Dear Santa, I have been good. If I can’t have Brexit, this is what I want for Christmas.

Senior Government figures are considering a series of proposals to “sabotage” the EU’s structures if Brussels refuses to agree a new deal or let Mr Johnson deliver Brexit without one.

Two Cabinet ministers told this newspaper that they were among those backing a more “aggressive” approach towards Brussels.

It is understood that plans under discussion include blocking the EU’s 2021-27 budget, which is due to be agreed early next year, and nominating a British commissioner who would cause disruption within their portfolio.

Senior ministers discussed the prospect of sending Nigel Farage, the leader of the Brexit Party, to take up the role.

And fortune, on his damned quarrel smiling, Show’d like a rebel’s whore

The Independent‘s John Rentoul is scarcely likely to be happy at what the latest poll by Opinium says, but dutifully tweeted it anyway:

Opinium poll for Observer, Cons back to 15-pt lead:
Con 38% +2
Lab 23% -1
Lib Dem 15% -5
Brexit 12% +1
Green 4% +2
2,006 UK adults 3-4 Oct, change since last week

So after all those Remain victories in Parliament and the courts, Boris Johnson’s Tories are slightly more popular and the Liberal Democrats are significantly less popular? How can this be?

Who do you think you are kidding Mr. Varadkar…

The incendiary and outrageous comments by Leo Varadkar and his Foreign Minister are a clear ramping up of rhetoric designed to derail any realistic prospect of a deal. The flippant Dublin reaction to the Prime Minister’s proposals has also exposed the reality that the Irish government would never have consented to the United Kingdom leaving the backstop if it had been implemented.

Our message to Leo is simple. He should reflect on his comments and his intransigent approach. He is destined to go down in history as the Taoiseach who restored a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland because his friends in Brussels will insist on it.

– DUP Deputy Party Leader Nigel Dodds

And you step to the left and you step to the right …

The dance of politics often looks silly, ungainly and downright improper. Compared with the antics in parliament this year, the Tory conference is mild stuff, but still …

Yesterday, I was told that the minimum wage would remain alive and well under the Tories. Today, I learn that the Tories will make 3 years in jail mean 2 years in jail instead of, as it previously had, 18 months in jail.

I’d rather 3 years meant 2 years than 18 months. As a major reform of bluLabour into a true Tory party, this strikes me as short-weight, but half-a-loaf is better than no bread. It does seem to offer scope for being outbid by the Brexit party in the law and order area with those likely to vote for either, but at least it’s a step in the right direction.

The kindest guess I can make at why tendresse is shown to the minimum wage is inspired by this paragraph in a Dominic Cumming’s Spectator article:

This was brought home to me very starkly one day. I was conducting focus groups of Conservative voters. I talked with them about immigration for 20 minutes (all focus groups now start with immigration and tend to revert to it within two minutes unless you stop them). We then moved onto the economy. After two minutes of listening I was puzzled and said – who did you vote for? Labour they all said. An admin error by the company meant that I had been talking to core Labour voters, not core Tory voters. On the subject of immigration, these working class / lower middle class people were practically indistinguishable from all the Tories and UKIP people I had been talking to.

What was it, I wonder, that caused Dominic to wonder who they voted for when these core Labour voters, who could so easily have been core Tory voters while the subject was the PC speech police or immigration or Brexit (or law and order), began talking about the economy? Could it have been the minimum wage? I fear it was.

Less than a year ago, I posted my astonishment that May’s Tory party seemed more attached to the deep state and the SW1 faction than to professing whatever it took to win the next election. I suppose it’s a step in the right direction if the Tories have now reverted to type 🙂 – but I see scope for further realignment yet. The internal and external purge of the Tory party is not over, I hope – thought it may for now be running in channels constrained by Dominic’s insight above.

I thought Chancellors of the Exchequer were supposed to understand this sort of thing

In theory I ought to like Independent MPs. In practice they are often cranks. So strong is this correlation that I begin to suspect that there might be causation involved. Perhaps the bites on the neck that the party Whips administer to all MPs weekly under the pretence that it is an “old Parliamentary tradition” actually transfer a dose of sanity serum. Without that saving vampiroid saliva, the derangement to which everyone in Westminster eventually succumbs comes all the sooner.

Philip Hammond, former Conservative Chancellor and current backbench Independent Conspiracist has claimed in the Times that

… he is backed by speculators who have bet billions on a hard Brexit — and there is only one outcome that works for them: a crash-out no-deal Brexit that sends the currency tumbling and inflation soaring. So they, at least, will be reassured to see no evidence at all that his government has seriously pursued a deliverable deal; still less that it has been pursuing a deal that could get us out by October 31. The time available means that the only deal with any prospect of delivering that outcome is the deal that they have already rejected and that many of them have voted against.

There is an excellent fact-filled response to this nonsense by Frances Coppola writing in Forbes: The Mythical Bets On No-Deal Brexit.

Does Dominic Cummings look bovvered?

Last night Dominic Cummings was questioned by a Sky News reporter. He looks quite happy.

We’ll see what we do about the Benn Act when we get to the right date. […] I don’t have a master plan. People say all sorts of things. You say all sorts of things. You don’t know what you’re talking about. So everyone watching at home should know: don’t watch the news because it’s almost all bullshit.

Sounds about right to me. In particular, note his demeanour: he thinks this worked-up self-important journalist is hilarious.

There is more Dominic Cummings at a book launch. He is not under pressure. He just smiles when asked about the idea of keeping the Working Agreement but without the backstop, but he does not answer. I suspect it is out of his hands anyway.

BBC accurate, but for the ‘but’

Jacques Chirac, the former French president who championed the EU, but whose later years were blighted by corruption scandals, has died aged 86.

This sentence from today’s BBC red-button news seems an accurate summary – except that I am puzzled why the word ‘but’ connects the descriptions of the two main interests of Monsieur Chirac. Surely ‘and’ would have been the more appropriate conjunction.