Deal or no deal next round

The Rebel
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Is it thumbs up for Boris?

Our correspondent The Rebel asks whether the Prime Minister could actually be triumphant as the extraordinary negotiations with the EU grind on and the opposition party insists on continuing to alienate voters.

The Rebel is a leading political figure close to senior politicians in London as well as Cardiff Bay, and will always give readers the inside track on what is being discussed in the corridors of power.


Boris is fed up with being told off

Boris thinks he’s won and he may be right.

Bojo and his advisers (chief among them the irrascible Dominic Cummings) are rubbing their hands at the positive signals from Brussels, and about talk in Labour of reviving Clause IV which pledged to bring about “common ownership”.

They believe their strategy of playing hard ball with the EU and trying to see off the Brexit Party, has worked.

The Labour leadership are in deep water

The bearded lefty has also played into their hands with all this fuss about changing the constitution to include wording from 1918.

Labour, in the shape of Jezza’s left wing people around him Seamus Milne and Andrew Murray, are trying to distance themselves from it all now, but the damage has already been done.

For voters reviving Clause IV means a return to the dark old days of union power

OK, so the party has said only “a few” local branches have sent motions to next week’s conference calling for the clause drafted by Tony Blair to be scrapped and the old version of Labour’s aims and values to be reinstated.

But officials have, after all, set up a ‘working party’ to look at it, and to the voters it smacks of a return to the dark days of the early 80s when the official opposition went a bit bonkers.

This Supreme Court business is a bit of an irritant for BoJo, but really he doesn’t care.

Far more important to him and staring-eyes Dominic, is the positive vibes coming from EU big wigs.

How annoying!

The President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker (who is seen by them as the one that really counts not the chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier who apparently believes the talks have “gone backwards”) told Sky News on Thursday night that “we can have a deal”, sending sterling higher.

The pound rose to its highest level since July against the dollar after he said that a Brexit deal can be done by the 31 October deadline.


Mr Juncker also said a no-deal Brexit would be “catastrophic” and that he was doing “everything to have a deal”.

Mind you, those comments have caused consternation in Brussels.

One source told The Times“The mood is dark. There just doesn’t seem to be any serious engagement from the British side”.

Some in the EU welcome a possible deal

It may all still go horribly wrong and the UK might crash out of the EU without a deal, even so Juncker’s views are music to the ears of the studiedly tousled-haired one.

There could yet be disasters awaiting, but Boris has his tail up if he had one.

Number 10 have already insisted that he will NOT stand down as Prime Minister in order to avoid having to ask Brussels for an extension of Brexit negotiations.

The anti-Semitic row within Labour goes on and on…

The chaos engulfing Labour now (coming hard on the heels of the anti-Semitic row) is just icing on the cake for them.

I should remind you that the victory in the battle to change Clause IV was the culmination of a months-long campaign that Blair used to send a simple message to the electorate that the party had changed.

He told his first party conference as leader in 1994 that it was time to update the constitution to “say what we mean and mean what we say”.

Voters see reviving Clause IV as meaning the days of cloth caps are coming back for Labour

Out went the catechism that committed the party to the “common ownership of the means of production” and in came a rather bland bit of do-gooder waffle.

This was more than a public relations exercise, however.

Blair took to the road to argue for the new clause, and forced the defenders of the old wording to say what they meant by it.

It turned out that they meant anything from orthodox Marxism to socially responsible public limited companies.

Yet the bearded one went apoplectic at the time, but Jezza has shied away from restaging that debate next week.

Labour is closing things down…

He opposed the change in 1995, and now his media operation – as slick as New Labour’s in its heyday – tries to shut down the question whenever it is raised.

Boris loves the fact that his opposite number as leader doesn’t agree with “the rigour of competition”, any more than Blair believed in nationalisation, which is what “common ownership” was generally thought to mean.

‘What? They’re doing that to ME?’

Now we hear that Labour could be abolishing the post of Deputy Leader to get rid of Tom Watson who is a pain in the neck for Jezza, and there is talk of people in the party knowing they have already lost the next General Election so it’s about consolidating the power of the left wing.

There is also talk of ‘civil war’ in Labour – it’s like the early 80s all over again!

On top of all this, the polls look good for BoJo too, but awful for the bearded one.

Polling figures are viewed with delight by Labour

A YouGov poll showed the Lib Dems on 23 per cent – 2 points ahead of Labour – following their change of policy to reverse Brexit, and both parties still trail the Conservatives, who remain on 32 per cent.

Other surveys were almost as bad for Jezza but good for Boris.

An Ipsos Mori poll showed the Lib Dems just one point behind Labour, but way behind the tories.

So while the bearded lefty self-destructs, Bojo can be gleeful – for now at least.


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