What an amazing collection of reports and stories in today’s papers! The most astonishing fact though is that there’s nothing on the actual negotiations with Barnier which started yesterday.
It looks as if the ‘terms of reference’ which we mentioned on Saturday (here) seem to be observed: no documents submitted by the Frost team to be published, nor to be circulated to EU member state governments. In other words: the ‘sources’ have had nothing to leak, to launch their observations in the hope to influence opinion at home. So far, that is.
Instead, everywhere you look we have ‘the Corona virus’, we have Priti Patel, and a couple of opinion pieces. Oh – we also read that Spain has been running 4,000 incursions into our waters around Gibraltar (link). The important EU news are of course only found here – a report on a slush fund to set up the EU Army. Read the whole thing!
Given the absence of material so far, Michael Lynn writes in the DT that France will be the main obstacle to concluding that Treaty. He makes these points:
“We can expect to hear a defiant “Non!” several times over the next few months as French negotiators throw their toys out of their pram. The conventional view will be that President Emmanuel Macron is fighting to protect the EU, preserve the single market and press forward with greater integration. The real answer is very different. It is France that has the most to lose from a more liberal, free-trading deregulated Britain. […] Paris is going to be our most formidable obstacle to getting a deal.” (paywalled link)
Referring to France’s economy, especially their welfare budget, Mr Lynn observes that this is the reason why France will insist on that ‘level playing field’:
“France’s social model is the most lavish anywhere. […] It spends 24pc of GDP on “social protection”, the highest in the EU alongside Finland. Ireland, by contrast, spends 9pc of GDP. The Irish don’t have to worry too much about being undercut by a more deregulated, lower-tax Britain. The French do. Their model is wildly uncompetitive – and the only way to preserve it is to lock out the competition.” (paywalled link)
There’s more, and it’s wonderful that our Remain MSM preferred to dedicate space to Ms de Montchalin’s fighting remarks about ‘things becoming nasty’ rather than asking the reasons for this intransigence. Here’s another good point:
“Finally, [France] doesn’t have much to lose from taking a tough line. Unlike most EU countries, they sell a bit of stuff to us and we sell some back. The account is slightly in their favour (French exports to Britain run at £44bn a year, imports at £41bn) but not by much. Unlike Germany or Spain which have a lot at stake, it doesn’t make much difference to the French whether there is a deal with Britain. They might lose a bit, gain a bit and end up roughly where they started.” (paywalled link)
Mr Lynn’s conclusions are a fair estimate of what we can expect to hear:
“The EU as always will dress up the negotiations with fancy rhetoric. We will hear grand statements about protecting workers and companies, condemnations of a “race to the bottom”, and demands that standards be upheld. In truth, the talks will, as always, be about money, jobs and power. France has the most to lose from a deregulated UK and the least to gain from a trade deal. Which is why we should expect Paris to fight and fight to tie us to European standards. And why we should be prepared, just as Gen de Gaulle did with our first application for EU membership in the Sixties, for the possibility it will veto a deal completely.” (paywalled link)
I’m sure I don’t have to point out that M Barnier is French, nor do I have to point out that Ms Merkel has bunkered down somewhere in Berlin, unable to face the imminent new migration wave from Turkey. Greece is resisting with all it’s might, being left to deal with this without help from the EU – Ms vdLeyen is ‘concerned’, and that’s all.
There’s also no concerted effort by the EU to address that Corona virus. EU member states are apparently left to do their own thing while Ms vdLeyen is … concerned. Well, we’re doing our ‘own thing here’, with a ‘battle plan’ to be presented to us today by the government. The leaks so far show that it’ll be, well, ahem, ‘formidable’:
“On Tuesday, the Prime Minister will set out the steps that could be taken if the virus continues to spread after warning on Monday that a “significant” rise in cases in Britain was “clearly on the cards”. Cancellation of mass gatherings, efforts to dissuade the public from needless travel and the use of retired medics are among emergency measures that could be brought in if the outbreak continues to worsen. […] Health officials stressed that there was no need to take such steps now but urged the public to be prepared to respond quickly if the measures become necessary.” (paywalled link)
Ah well – the good old Dunkirk spirit to the fore, only this time round there are all the snowflakes who, with the help of the MSM, are already wailing that ‘we need protection’, i.e. “Johnson must do something” while there are still stories about flood victims demanding Johnson must go out and see them, Corona virus or not. It’s all the fault of the government, see. Meanwhile, this report about the epidemic in China apparently receding wasn’t getting much attention, nor this interesting piece of news:
“Customers should wash their hands after touching banknotes because infectious Covid-19 may cling to the surface for a number of days, the UN agency [WHO] warned on Monday night. To prevent the spread of the disease, people should use contactless technology where possible, a spokesman added. Last night the Bank of England acknowledged that banknotes “can carry bacteria or viruses” and urged people to regularly wash their hands.” (paywalled link)
I am of course not saying that vested interests which have been trying to create the ‘cashless society’ are using this outbreak to promote this agenda, of course not! But I dunno why we’re not ‘advised’ to wear gloves … not sufficiently high-tech, perhaps?
And then there’s Ms Patel, who now has the combined MSM on her back. There’s going to be an inquiry, but to set the scene, we’re told about that earlier ‘bullying’ incident from 2015 because the bullyee tried to commit suicide. The Times, in an aside, reports that this ‘victim’ had already tried to do so a year before but we’re of course not told why.
RemainCentral drops the mask in an opinion piece, showing quite clearly that this is about ultimately getting rid not just of Ms Patel but of Dominic Cumming. It’s obvious that this is a concerted effort coming from within Whitehall:
“The problem is that the bust-up at the Home Office is part of a wider culture of fear emanating from No 10. Mr Cummings seems to thrive on belittling those around him. […] Some worry that Sir Mark Sedwill, the cabinet secretary, is too timid in standing up for the civil service. “He is so desperate to be in with Cummings and co that he’s rather thrown his permanent secretaries to the wolves,” according to one Whitehall veteran. “Once they realise they’re not being protected by him this kind of Armageddon happens. The role of the civil service is to speak truth to power and Sir Philip was right to challenge proposals that he believed were outside the rule of law.” (link, paywalled)
Sir Mark Sedwill is timid? Blimey! Is that why he’s the chief of the civil service? But read again that last sentence: the phrase ‘speaking truth to power’ is straight out of the lefty playbook and illustrates how far and deeply Common Purpose has penetrated Whitehall.
These are the Remain serpents about whom we’ve been writing for a long time. These are the ‘advisers’ who themselves are ‘the power’ to whom nobody dares ‘speak truth’. That’s why this war in the Home Office matters: Remain will do anything to keep us in, even unto destroying a Home office Minister and never mind that she should be protected by those Common Purpose bullies, being a Hindu. Lefty ‘principles’, to stand up for women of colour, only matter when said women are Labour Left.
Meanwhile, keep well, keep washing your hands, and above all
Photo by mathrock