The image of ‘negotiations’, according to Barnier
There’s no end in sight on this rainy Saturday morning, the last Saturday before Christmas – not for Brexit nor for lockdowns, or ‘tiers’ as we’re now calling it. Institutions, ‘entities’ or vested interests, are blocking solutions, be it for Brexit, be it for an easing of tiers. It’s the ancient picture: once a predator has tasted blood, had he been ever so domesticated, he’ll resist going back to his previous, tame behaviour with tooth and claws. This applies to the institutional predators in the Eu and in Whitehall. The well-being, the demands of the Nation, of the citizens who pay for all their tawdry finery, is irrelevant.
Before I get to the reports, allow me my own, private outcry: I am so fed up with having to see photos of BJ accompanying every article in whatever suitable pose: with hard hat, with a lab coat, with a lobster in his hands – gawd, why can’t he stay in No 10 and do some proper work!
Now then – to covid and tiers or lockdowns. According to the covid headlines and reports, we’re a very sick nation: we’re either ill and in hospitals or we’re superspreaders, every one of us. Thus, after the ‘Little Christmas’, we’ll be presented with the reckoning of which the SAGEs have warned us: moar lockdowns. ‘Tis strange though that countries across the continent, in their own pre-Christmas, tier-like local lockdowns, are going to institute national lockdowns right after Christmas as well, despite mask wearing having been enforced for months!
So why are people everywhere all succumbing to covid? Why is nobody asking if perhaps masks and lockdowns don’t work? Not one of the continental MSM are doing this either, never mind ours. If one were one of those ‘orrid anti-covid conspiracists one might wonder if there aren’t some powers somewhere governing what we peasants, regardless of nationality, are permitted to hear.
Btw, a piece of French news has been swept under the carpet as well: M Macron, after having announced that he’d tested positive, nevertheless gave a state dinner for some French politicians at the Elysee Palace a day later. Some French citizens have started lawsuits against him. Apparently, he is now ‘really ill’, with fever and all. Still, he’s working – shades of BJ earlier this year, non?
Then there’s that ‘test’ shibboleth again. Austria’s PM has told his nation that those who come and get tested will be permitted to ‘leave’ the January Austrian lockdown sooner than those who refuse tests. Since it looks more and more as if the European PMs and their health czars are observing each other, picking up the latest covid ‘measures’ from each other, I wouldn’t put it past our health czar to copy this scheme in the new year.
Next, look at the evidence for vested interests defending their domain with tooth and claw and anything else they command. We know by now that ‘testing’ is the preferred ‘cure’ for covid, according to SAGE and the health politicians. That’s why BJ wants us all to get tested – and now this:
“Boris Johnson’s plan to avoid a third national lockdown by posting millions of testing kits to homes every week is being blocked by the medicines regulator. The extension of mass testing to individual homes, however, has been blocked by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), which believes that they are not accurate enough when people test themselves.” (link, paywalled)
Funny that, innit like, because the PCR tests posted to people for ‘self-testing’ were not deemed to give ‘inaccurate’ results, regardless of people reporting that they’d tested everything but themselves and then getting back a positive result. And while there’s a wrangle about sufficient test kits being available we’re told that the MHRA has only given approval for an ‘experimental’ use anyway:
“The MHRA has signed off the rapid-result tests for a series of “experimental” settings enabling the piloting of mass community testing in Liverpool, hailed by ministers as a success.” (link, paywalled)
Yes, this was a ‘success’ for the working stiffs because far fewer tested positive than with the PCR tests. That must not be allowed through because tiers can only be maintained with high case numbers – look at LockdownSceptics archived articles. But “we”, just as all the plebs across Europe, are untrustworthy, irresponsible and disobedient. “We” want to escape lockdowns just for the hell of it, therefore we mustn’t be allowed to test ourselves.
