… forced to talk until the Brexit Clock and the Transition Year have run down
Sorry I’m late – my shoulders needed readjustment. They had become dislocated because I’d patted myself too hard on my back. For once, allow me to crow: yesterday morning in this column I wrote that Macron looks like working towards a No Deal. This morning’s headlines are about the latest, ‘unreasonable’ French demands and the break in the Frost & Barnier talks. There are some ‘covid & vaccine’ news but today I shall disregard them. Today’s column is a covid-free zone.
Well, crowing and backslapping aside, let me also make this point regarding all of us. Since 2016 we’ve been aware that, despite concerted efforts by the Westminsterites it’s us peasants who have a clearer view of reality. We’ve not let ourselves be bamboozled by ‘experts’. That ought to give hope to us all who are standing up against the unspeakable covid government.
And so to the ‘talks’ and France. In a nutshell, this is it:
“In a statement Mr Barnier and Lord Frost, Britain’s chief negotiator, said that after a week of discussions “conditions for an agreement are not met”. They cited “significant divergences” on the so-called level playing field, governance and fisheries. Figures in London and Brussels blamed the hard line on President Macron after the French leader’s Europe minister warned that France would veto a deal if it did not respect its interests.” (link, paywalled)
It is also useful to take a look at Barnier’s statement, helpfully summaries by RemainCentral:
“Mr Barnier said the EU wanted powers to impose punitive tariffs on British exports if Britain diverged from EU environmental and labour laws. He is also understood to have demanded an opt-out for the European Commission on state aid rules, which would allow Brussels to support industries across the bloc as part of its Covid recovery plan. This could put Britain at a disadvantage to France, Spain or Italy, countries that are expected to benefit from the lion’s share of the EU fund.” (link, paywalled)
The important point here isn’t the ‘10-year period’ for EU fishery fleets, enabling them to keep robbing our waters, it’s the open admission by the EU that their sacred ‘level playing fields’ are in fact no such thing. The EU will keep subsidising their industries while we mustn’t. Rulz aren’t ‘rules for all’ where Brussels, sorry: France is concerned.
While the usual Remainers in the MSM ponder what BJ ought to do – from speaking to Ms vdLeyen to ‘making a personal plea’ to Macron to give ground while Mutti Merkel allegedly will put pressure on the wannabe Napoleon, there still is the real deadline. On Thursday the EU heads must agree on whatever is produced by then because the EU Parliament will have to have its veto, sorry: its vote as well. We know that this time, it’s not just a clock tick-tocking, it’s actually the calendar running down, inexorably, to the 31st of December. There’s nothing Macron, Barnier, Merkel and the ‘might of Brussels’ can do about it.
Here is one last observation which I found rather interesting. It was of course hidden at the end of the report in RemainCentral from which I’ve quoted above. It’s about an agreement between Frosty and Barnier, ahem, ‘London and Brussels’:
“The one thing that London and Brussels can agree on is that the new demands were imposed at the insistence of France, with the support of Spain and Italy. The fact remains that all sides want an agreement. The trouble is that with so little time left, the dangers of miscalculation are higher and the risk of an “accidental” no deal is greater.” (link, paywalled)
Why Spain and Italy? Why not the Dutch, Belgians or Danish? Why not the Portuguese? Too insignificant for Macron? Or is this about an attempt by France, Spain and Italy to twist Ms Merkel’s arms in order to wring more money out of Germany, for both the EU coffers and for covid ‘financial’ aid?
Note also the veiled reference to an ‘accidental No Deal’ – in preparation to pin blame on Lord Frost and by extension on BJ should this come about. Remainers still believe in French assertions about fish, tilted playing fields and the rest, they still believe it’s for us to bow and plead rather than stand up.
Meanwhile, ‘figures’ from Remain- or EU-Think Tanks are quoted all over the place. Some believe Macron is doing this to prevent other EU states from ollowing us into an ‘exit’. However, the assessment by one of Macrons former ‘special advisers’, rings true: “I think that the French are prepared psychologically for a no deal,” said Guillaume Klossa” (paywalled link). That might indeed be the case as this quote from another French ‘figure’ shows:
“The word is that beyond all the usual poker playing and brinkmanship, the French view now is if the Brits are going to dig in their heels, let them leave and we’ll negotiate afterwards. That will focus minds in Britain. No deal would be temporary, Britain would come back with its cap in hand asking for a deal when it sees the chaos after December 31.” (paywalled link)
File that under ‘wishful thinking’ – but remember that the French EU ambassador has already made just that point a few days ago. W’ve written about that as well (link).
Yesterday afternoon, before these latest Macron ‘demands’ became public, Matthew Syed published a comment piece in the DT. He first sets the scene by asking why France is prepared to wreck an agreement for the sake of a few fish. That is a good question and Syed answers himself with a supposition which has a firmer footing in economic reality than the French ‘dream’ about forcing us to eat crow after a No Deal Brexit:
“President Emmanuel Macron may well have calculated that while no-deal might be very bad for the EU as a whole, it could actually be a very good outcome for France. Why? Because the two countries compete most directly for global investment; because Paris is the only real contender to London as the Continent’s finance hub; and because France runs only a trivial trade surplus with the UK so the disruption won’t matter very much.” (paywalled link)
Syed then explains that it’s only a few EU countries to whom a trade deal matters, namely those whose trade surplus is much larger than that run up by France, for example Germany and Ireland. It doesn’t matter that much to Portugal, Spain or Greece nor indeed to Macron for whom “[a] no deal might actually be the best outcome.” (paywalled link
The reason, according to Syed, is the close competition between France and the UK when it comes to investments or indeed financial services where the choice of global industries or banks usually is between Paris or London. Syed concludes his opinion piece with an interesting interpretation of Macron’s ‘spoke-in-wheel’ interference:
“If the UK crashes out of the transitional arrangement without a deal, our losses are likely to be French gains. Looking at it from the Elysee Palace, President Macron would be perfectly right to conclude that France will be the winner from that. All he would need is a convenient, emotive issue to allow him to veto a deal – and fish, come to think of it, would be perfect.”(paywalled link)
I’d suggest that, while Macron may very well think so, ensconced in the cushy safety of the Elysee Palace, us peasants out here are actually very much aware of the ongoing turmoil inside France, created on a daily basis by all those ‘diverse enrichers’. I’m sure the directors of those financial and other global industries are fully aware of that as well. While they themselves may be able to hide in well-guarded properties, their workers will be exposed to this street warfare, especially in Paris. I won’t mention the different levels of taxation: post-covid (if there ever will be such a thing) all tax bets are off.
In conclusion I beg leave to point out, with due humility and respect, that I do not have ‘sources’ or ‘figures’ or ‘Brussels diplomats’ who talk to me. Everything I have quoted and am quoting is gleaned from reports and articles in ‘Our MSM’. This means that all their fabulous authors, writers and ‘opinion makers’ are, at the very least, in possession of the same facts. Just as with all their covid reporting, they are however bound to follow a ‘narrative’, to ‘nudge’ us into accepting their spin.
Always keep in mind that we, the unwashed plebs, the tax serfs, are not the stupid idiots as which the self-appointed Westminster ‘elites’ paint us. We do know what’s what, be it in regard to Brexit, be it in regard to covid. We can have trust in our opinions because we’re not driven by vested interests, by Remain- and Covid-Whisperers. Therefore, to the end, we will
Photo by UK Prime Minister