UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson: Delusion trying masquerading as relentless optimism. Picture: Bloomberg/Frank Augstein
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson: Delusion trying masquerading as relentless optimism. Picture: Bloomberg/Frank Augstein

One of the traits many people who are not British admire about the citizens of the UK is their resolute unflappability.

It’s the sort of character that would let soldiers up to their knees in mud and, yes, guts in Flanders’s trenches in World War 1 warm frozen hands around a tin mug of tea and crack jokes and sing songs and still think they might be home for Christmas, even as the German guns began to thunder.

It’s delusion masquerading as relentless optimism. Admirable, sure, but if Boris Johnson were David about to trudge out to battle Goliath, he wouldn’t have a stone in his sling.

During a visit to the Trident nuclear submarine base in Faslane, Scotland, this week, Johnson — who has so far refused invitations by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron to meet unless they reopen the failed Brexit withdrawal agreement — said: "The feeling is, yes, there’s no change in their position, but it’s very, very positive."

It seems that some sheep farmers in Wales, spooked by the threat of a no-deal Brexit, are not bathed in that same glow of positivity.

Exports to Europe account for 92% of overseas trade for Welsh producers, the BBC says. Now there are rumblings of farmers blocking the streets with tractors.

The Welsh may, generally speaking, be somewhat less reserved and stiff upper-lipped than their compatriots across the border, but I bet they have nothing on French farmers who really know unified mass action.

French farmers once clogged the streets of Paris with thousands of tractors, making life hell for the Parisians. It’s a strategy that clearly works for them.

Could it be that the prime minister’s first awakening to reality will be the rumble of tractors massing at the English border?