But it caught This Writer completely by surprise – I was at my local at the time, where I meet a friend for a coffee sometimes.
It’s actually a hotel rather than a pub, and I overheard a guest talking about BoJob getting the podium out as he was leaving his room to meet friends or family (I don’t know which) in the bar.
So I looked up what was going on, using my mobile (gosh, technology!) and read out what I found, as the Dictator had already finished. Then I had to read it again as I had the attention of the room.
Here’s how that went:
“Boris Johnson says when he became PM he said he would not wait before making changes. That is why he has made a series of policy announcements… It is to push forward these measures that he needs a Queen’s speech.”
“Rubbish!” from one of the audience.
“He says he has been encouraged by the progress being made towards a Brexit deal.”
“He says there are three reasons why it has become more likely. The EU can see the UK wants a deal. It can see the UK has a vision for Brexit. And it can see the UK is preparing for no-deal.”
“He says MPs will chop the legs off his negotiating position if they vote tomorrow to rule out no-deal.”
“I’d like to chop his legs off.” This from a particularly dark and surly-looking fellow.
“He says there are no circumstances in which he will delay Brexit. Armed with this conviction, he believes he will get a deal at the EU summit in October.”
“But that’s on October 17,” I said, interrupting myself. “It’ll be too late to change course after that.” Gruff murmurs of agreement.
“He says negotiators should be allowed to get on with their work – without an election. I don’t want an election and you don’t want one either, he says.”
In unison: “So there’ll be an election in October, then.”
And it seems as though we’re right.
A later entry in the Graun‘s live blog states that the operative part of Dictator Johnson’s speech was:
I want everybody to know there are no circumstances in which I will ask Brussels to delay. We are leaving on 31 October – no ifs or buts. We will not accept any attempt to go back on our promises or scrub that referendum.
That’s a direct threat that he will refuse to be bound by the anti-“no deal” Bill being tabled by Hilary Benn, even if it is passed.
But his only alternative is an election.
And already the date of such a poll is in dispute!
Apparently news reporters are being told it would be on October 14, but this would deny Jewish voters the chance to take part as this would be the first day of the festival of Sukhot.
If this is his preferred date, Dictator Johnson is either really inept, or anti-Semitic. It will be interesting to see which it is.
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