British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was either "embarrassed" or "humiliated" in Luxembourg, or both, depending on which headline you read, but the theatrics of Johnson's visit to the country exposed the truth that he has no idea what he's doing and no real plan to avoid a hard Brexit.
Johnson skipped a planned press conference with Luxembourg’s prime minister, Xavier Bettel, because he did not want to face off against a protest organized by British ex-pats living in Luxembourg.
Speaking alongside an empty podium, Prime Minister Bettel used the opportunity to call out Johnson's claim that he has achieved progress in Brexit negotiations.
[Bettel] mocked the varying suggestions in recent weeks from Johnson that there had been good progress in the Brexit talks and that it would take the strength of the comic hero, the Incredible Hulk, to leave the EU with a deal.
Bettel said: “I asked also Mr Johnson: I read in the papers a few days ago that it goes from ‘big progress’, to Hulk, to David Cameron proposing a second Brexit [referendum]. And Mr Johnson said there won’t be a second referendum, because I asked him: wouldn’t that be a solution to get out of the situation?” [...]
Bettel raised his voice in frustration when asked by reporters whether Downing Street may be pursuing a sham negotiation in order to pin the blame on the EU for a no-deal Brexit: “I told him, ‘I hear a lot but I don’t read a lot’. If they want to discuss anything we need to have it written [down] … Don’t put the blame on us because they don’t know how to get out of the situation they put themselves in.”
It's a breathe of fresh air to see Johnson read for trash rather than coddled by one of his foreign counterparts, but I digress.
It's not clear if Bettel speaks for more than his own country on the matter, but he also said he would be opposed to giving Britain another extension just for the sake of giving them another extension. British parliament recently voted to require that Johnson ask the European Union (EU) for another extension, but the EU also has to agree to that.
Something is going to have to give and it doesn't appear than anyone or any party has anything to give.
It's not sympathy for Johnson to acknowledge that British parliament has not given him much room to maneuver. Johnson made the bed he has to sleep in now, but parliament is also responsible for repeatedly rejecting the Brexit deal secured by former Prime Minister Theresa May.
Theresa May's deal wasn't good enough for parliament, but May's deal was the best one they could get.
Johnson could resign and it wouldn't necessarily make a great deal of difference because the Brexit is a fundamentally bad and impractical idea that no other prime minister would have more success with. Threading a needle to protect the economy while pleasing the nationalists is beyond the scope of what British citizens thought they were getting when they voted to approve the Brexit to begin with.
There is no magical deal that will give every party in Britain what they want with none of the consequences and Boris Johnson was partially responsible for selling the fantasy that Britain could have its cake and eat it too to voters.