When Boris Johnson’s top Brexit negotiator went to Brussels to deliver a stinging speech full of threats and allegations last week, his target was the officials who run the European Union. The problem is, they couldn’t believe he really meant it.
In the first set of Brexit negotiations, Johnson’s predecessor Theresa May claimed that “no deal is better than a bad deal” -- but few on her own side believed her, and Brussels held firm, convinced that the U.K. would buckle in the end. This time may be different. Johnson now has a commanding majority in Parliament and the power to follow through with his threats to walk away if he doesn’t like the terms on offer. The risk is that the EU may not have appreciated that change.