Richard North, 02/06/2019  

If the Deltapoll research commissioned by the Mail on Sunday is to be believed, public opinion is swinging behind a no-deal Brexit.

This is based on 45 percent polled agreeing that a no-deal scenario is "nothing to fear" as opposed to 30 percent who believe that it would cause "severe" problems. And, to cap it all, some 35 percent of Tories say the turd giver's stance on Brexit "has won their backing".

That Tory members are taking this view comes as no surprise. That they support Johnson is a given, with 39 percent – according to Deltapoll – believing him to be the best person to lead the Conservative Party and thus become prime minister.

But what the poll also shows is that no-deal is now more popular in the country than Mrs May's Withdrawal Agreement. If another referendum was held tomorrow, just 28 percent of voters would support her deal – lower than the 33 per cent who would be content to leave on WTO terms.

As if that isn't enough stupidity for one day, though, we have The Sunday Times is reporting on an interview with Donald Trump which is a prime candidate for the most idiotic commentary on Brexit yet delivered.

The US president, we are told, wants the UK to send Nigel Farage to negotiate with Brussels and pursue a no-deal Brexit if the EU refuses to give Britain what it wants. He adds that the next prime minister should refuse to pay the £39 billion divorce bill and "walk away" if Brussels does not bow to the UK's demands.

On the eve of the president's meeting with the Queen today, the man-child Trump says that it is not too late for the UK to follow his advice and "sue" the EU to give Britain greater "ammunition" in the talks. And, by way of encouragement, he pledges to "go all out" to secure a free trade deal between Britain and America within months of Brexit taking place to make up for lost trade with the EU.

Trump argues that doing a trade deal with America would more than compensate the UK for any lost trade with the EU and vows to move things forward during his trip this week, claiming that a deal could be concluded "much quicker" than a year. He says: "I would go all out. It would be a great, a great advantage to the UK. A tremendous advantage".

He continued: "We have the potential to be an incredible trade partner with the UK. We have tremendous potential to make up more than the difference. We will be talking to them about that. One of the advantages of Brexit is the fact that now you can deal with the No 1 economy in the world by far".

Trump makes it clear that he believes Britain must leave the EU this year, declaring from the White House Oval Office, "They gotta get it done, they have got to get the deal closed".

Still interfering in the Tory leadership contest, he is backing Johnson, Dominic Raab, Sajid Javid and Esther McVey, all of whom have said the UK must leave, with or without a deal, on 31 October. "If they don't get what they want I would walk away", Trump says. “If you don't get the deal you want, if you don't get a fair deal, then you walk away".

He believes it was "a mistake" for the Tories not to involve Farage in the negotiations and that his "success" in the recent European elections meant he had earned his place. "I like Nigel a lot", says Trump. "He has a lot to offer", asserting: "He is a very smart person". Yet, he complains, "They won't bring him in". He adds: "Think how well they would do if they did. They just haven't figured that out yet".

Days before his final meeting with Mrs May, Trump is also withering about the prime minister's handling of the negotiations saying she left the EU with "very little to lose" and "no downside".

He confirms that he told Mrs May to sue the EU to give Britain greater leverage. "What I would do is, for those mistakes made by the EU that cost the UK a lot of money and a lot of harm", he said, "I would have put that on the table, whether it is in the form of litigation or in the form of a request".

"But", he said, "they chose not to do that. It's very hard for the UK to get a good deal when they go into the negotiation that way".

Where to start with this isn't easy. The temptation to dismiss it as the dribble of a cretin is very strong. So much of what he says is so self-evidently mad that State Department officials must be cringing and our own people must be tearing their hair out. What Brussels will make of it is probably unprintable.

However, when madness strikes a nation – or a significant part of it – we cannot assume that sense will prevail and that what is self-evident will appear in that light to those smitten with the fever.

As pointed out by the Financial Times, its not as if leading Tory remainers are even bothering to run in the leadership contest, leaving the battle to be fought out by varying shades of leave. That, amazingly, puts Gove in the "moderate", arguing that Brexit should be delayed until late 2020.

He is telling his colleagues that a no-deal Brexit in October risks triggering a general election that will put Jeremy Corbyn in Downing Street. He wants us to bide our time until we are properly prepared. "These are the most complex negotiations in our peacetime history, it's not enough to believe in Brexit, you’ve got to be able to deliver it".

Nevertheless, with Farage snapping at the Tories' ankles, Johnson is going to be a hard man to beat, as long as those who believe that only he can provide an effective counter.

Yet, the FT observes that many Tory MPs and commentators have been noting Johnson's lack of ideological anchorage and his "inherent liberal side". They conclude he will sell out the hard Brexiters once he has won. We are told that the man himself stresses that while he is ready for no deal, "no one sensible would aim exclusively for one". He will get a great deal because he is ready to walk away.

In other words, this is more of the same – an infectious madness that drives out the last vestiges of sense. And no more is this evident than in a commentary from Andrea Leadsom who has joined the Tory leadership race.

Offering her "three no-deal Brexit steps", she would have us believe that a no-deal departure can be ramped up in a "managed exit", which include "delivering alternative arrangements for the Northern Ireland border with the EU".

She will propose "specific regulatory agreements" with the EU for some sensitive sectors that rely upon "just-in-time" supply chains, like automotive and aerospace. For other industries, like medicines and agri-foods, she will seek "specific customs agreements on tariffs and non-tariff barriers". This, she says, "will protect trade in the most vital goods and services but allow us to embrace new free trade deals around the world".

Thus, in different shapes of forms, we seem to be getting a jumble of expectations that centre either on the EU reopening negotiations is we threaten to "walk away" on 31 October, or that the EU will entertain negotiations on a series of deals to "manage" a no-deal scenario.

If so many of our politicians are living in these fantasy worlds, I suppose it cannot be too surprising if a substantial proportion of the population are gulled into accepting their "take" on possible developments and fail to see the dangers in taking the no-deal path.

With the lack of leadership from Labour - and the media all over the place, more interested in what celebrities have to say than in addressing serious issues – there is no firm basis on which people can base a decision, if they are still prepared to look to politicians for guidance.

On the other hand, if Muppets such as Sadiq Khan are going to respond by intimating that Donald Trump is a "20th Century fascist", they are simply going to lock in the madness. If ever there was time for cool debate on the implications of a no-deal scenario, it is now. But, in this febrile political climate, that seems to be the last thing we will get.

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