David McWilliams: Boris Johnson is like an incompetent kidnapper taking Ireland hostage

The Brexit long game is glaringly obvious and is the one on which we must concentrate

British prime minister Boris Johnson is making great play of the bunker mentality. But, ultimately, the UK will have to cut a trade deal with the EU. Photograph: Simon Dawson/EPA

British prime minister Boris Johnson is making great play of the bunker mentality. But, ultimately, the UK will have to cut a trade deal with the EU. Photograph: Simon Dawson/EPA

The Brexit saga has become a bizarre hostage situation: Boris Johnson is the kidnapper, the ransom is the backstop and Ireland is the hostage. Johnson is demanding the EU drop the backstop or he will shoot the hostage. We’ve been here before. Traditionally, the mantra has been: “We never negotiate with terrorists.” Let’s see what happens.

We all appreciate the notion that if we reward bad behaviour, a kidnapper will resort to intimidation again. The European Union has a choice to make. Ireland will survive this. It might well be convulsive but the economy is strong enough, just. And then what?

The Irish Times
Please subscribe or sign in to continue reading.
The Irish Times

How can I keep reading?

You’ve reached an article that is only available to Irish Times subscribers.

Subscribe today and get the full picture for just €1 for the first month.

Subscribe No obligation, cancel any time.