Eurointelligence has finally come around to my long-held four-point stance.
Boris Johnson is not bluffing.
He will deliver Brexit.
The EU would be wise to make a deal.
Germany and the Eurozone will be in a world of hurt if they don't.
Forget the cabinet reshuffle. The one single appointment we take very seriously is that of Dominic Cummings. The head of the Vote Leave campaign has been given the position of special adviser to the PM, with responsibility for Brexit and the civil service. He is essentially the CEO of Number 10, Downing Street.
Cummings has been immortalised by the Cumberbatch movie The Uncivil War, in which he was portrayed as the mastermind behind the Vote Leave victory. We rate him as probably the smartest political operator in the UK right now, somebody who often works outside the policy consensus. He was the first campaign manager to use modern Big Data methods in political polling and campaigning. His elevation underlines our expectation that Boris Johnson will do his utmost to deliver Brexit by the end of October. And that he is getting ready for an election at some point in the autumn.
We don’t know what Cummings is plotting, but we do know that this a guy who is gaming the scenarios in a way that Theresa May’s people didn’t. And we know that he will be operating from different data sets than those of most pollsters.
The strategy will be to take the negotiations with the EU to the brink, and then either agree a deal at the last minute or walk away. We have argued from the beginning that the UK parliament massively overestimates its own role in being able to micro-manage the stages of the Art. 50 process. Its ability to force an extension is far more limited than is widely acknowledged in the UK. A no-deal Brexit will be a consequence of the EU not agreeing to a deal, or of the UK parliament not voting in favour of a deal that Johnson presents. At no point will he advocate no deal himself. All he needs to do is not to seek an extension.
This is a dynamic process. MPs will think twice before openly rebelling against Johnson if only because the result of any rebellion is highly uncertain. We suspect that the much-predicted Tory rebellion of 10-20 MPs voting against the government in a no-confidence motion is going to wither - especially once Remain MPs start to think it through, which they have not done yet.
Rise of Dominic Cummings
UK parliament massively overestimates its own role in being able to micro-manage the stages of the Art. 50 process.
Johnson is getting ready for an election at some point in the autumn.
Boris Johnson has caused a major stir with his one of his first appointments as the new Conservative leader, after asking the highly controversial "mastermind of Brexit" to be his senior adviser in government.
Cummings is seen by many as the evil genius who delivered Brexit, a role that became the basis of Channel 4 drama The Uncivil War about the referendum campaign. To others, he is a brilliant thinker with a record of driving through radical policy changes.
Complacency Will Turn to Panic
A prediction of "panic" is one heck of a change in stance from a publication that repeated at every turn the EU would never make any changes or even consider them.
And perhaps the EU won't. But the EU will hold serious closed door discussions despite what they say they will do.
And that has been my position from the moment Theresa May was outed.
EU in Recession
Germany is in recession right now. That's my call but it is a minority view.
By October 31, the entire Eurozone is likely to be in recession.