All the objective evidence is that Johnson’s New Deal is a scam . However the media are being compliant . By and large , it is being treated uncritically . Here is the story of how Johnson’s big day unfolded
Wednesday 2 October was always the key date in the Johnson & Cummings Strategy .
It’s true that 17/18 October – the EU Council – was a date snatched from the calendar by Cummings to build the Negotiation Sham narrative around . But the Negotiation Sham could only work if Johnson reached 1pm on 2 October , having received the requisite number of standing ovations at CPC 19 , with his Do or Die legend intact .
If the Negotiation Sham had fallen apart before 2 October the attention would have focussed exclusively on to Johnson’s compliance with the Benn Act . Being the Prisoner of Downing Street , a picture of bungling incompetence , is not a winning look .
The day has gone well for Johnson and Cummings who managed the whole thing in a high handed way .They put up Cabinet Ministers who simply didn’t not know what was in the speech or in the purported New Deal
Liz popped up again later on #PoliticsLive to comment on Johnson’s speech . It turned out she was gamely hoping that he would reveal enough of the ‘New Deal’ in the speech so that she could busk her way through the rest of the show . To be fair this is less of a challenge to Liz than it would be to most of us .She operates in an alternative world with only a few carefully curated ‘facts’ chosen to make a narrow case .
However awkwardly for Liz – despite all the earlier briefing – it turned out Johnson was sticking to keeping his ‘New Deal’ veiled in decent obscurity , as he had put it to Nick Robinson the day before .
This was not a case of Johnson leaving his conference audience wanting more. It was more a matter of his knowing his audience well . They really did not want detail . Or even facts . Just a reminder of the enemy . And their hero’s Do or Die Resolve
Liz had to fall back on the ‘ we will have to wait until we see the legal text’ line . Not great to be left swinging in the wind with nothing to say on the key issue of the day. Fortunately for Liz she seems to have an unusually high threshold for embarrassment . Indeed it is doubtful whether under clinical test conditions scientists would be able to detect any signs of embarrassment at all .
One odd feature of the speech was the choice of walk off music – Baba O’Reilly- but was that the original choice?
Regardless of the music choice the speech was a great success as far as the conference were concerned . Commentators were quick to chime in with their views
Tony Connelly struck an entirely different note from Brussels
A hugely important element of the speech – a de facto veto for Dup was going little remarked
As the day progressed it became clear that the Negotiation Sham was having conferred upon it It was not just limited to the commentators a seriousness it did not deserve
It was not just limited to the commentators
Philippe Lamberts MEP demonstrated a better grasp than either Cathy Newman or Stephen Kinnock
Cummings of course had all the lines to take prepared
A few wise voices were sounding a dissonant note
Those words had not penetrated the Newsnight studio until
Peston seemed to be in the same SW1 bubble as Lewis Goodall had described but did raise the key issue of consent
So the New Deal Scam rolls on . There is not a serious intention of securing a deal . What Johnson has set out drives a coach and horses through the GFA and resiles from the commitment to No Hard Border . No amount of bluster about technology ( those Technology Support sessions obviously coming in useful) and Alternative Arrangements can obscure that .
The goal is to sustain the Blame Narrative and the Do or Die Legend . Johnson’s and Cummings’s intention has seemed to me for a while to be to keep the sham going until the w/c 13 October when the agenda emerging for the EU Council will force an inescapable collision with reality .
But they will be ready to ramp up the Blame Narrative sooner if necessary .
Indeed the lines are already written