The EU is a one-trick pony with Brexit talks and we've seen right through it (Image: Getty)
The phrase has its origins in American circuses to derisively describe something that does the same thing predictably over and again.
The Brussels circus and the ringmaster Michel Barnier have a single trick which is to obfuscate, delay and block progress on talks until the very last minute.
As one Whitehall insider put it to me this week: “Our trade team will have to leave the table on the final day of negotiations, have gone down the lift and be heading for the exit door before the EU will be ready to sign a deal.”
It was true with the Withdrawal Agreement talks as well, so much so that the EU ensured that its Remainer allies in Parliament kept on postponing the last minute.
The tactic is meant to pressurise a weaker party into agreeing to the EU’s unreasonable terms. Such is the arrogance in Brussels that they believe all other parties are weaker in talks than the mighty EU.
But it does not always work. Already the infamous TTIP talks for a transatlantic trade deal with the US were delayed so much that Barack Obama who wanted an agreement left office and Donald Trump came along and simply cancelled them. The EU was the big loser in terms of not getting access to the world’s biggest