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Emrys's Journal
Emrys's Journal
June 10, 2018

Marina Hyde: "Keep calm - the Top Guns of Brexit have got our backs"

Barely two weeks after Russian phone pranksters taped him being indiscreet, I see Boris Johnson’s been the victim of another leaked recording. Speaking at a private dinner for Conservative Way Forward, the foreign secretary asked his audience not to panic during the coming Brexit “meltdown”, warned we may not get the Brexit we want, and implied the UK needed more “guts” in EU talks.


Still, tell you who else goes in bloody hard: David Davis. Don’t take my word for it – take Nadine Dorries’, even if she hasn’t been playing with a full set of patio furniture since the MPs’ expenses scandal. “David Davis is ex SAS,” thundered the member for Mid Bedfordshire this week. “He’s trained to survive. He’s also trained to take people out.” Actually, don’t take Nadine’s word for it, take David’s himself. Here’s the DExEU secretary on the joker who ambushed Theresa May during her conference speech last September: “He’s lucky I didn’t hit him. He’d have been down for a long time.” Ooh. Diet Coke break, girls!


Reading this faintly excruciating comment at the time, I went back to the footage from the conference hall, and could see the main reason why David Davis doesn’t take down the potential security threat to the prime minister is that David Davis stays sitting in his chair the whole time. So all we’re really left with is his timeworn yen for self-dramatisation. When Colombian criminals kidnapped a British defence attache in Bogotá in 1995, Davis was the foreign office duty minister, and inspired a Cobra meeting with the declaration: “Failure is not an option.” Personally I think it’s fine to quote Apollo 13, which was in cinemas at the time – but it is poor form not to attribute.


Incidentally, when I was writing this newspaper’s Diary column – some time in the early cretaceous period – I solicited reminiscences of Davis’s time in the SAS (territorial). A couple of his former brothers-in-arms got in touch with memories of TA 21-SAS (V). I had two favourite anecdotes. The first was when Davis was required to coordinate an ambush, and opted to position his men on either side of the road so that – had the exercise been real – the soldiers would have opened fire on each other. The Sun Tzu of DExEU, there. The second story saw Davis charged with managing an “escape and evasion” mission. “It was supposed to last five days,” recalled one of his men. “But he accidentally led us through a choke point – a kind of bottleneck where trackers always wait – and got us captured inside 36 hours. So we were put in a truck, blindfolded, driven around, and dropped at night on an undisclosed remote hill to start all over again.” I mean … the jokes are too easy, aren’t they?


June 7, 2018

Let Trump Handle Brexit: Explosive Leak Reveals Johnson's Private Views About Foreign Policy

Let Trump Handle Brexit: An Explosive Leaked Recording Reveals Boris Johnson’s Private Views About Britain’s Foreign Policy

“I am increasingly admiring of Donald Trump. I have become more and more convinced that there is method in his madness.”


BuzzFeed News has obtained an audio recording of a closed-door gathering at the Institute of Directors in London, where Johnson treated about 20 Tories to an extraordinarily unguarded and wide-ranging assessment of the UK’s foreign policy strategy – and his private thoughts about Brexit, Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin.


Speaking about Brexit, Johnson gave a remarkably candid rundown of the arguments that have bitterly divided May’s cabinet.


Johnson insisted he won’t compromise on the final terms of Britain’s future economic relationship, but said the Brexiteers were at risk of getting a deal far worse than they’d hoped for. The government is so terrified of short-term economic disruption that it’s at risk of throwing away the opportunities presented by Brexit. He ridiculed the concerns about disruption at the borders as “pure millennium bug stuff” and said it’s “beyond belief” that the Northern Ireland border has become an obstacle in the negotiations.


He said the debate about solutions to the Northern Irish border had been blown completely out of proportion. “It’s so small and there are so few firms that actually use that border regularly, it’s just beyond belief that we’re allowing the tail to wag the dog in this way. We’re allowing the whole of our agenda to be dictated by this folly.”


More at the link, including audio excerpts.

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