Meanwhile, covid and Brexit are being linked in an ‘exclusive’ in the DT, published yesterday evening, the authors having had access to government papers:
“Civil Servants are preparing to blame Brexit for the decision to put pandemic planning on hold, […] Internal documents seen by The Telegraph reveal how officials said that work on Britain’s exit from the European Union led to efforts to prepare for a deadly virus being put on hold. The reports, created in July this year and labelled “Official: Sensitive”, show that officials recorded how a “key learning theme” was “paused” because of Operation Yellowhammer – a project to prepare for a no deal Brexit.” (paywalled link)
These ‘lessons’ refer to the ‘pandemic preparedness’ civil service programme called ‘Cygnus’ but, according to the DT, mandarins are set to blame Brexit and the No Deal preparations for their unpreparedness for a pandemic:
“Officials wrote how a “concept of operations for pandemic influenza was to be the last element of the programme of readiness, stitching together all elements of planning”, and although it was due to be a “priority”, it was paused for Operation Yellowhammer.” (paywalled link)
‘Cygnus’ has been in the works for years, there was even an ‘exercise’ in 2016, with internal papers on ‘lessons learned’ allegedly having been finalised by 2018. All I say here is that clearly, our civil serpents are incapable of doing two things at once. I won’t even mention the fact that Whitehall has been emptied out, as ‘precaution’, that most of mandarins and their servants are and have been WFH, in a clearly very relaxed fashion. Either the whole lot, across the board, is not fit for purpose, or they have wasted time behind closed doors on interdepartmental warfare, defending their patch with more teeth, more claws, and more ‘secret’ papers.
And so to the latest Brexit news. They’re still ‘talking’, and it seems that this Sunday deadline demanded by the MEPs in Brussels is on the verge of being discarded as well. Barnier allegedly thinks the talks could go on after the weekend, even unto the last second before midnight on the 31st of December. Brussels ‘sources’ and ‘diplomats’ are quite relaxed about this, their own MEPs concerns notwithstanding.
Should “A Deal” be wrung out at the latest possible second, thus preventing the EUParl from scrutinising it, ‘sources’ are already gaming this:
“A deal then would risk coming too late to be agreed by member states, which could mean a short period of trading on no-deal WTO terms in the new year. […] Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator, has told MEPs there will be a “short” or “long” no-deal period if they do not ratify the deal.” (paywalled link)
One doesn’t need to be a political Brexit genius to recognise precisely what this means: talks will go on and on and on – and will ‘have to’ go on well into the New Year. That is – unless and until BJ pulls the plug and tells Frosty to come home.
Clearly, this whole thing has now become a Barnier Farce. Whenever a deal is in sight he throws in another obstacle. His latest ‘proposal’ on fishing show this nicely:
“He doubled down on his demand that fishing rights in UK waters be linked to access to the EU’s market and said it was “unacceptable” that Britain could cut off access to UK waters but keep the benefits of the trade deal. […] Brussels wants the power to hit British companies, and especially the fishing industry, with tariffs or suspension of market access. London rejects any cross-sector retaliation but a possible compromise could be if tariffs only hit UK fish exports, most of which go to the EU.” (paywalled link)
Meanwhile, “we” are being prepared for such ‘compromise’ by our dear Remain correspondents. The MSM have presented us with articles about irate French fishermen who even regard the news that the Royal Navy is preparing patrol boats for our coasts as akin to a declaration of war. Never mind that they’re fully aware that they have been fishing in our waters ever since Heath!
I leave you with the news, reported in RemainCentral, about BJ’s reply to Barnier’s latest use of thumbscrews to get us to keep talking by putting ever more outrageous demands on the table. For example, Barnier now demands a ten-year-transition period for fisheries, with the option of sanctions by the EU when negotiations were to start in 2030. These punitive sanctions would apply across the board, not just to our fish. You really have to admire Barnier’s skills. He said:
“I don’t think it would be fair, nor acceptable, if European fishermen were not allowed, following transitional rights, to have access to those waters when the rest of the agreement, especially applying to companies from the UK, would remain stable in their rights. That wouldn’t be fair, that wouldn’t be honest.” (link, paywalled)
Clever, ain’t he! Let EU fishermen rob our waters for another ten years, and when “we” try to renegotiate fisheries in 2030, our industries, banking, the lot, would get punitive EU sanctions. At the moment, Barnier only threatens us with tariffs. Why taking back what is ours is ‘dishonest’ – well he’s French, he would say that …! Meanwhile:
“Boris Johnson has rejected an ultimatum from Michel Barnier that gave him just hours to accept a demand that would allow Brussels to impose trade tariffs on Britain if access to fishing is cut. […] The prime minister insisted that Mr Barnier needed to come to the table with concessions if the EU wanted to avoid no deal. “Our door is open, we’ll keep talking but I have to say things are looking difficult,” he said.” (link, paywalled)
Sorry, BJ – it’s time to man up and pull the plug. This is going nowhere and a No Deal now is easier to manage than accommodating Barnier and his obstacles. Moreover, according to the Whitehall papers seen by the DT, “we” are prepared for a No Deal.
Only by going for the No Deal right now can BJ and indeed Whitehall escape some of the blame for their disastrous handling of the covid ’pandemic’.