British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s charm offensive to persuade European leaders to renegotiate the Brexit withdrawal agreement looks a waste of time.
Irish premier Leo Varadkar and French leader Emmanuel Macron have already poured cold water on the idea and insisted the deal is the only one available for Britain.
But Johnson insists British will leave the EU on October 31 with or without a deal.
In the run up to this trip, both sides have ratcheted up the pressure to reopen the agreement.
Johnson has ordered British officials not to attend EU meetings that do not directly impact the UK from the start of September and stepped up preparations for a no deal exit at home.
Backstop sticking point
The sticking point is the Irish ‘backstop’ – a plan to keep the Eire/Northern Ireland border open. The border is the only UK/EU land border.
The problem is Remainers and Brexiteers have grabbed the backstop as a rallying point for their campaigns.
The arguments just go around in circles, so we won’t repeat them here, suffice to say it’s probably time MPs in London realised they were voted in to represent their constituencies and not to impose their own opinions on the rest of the country.
The referendum told them 51% of voters were in favour of leaving the EU in June 2016, but did not give certain politicians a mandate to meddle with the process to support their own career manipulations.
Prophecies of doom and gloom may or may not be true, but the no one really knows what will happen after midnight on October 31.
Economically, the next day may be the end of the world as we know it – but then it might not.
Johnson says Britain and the EU can find a way forward with energy and creativity.
But a smiling Macron says the backstop is indispensable and a docile Angela Merkel in Germany is demanding Britain comes up with an alternative or the agreement remain as it is.
There is a sneaking suspicion that both are secretly looking for compromise. Despite their harsh words, the door seems open for negotiation.