So the French election is happening as I write this. Time to turn our attention north of the English Channel. There, Theresa May seems likely to win the sort of landslide election that politicians have wet dreams over. This, it seems to me, is in large part because she has a set of enemies that combine hubris with incompetence. In fact to a significant extent the enemies are busy attacking each other while Mrs May stands around, watches them and then gathers up the pieces.

Domestically enemy number one is Jeremy Corbyn who is the such a far left buffoon that you assume the Tory party has in fact infiltrated the Labour party and deliberately sabotaged it. Corbyn is so bad that current Labour MPs state that they don’t think he’s got Prime Ministerial potential:

I will not countenance ever voting to make Jeremy Corbyn Britain’s Prime Minister. I realise that Jeremy has been elected and then re-elected as the leader of my party, but my first duty is to you, my constituents. […] I cannot countenance endorsing him for a role which I think even he, although he may say differently in front of the cameras, does not think he is fit to carry out.

And when you look at his shadow cabinet you realize they have a point. His former squeeze Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott goes on media interviews clearly not having done the even the basics in terms of preparation. Others are no better: Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell spoke at a May day rally in front of flags supporting the communist party and the Assad regime in Syria; and Emily Thornberry (a.k.a Lady Nugee) managed to claim up was down and vice versa in an interview where she said:

Labour’s losing the West of England mayoral election was a “fantastic result”.

Enemy number two are the Liberal Democrats, who managed to shoot themselves in the foot after their leader got himself in a mess over whether or not Homosexuality is a sin. I assume this utterly contrived “scandal” was cooked up by Labour luvvies who wanted to distract people from the disaster that is Labour (see above). Logically one would assume that the Lib Dems would hoover up most of the centrist/rightish “Remain” voters and thus potentially be the opposition. This may yet happen but the number of said votes may turn out to be rather less than the sneering classes think because the EU is doing an absolutely bang up job in convincing British voters that leaving the EU was a good thing. The fact that the Lib Dems and the Greens have agreed a (limited) electoral pact to not compete in a few constituencies probably doesn’t help nationally even though it may play well in the Remainer bits of London and the South East.

Enemy number three is the Poison Dwarf and her Scottish Nationalists. Thanks to the utter collapse of the Labour Party in Scotland, the Conservatives have staged a remarkable recovery there to become – effectively – the Unionist opposition to the independence dreaming SNP. When the Poison Dwarf decided that Brexit was a good excuse to reopen the Scottish Independence can of worms she failed to consider the effect this would have on her party’s support. While the SNP is almost certainly going to remain the largest party in Scotland as far as Westminster MPs go, its share of the vote and total number of seats seems likely to decline from two years ago and the main beneficiary will almost certainly be May’s Tories who could end up with more seats than they’ve had since the Thatcher years.

Enemy number four is UKIP, who ought to be the destination for the traditional working class Labour party voter who has been dismayed by the Corbynite takeover, particularly those who voted leave. Sadly UKIP seem to have failed to make the transition into a normal party post Brexit and, instead, have formed a circular firing squad to help ensure they return to irrelevance as swiftly as possible. Their leadership contests in 2016 were farcical and their leader, Paul Nuttall, managed to lose an eminently winnable bye-election in part because he embellished parts of his past. Even the BBC has noticed that the UKIP voters in “traditional Labour heartlands” are potentially up for grabs by the Tories (watch the video at the link). As if that failure wasn’t enough, for reasons that apparently revolve around internal politics they decided to kick out their sole MP – Douglas Carswell. I do sort of get it, Carswell’s a Libertarian sort and the new UKIP isn’t, but the end result is that the Libertarian voters now also have no alternative option than the Tories because all the rest are far worse on things like free trade and government intervention.

Mind you these domestic enemies and their general lack of tactical and strategic clue pale in comparison with capabilities of the International Enemy – the EU. Jean Claude Drunker became European Commission president thanks to the usual stitch up compromise, despite efforts by David Cameron to find someone – anyone – else, and he has rarely failed to live down to expectations. He’s not the only one of course, just the slurred public face. The EU leadership, as a whole, seems extremely unclear on this democracy thing – certainly they clearly believe that voters who vote the “wrong” way simply need to do it again until they get it right – but Mr Drunker is, if anything worse than most. The Times had an article about his recent leaked dinner with Mrs May which described the choice as follows:

In 2014, when Mr Cameron heard that this bounder Juncker was vying to become president of the European Commission he sensibly vowed to stop it. Mr Cameron explained to his European colleagues that no one could be a less suitable choice to occupy a key post at the apex of European power. Back in 2014, with the EU contemplating a British referendum, the aftermath of the eurozone crisis and the rise of populism, it surely needed someone capable of thinking in a flexible fashion, rather than a rigid and unappealing ideologue.

The Germans agreed with some of this in private and quite a few others did too. Mr Juncker was an appalling candidate, a fanatical federalist dedicated to the erosion of the nation state, to say nothing of his fondness for overdoing it on cognac.

Mind you he’s not alone, Donald Tusk, Guy Verhofstat and the rest are also good at getting under the skin of the general public too, but Mr Drunker seems to be particularly clueless. Last week he combined his famous lack of tact with a clear demonstration of the EU’s lack of comprehension on how to negotiate.

The latest duff decision comes direct from Mr Juncker and his head of cabinet, Martin Selmayr, whom No 10 blames for the dinner leak. The commission’s badmouthing suggests they either misread the stubborn British or fear other countries getting equally uppity.

To that end, the increasingly ludicrous financial demands from the commission mean the Brexit bill rocketed from €60 billion to €100 billion this week. One wonders if the service charge is included.

As Tim Worstall pointed out this is not how you get a better deal:

 [T]hat’s just not the way that negotiations work, it’s never possible to raise your price after your initial offer. Anyone who has ever sold anything knows this is true.

Well, OK, that’s what an auction is, a series of rising prices until everyone but one drops out but that’s not actually the situation we’re in here. There’s only one Britain leaving so there’s only one bidder. And as anyone who has ever sold anything, from a choccie biccie to a software system, knows you can’t raise your price after your initial offer.

Mrs May is fortunate that the Donald she’s negotiating with is Tusk not Trump. One hesitates to give good ideas to ones enemies (and the EU leadership is my enemy and probably the enemy of everyone who likes freedom) but maybe they should pop along to Amazon and order a few copies of “The Art of the Deal”. As it is the EU seems to think that they hold the whip hand and the UK should gratefully accept whatever deal they offer. As I wrote some time back the answer to this is “EU and whose army“? The UK is the second largest contributor to the EU budget, a major force in NATO etc. and a major export market for the EU. Quite why they think they are negotiating from a position of strength is beyond me, but there is no doubt that the one sure result of this is to encourage UK voters to give Mrs May as strong a mandate as possible.

Something tells me that this is not what the EU want. But it is the entirely predictable result of their overbearing incompetence.

If they continue with this sort of “negotiating” I think that a second longer term result will be that the UK will be looking at not just leaving the EU but ensuring that it is destroyed – and one suspects that it may turn out to be one that gains an increasing amount of support within EU member states as their economies fail to deliver prosperity and their governments fail to provide security from terrorism. Since that is not only a result to be earnestly desired but one that will likely force the UK into becoming a free trade nexus for the rest of the world in a way that it probably wouldn’t be if it could get a reasonable EU deal all I can say is

please, Br’er Fox, don’t fling me in dat brier-patch

However it may be a tad rough on Mr Drunker’s liver and the anticipated pensions of many Eurocrats.

Update: This NRO post by John O’Sullivan nicely complements my one.