Rod Liddle Rod Liddle

It’s down to the wire – and Boris only has one chance to survive

Even if the PM gets a deal, electoral success is not guaranteed

Here is my ideal scenario. Having failed to push through his deal to leave the European Union in the House of Commons, Boris Johnson abides by the terms of the Benn Act and drafts a letter requesting an extension to the 31 October deadline. That extension would be eight minutes and 21 seconds, approximately the time it takes light to travel from the sun to earth — depending slightly, of course, on where we are in our orbit at the time.

The Prime Minister could claim this would respect the letter of the Benn Act, if not, um, entirely the spirit. Having done this, Boris should then proceed to a no-deal Brexit — or what the BBC refers to as a ‘crash-out-and-burn-in-the-fieriest-pit-of-hell Brexit’ — with a brutality that would have made Marshal Zhukov blanch. It is just about the only way I can see of a) getting a clean Brexit and b) minimising the risk of the scenario I still think is easily the most likely denouement to this whole charade — to wake up one dank morning in late November, with sodden leaves and a sun the colour of stale egg yolk, to find that Old Man Steptoe and his retinue of imbeciles are now governing the country, propped up by the jabbering, dwarfish, thin-lipped Picts and the Liberal ‘Democrats’ (sic).

You have the advantage over me, in that you know, or are about to know, what happened on our exciting deadline day. My deadline came a little earlier. It may be that by the time you read this, the entire country will have dropped its affection for Brexit given the profusion of no-deal scare stories doing the rounds. The latest, and most chilling perhaps, is that the large quantities of sperm we import from the EU will immediately dry up, so to speak, if we have no deal.

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