THERE’S no doubt that Boris is bouncing back – with his mojo working after the Telegraph’s hustings on Monday, he continued to do well for Brexiteer viewers on last night’s ITV debate.
He was positive and definite about the date for quitting whatever, good on his London record in helping poorer people and fighting crime, though not so good on not caving in on Sir Kim’s anti-Americanism. Nor was he so good on explaining how the state would buffer nasty tariffs on agriculture and other goods, although he did mention the £39billion as a resource to help. He really needs to do more homework on detail there. He could start by reading The Conservative Woman and Briefings for Brexit. It is utterly clear that Mrs May’s Withdrawal Agreement cannot be kept, as it does not constitute leaving the EU but remaining in their control. Johnson needs to acknowledge that voting at the third time of asking for May’s Brino hurt him and was a mistake.
However Hunt’s vagueness about what Brexit is to him is far more worrying: there is nothing to indicate that it might not well be a continuity May Brino. Why, if not, is he so confident of avoiding tariff problems – why? He was not pinned down on the key question of ‘what do you mean by Brexit?’ To the Brexiteer, he is really dangerous on that score. Otherwise it could just be continuity May, managerialism, as Johnson rightly said. A cleverly concealed Brino, he might have added, which Hunt’s instincts for extension betrayed as well.
It all felt dangerously vague and deceptive, and Hunt’s ‘happiness’ with Sir Kim Darroch’s anti-Trumpism, which yesterday was a worry, today makes him look a fool. He is Foreign Secretary, yet he did not ‘get’ that the position of his ambassador, having offended our key ally, was untenable – as Darroch, who resigned earlier today, himself realises. Hunt was lucky not to be questioned on PESCO, the FO shift to a Euro Army and the overall pro-EU and anti-American culture of the FO.
Hunt will have pleased the May technocratic remainerdom, but Johnson is the only choice for a Brexit.