The BBC’s latest Brexit documentary shows the contempt in which the EU negotiators hold us

The BBC’s latest Brexit documentary shows the contempt in which the EU negotiators hold us

The first part of Brexit: Behind Closed Doors aired on BBC4 on Wednesday night and the second part aired last night.

This should be compulsory viewing for all UK citizens, regardless of which side of the Brexit divide they stand. The BBC4 documentary – Brexit: Behind Closed Doors – could not have given a clearer insight into the contempt the EU negotiators have for us in Britain for daring to vote to leave the EU.

This was not a fictional reconstruction of events but an actual fly-on-the-wall account of real conversations and factual behind-the-scenes discussions between the EU negotiators. We are left in no doubt about their determination, from the very beginning, to delay the process as long as possible and thwart any attempt at a successful negotiation for the UK. They mock our negotiating team and ridicule the people of this country.

The programme starts with a telephone conversation between Michel Barnier and Guy Verhofstadt, the chair of the European Parliament’s Brexit Steering Committee. Barnier thinks it is a confidential phone call and is unaware that it is being recorded and filmed. Barnier says:

“Frankly speaking, just between the two of us, there’s no justification in discussing the future relationship between the EU and UK in combination with their debts. I’ll tell them tomorrow quite brutally, calmly but clearly, that this is not negotiable.”

Then, following a meeting at No. 10 in the early stages of the process, Guy Verhofstadt speaks openly in the back of a cab: “They’re going nowhere. They are stuck.” They knew from the beginning that all they had to do was exploit the obvious differences that existed at Westminster, to divide and conquer, and the Brexit train could be derailed.

At the first full meeting of the Steering Committee they are seen celebrating, toasting each other with red wine, and joyfully concluding “We are together for two years – yeah. And then the transition period for another three years. At least!” That first meeting set the tone and the agenda for the EU negotiators. They were in no hurry. Delay as long as possible, get the negotiations bogged down in process and conduct a plan of attrition. The debate in Britain would become more fractious and the people of this country would tire of the whole affair.

Did the EU team believe in the early days of the negotiation that the tide would turn perhaps in Britain and we the people would turn on our politicians and begin to question the result of the 2016 referendum? The whole tone and content of this TV programme suggested that this was their intent and purpose.

What surprises me is that the programme was shown at all, and at this crucial time. This was not a revelation of secret material that had come to light five years after Brexit, it was a frank and open declaration of exactly what the EU negotiators think of us now. There is no attempt to hide the disdain they have for our negotiators or our politicians – perhaps because they were unaware that they were being filmed. And they have the nerve to flaunt their views on national television.

The programme ends with two of the EU team revelling in what had been achieved and saying about the UK people, “We got rid of them. We kicked them out. We finally turned them into a colony, and that was our plan from the first moment.”

We don’t need any further evidence. Every MP who is trying to block Brexit should read these words, watch this programme and realise who, and what, it is they are determined to keep us shackled to.

It’s a pity the BBC relegated the programme to BBC4 and didn’t have the courage to show it on BBC1.