Various British media outlets reported over the weekend that Prime Minister Boris Johnson's plans for abandoning trade talks with the European Union (EU) had leaked to the press, but abandoning talks and moving forward with a hard Brexit would be "good," Johnson says.
Boris Johnson's plans are reportedly centered around walking back the EU withdrawal agreement he signed in January of this year. And more specifically, Johnson wants to unilaterally repeal the provisions that would ensure a harder border does not return to Ireland.
If Johnson moves forward with his plan to nullify part of the agreement, that would obviously signal that he's abandoning talks with the EU. But don't worry; a hard, no-deal Brexit would be great.
Speculation mounted over the weekend that Britain was preparing for the collapse of trade talks with the European Union, after a report that the UK was planning to renege on key parts of the Withdrawal Agreement.
In an email to Conservative Party members on Monday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he would “not back down in negotiations” and said no deal would be “a good outcome.”
The collapse of talks would put the UK on course to exit the Brexit transition period without a deal at the end of December, an outcome widely seen as economically damaging for the UK.
Having secured the provisions to settle the matter maintaining an open border in Ireland, it seems insane to walk that back now at the 11th hour.
British political watchers who know better than I do speculate that Johnson never wanted to concede on control of Ireland's market in the first place so -- if they're going to go through a hard Brexit in any case -- he feels like he may as well break the agreement.
This will break international law the British government agreed to by their own admission.
"Yes, this [new legislation] does break international law in a very specific and limited way," says Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis
— BBC Politics (@BBCPolitics) September 8, 2020
I don't know what this will mean for Ireland in the long term or whether this could renew the prospect of violence, but I think we can safely say the British economy will be truly fucked next year.
To be clear, the reason why trade talks are collapsing is not necessarily because of the new rules governing trade in Ireland; it's because Boris Johnson's government will not agree to rules against subsidizing domestic industries.
The European Union does not want to see Britain directly subsidize industries and then allow those industries to sell their subsidized products in the European market for less than what the corresponding European industries can demand.
That seems reasonable to me, but I actually believe in the power of free market supply and demand. The truth is conservatives are the ones who don't believe in free markets. Conservative economic policy is rigged in favor of monopoly power, concentrated wealth, and direct or indirect subsidies for preferred businesses.
Boris Johnson shot down recent reports that he's planning to resign next year after the Brexit is complete, but it certainly wouldn't surprise me if he did. What better time to leave than right after destroying the world? Maybe Johnson and Trump can retire together.