I have a theory about Boris Johnson and his no-deal Brexit plans.
He’s a historian with a great eye on history. My theory is he first of all just wanted to go down in history on the list of British PMs, have his painting on the wall of Downing Street (or wherever PM portraits hang).
He succeeded. His name is now in the history books forever, whatever happens. He’s not stupid. He knew to win the leadership contest and become PM, he HAD to be a hard brexiter. So he was. Nothing else mattered at that time.
But now he has already guaranteed his name has gone down in history, he has to deal with the promises he made to his party and the hard brexiters who elected him.
But again, he’s not stupid. He knows very well a hard no-deal Brexit will bankrupt the country. And that doesn’t look good in the history books. So what to do?
He doesn’t back down – that would make him look like a flip flopping, cowardly PM. So he can’t back down but he can’t push through a Brexit that will ruin the country and make him one of the worst PMs in history either.
So he pushes an even harder Brexit that he KNOWS will have to be stopped by parliament and the EU would never agree to.
What happens? He becomes the no-compromise, hardline, ‘tough’ PM who tried to implement a referendum vote. Historians can argue among themselves in future eras about how democratic the referendum was. But in history he goes down as a tough, uncompromising PM who was unsuccessful in his plans only because they were ‘thwarted’ by others: the EU, parliament, etc etc.
So, think about it. For him, it doesn’t even matter if he is forced to have another election. And it doesn’t matter even if he loses the election and is one of the shortest PMs in history.
He goes down in history as a strong, ‘principled’ PM (which of course he isn’t). Every scenario is a win-win for him, in his mind.
Unless, of course, he backs down.
Or – curiously – unless a no-deal Brexit actually happens and he becomes the PM responsible for an economic disaster.
This explains why Johnson is giving conditions for a Brexit he knows will never be accepted.
He wants to be stopped.