MY forecast for 2020? The new EU commissioner for trade, Phil Hogan, will take the measure of Boris Johnson.

Hogan does not believe in the credibility of Johnson’s pledge to not extend the transition period for Britain’s exit from the EU in December of this year. He has described Johnson’s decision to legislate on ruling out an extension as a “political stunt”, suggesting that, just as Johnson has reneged on his promises in the past, he will do the same on this latest headline-grabbing move.

In fact, the EU commissioner’s exact words on the tricky negotiations ahead were: “from our point of view, it is important that we move from stunt to substance. It would be helpful if the focus was on content rather than timetables.”

Ouch. “Content” and “substance”. Two words which are the polar opposite of everything that Johnson represents. Hogan and the EU are aware that planning is thin on the ground when it comes to this new UK Government; just look at the lack of clarity for Northern Ireland on checks and controls from Johnson’s rushed October agreement last year.

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But the devil really will be in the detail for both sides of this new relationship come February when the talks begin in earnest. Grandiose pledges that make the front pages of the Tory press will soon be exposed as impractical in the cold light of negotiation.

There’s no way that Johnson would “die in a ditch” for anything (or anyone) and Hogan knows this. That level of commitment and integrity is absent without leave from Johnson’s make-up. In truth, when you only believe in yourself, then you ditch anything to avoid dying. Hogan can see that Johnson values his position, that indeed, this latest posturing is solely about Johnson and his career rather than a firm belief in the power of Brexit and the necessity to leave by December.

Johnson won’t want to lose control now he has gained it through foul means or fair. He’ll want to stay big banana, and that involves not being the harbinger of doom, depression and crippling recession from a rushed and botched Brexit. Who wants to be remembered as the PM that brought the country to its knees?

Alpha males like Johnson are all about hierarchy. This is a numbers game, and the EU has the upper hand in this department. Hogan represents the interests of nearly 450 million people living in the EU; Johnson represents less than 70m. Indeed he speaks for less than half of that number since most people in Scotland would rather see him run out of town, a majority in Northern Ireland that don’t trust him as far as they can throw him, and then there are millions more across Wales and England who didn’t vote for him or his kamikaze Brexit ways anyway.

Johnson may have the weight of a majority in Westminster, but when it comes to hearts and minds, much of the electorate have other ideas and even his current supporters may not forgive and forget, if in order to “get Brexit done”, he ruins their lives and jobs in the process.

Also, Hogan has a bigger agenda even than Brexit, and that is tackling the other tousled terror across the Atlantic, Donald Trump. The EU commissioner won’t be afraid to flex some muscle when it comes to negotiating with the United States on future world trade, so, beyond the posturing and clickbait commentary, he’ll make a better friend than foe for Johnson. If there is one thing that Johnson and Trump understand, it’s playground politics, and they both know that Hogan has the bigger Stetson – in contrast Johnson is all hat and precious few cattle.

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Of course you will hear little of the reality of this uneven relationship in mainstream media outlets. They will continuing to regurgitate the myth of Bojo and his big British boots walking all over the hapless Johnny Foreigner in Brussels.

But, there will surely be a reckoning. Johnson may like to pretend there is enough time between now and December to negotiate a new deal on future relations with Europe, but virtually all experts disagree. It’s hard to imagine such a complex negotiation being successfully completed in such a short timescale. Leaving the single market and the customs union will be all about barriers to trade, not facilitation, and trying to spin this as a positive result for Britain will be a challenge, even to Johnson’s Svengali, Dominic Cummings. Or as Hogan aptly put it, “why trade a Rolls Royce for a second-hand saloon?”

Of course, Cummings and Johnson are going to try to make damn sure the public are not in on the nuts and bolts of Brexit. In fact, you’ve probably not heard much about Hogan in our press or indeed his views on this year’s important trade negotiations. In a game of smoke and mirrors, Cummings and Johnson will do whatever it takes to misdirect and distract from the facts and the important players in this pivotal year.

They don’t care about domestic approval, in fact, they want as little transparency as possible. The people who will be most affected by Brexit will be the ones least informed and the last to know when the dirt hits the fan.

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Fortunately, this dastardly duo can’t keep the rest of Europe in the dark. With big players like Hogan shining a spotlight on to their sketchy lack of planning and suspect threats, expect even bigger lies and even more spectacular spin in an attempt to present humiliation as triumph and second best as gritty determination. And all the while the UK’s influence and reputation will continue to diminish.

The world, so far mostly laughing at us behind our backs, will be more forthright as the full-scale idiocy of the UK’s position is cruelly and humiliatingly exposed. Not so much Brexit as bricking it and not so much Bojo as Bozo. Happy New Year.