And the establishment and the media are loving it
Someone at Juncker’s EC, clearly with their boss’s say-so, informed a German newspaper that the dinner was a disaster, that May is an amateur, that her Brexit secretary David Davis is an unserious politician who should be ousted from the Brexit talks, and that the Brussels view of May is that she’s ‘deluded’.
Juncker let the opinion-forming set know that so long as Britain insists on a ‘Hard Brexit’ — that is, on Brexit, on leaving all major EU institutions — there can be no meaningful trade deal.
It was a sly, severe leak, designed not only to sway the Brexit negotiations in favour of the EU and its hard, anti-Brexit line, but also to isolate May and the other so-called Hard Brexiteers in the run-up to the General Election in five weeks’ time.
It is an upfront, if duplicitously executed, intervention in British political and electoral affairs by European officials and politicians keen to dampen the fortunes of pro-Brexit politicians.
This is most clear in the leakers’ revelation that Juncker et al want Davis to be sacked and would prefer to be working with a less ‘Hard’ government: this is a stab at shaping who rules Britain now, and who should rule it after the election.
The anti-Brexit politicians being implicitly boosted by this foreign meddling are lapping it up. The Juncker leaks ‘blow a massive hole in the Conservative Party’s arguments’, said Lib Dem leader and chief agitator against the democratic will, Tim Farron. Keir Starmer, Labour’s shadow Brexit secretary, who hates Brexit, said the leaks confirm that May’s preferred style of Brexiting the EU would ‘lead Britain over a cliff edge’.
The same kind of people who wrung their hands over alleged Putinite interference in Western elections now welcome underhand interference in British political affairs by Juncker and Angela Merkel, who has been repeating Juncker’s lines. Because they hope to benefit from it. Farron, Starmer and others are taking these foreign whisperers’ cue, citing their leaks as if they were gospel in an effort to boost the electoral fortunes of the Lib Dems, Labour and other Soft Brexit — ie, anti-Brexit — forces.
The media are loving it, too. Over the past six months, you couldn’t glance at a newspaper without seeing a report about Putin slyly trying to get Trump, Le Pen and others into power.
Now those same papers chortle along as Juncker and the Euro-elite stick their bony fingers into British political affairs; as they hint that certain ministers should be sacked; as they provide one side in Britain’s electoral showdown — anti-Brexit parties — with ammunition to use against the other side.
The Guardian says the leaks show May cannot be trusted by the electorate. The New Statesman says the leaks confirm that ‘no one thinks Brexit will work’ (this means no one in the infinitesimally small media bubble inhabited by the likes of the NS).
Yesterday’s London Evening Standard, on former chancellor and anti-May Tory George Osborne’s first day as editor, bellowed joyfully from its front page: ‘Brussels twists knife on Brexit.’ Mere rumours of Putin’s interference in America made the media furious; the fact of EC interference in Britain’s election has made them happy. The hypocrisy is staggering.