Back in April, when the EU27 agreed to grant the UK another six and a bit months to decide what Brexit means, they wisely thought it prudent to use their regular Council meeting on 20-21 June to take a rain-check on how the UK is using the time that Donald Tusk famously urged it not to waste.
That EU Council meeting is the week after next. Yes, doesn’t time fly when you’re having fun allowing Nigel Farage to undermine your centuries-old democracy!
So, how might the conversation between the UK and the EU27 go?
EU27: Thank you for coming in. We really appreciate you taking the time to update us on how you are using the Article 50 extension agreed on 11 April to, er, sort out Brexit.
UK: Hey, no problemo! Everything is fine!
EU27: It is? Maybe you could expand a little?
UK: Of course! Well, it’s been a busy time. We held the European Parliament elections, just like you told us we had to. We Brits always play by the rules, ha ha!
EU27: Yes, we know. And, er, how did that go?
UK: Fabulous! We re-elected Nigel Farage. His Brexit Party got 32% of the vote! And we elected Ann Widdecombe! She’s so funny, you’re gonna love her! We’re thinking she might be good for the Equalities Committee. Is there a vacancy?
EU27: Er, we’ll come back to you on that. Anything else?
UK: You bet! We dumped our Prime Minister! She fucking cried! It was hilarious. You should have seen the memes on Twitter!
EU27: Yes, we saw them. But who is in charge now?
UK: Fuck knows! Could be Boris, could be Govey. Or, if you’re really lucky, Dominic ‘space cadet’ Raab – we know how much you love him! Though let’s be honest: Rory’s done some fantastic selfies in Kew Gardens and other places. He walked across Afghanistan! And he was in MI6! But what a great bunch. Four of them did PPE at Oxford! And Esther has an MA in Radio Journalism. So, everything’s gonna be fine. Just chill.
EU27: Okaaaay. Anything else you’d like to tell us about?
UK: Yeah, we had Donald Trump and his entire family to stay. Totally fuck-off banquet – took four days just to lay the table. Donald agrees with Nigel, who says we should leave the EU on 31 October, deal or no deal. And Donald loves Boris, who also says we should leave the EU on 31 October, deal or no deal. So, we’re all on the same page now.
EU27: Marvellous. But, er, has your Parliament made any progress with any Brexit-related legislation, or anything like that?
UK: You must be fucking joking! When would we have had the time for that? We had the Easter recess, straight after we agreed the Article 50 extension, and then we had the Whitsun recess. You do appreciate the importance of Whitsun, yes?
EU27: We do. But we are not trying to leave the complex legal framework of the EU after 45 years. You are.
UK: Well, talk to your car manufacturers, and make us an offer! We’ll discuss it with Nigel and, you know, get back to you. Anyway, before we finish, a heads up: we might have a general election soon. Or a second referendum. We just need to work out what to put on the ballot paper. Don’t suppose you’ve got any ideas for that?
EU27: We think that’s probably a matter for you. But, going back to the Conservative Party leadership contest, when will we know for sure who is the new prime minister?
UK: Depends how many more chaps want to throw their hat in the ring! Or chapesses, obviously. But we’re hoping to have it all done and dusted by the last week of July.
EU27: Okaaay. And what happens then?
UK: Summer recess, innit.
EU27: *sighs* Right, of course. Until when?
UK: We’re back on 2 September. But only for two weeks. Then it’s the party conference season recess. Obviously. Until 7 October.
EU27: So, if we’ve got this right, once you’ve finished electing a new prime minister, you’ll have just 15 parliamentary sitting days before we meet again at our Council meeting on 17-18 October?
UK: You know what? We haven’t even counted! Ha ha! But yes, 15 days sounds about right.
EU27: Fifteen days isn’t very long. You’ve had 122 sitting days since we signed off the Withdrawal Agreement in November, and … er, nothing has changed. Other than that you’ve dumped your prime minister, elected 29 Brexit Party MEPs, and had Donald Trump over to tell everyone how great Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage are.