from Tusk and Juncker.
No doubt Verhofstadt the gap-toothed Belgian bumpkin will soon scream blue murder about those letters – a nice bit of theatre to set our expectations.
The next micro-concession?
A letter from some EU lawyers no doubt, putting a nice boilerplate gloss on the love letters.
That won’t be enough either, so they’ll go ahead and finally concede the thing they never cared about – the Irish backstop. It’s a nice meaningless concession, because few EU Members can reasonably claim they want their own version. That’s the reason they choose it in the first place.
Once that’s removed, the pressure can come on and the vote can be called, confident that forty Labour MPs will “put country before party” and vote the Withdrawal Agreement through.
The question is how long they think they’ll need to delay the vote for – now Theresa only has three days in which to get concessions after her deal is voted down, a decent delay is justifiable.
Shall we say a fortnight?
Back here for January 29th I say.