Send in the Navy
Five months is all it took between negotiating a “great deal” to leave the EU and sending in the gunboats. This time it appears to be because the Jersey authorities thought they could use the smokescreen of Brexit to squeeze out French fishing boats, but it could have been a dozen other flash points from Northern Ireland, to breaking international law or those non existent border checks by the UK.
This should not come as a surprise, Michael Barnier’s book on the Brexit negotiations came out this week and told us what we already knew. The UK’s negotiations were fatally undermined by second rate, ideologically driven fantasies and the UK gave away nearly every negotiating position and ploy in the Lancaster House speech with its famous red lines. This told the EU exactly what kind of deal the UK would accept and it is what it got but with the added surprise that the UK’s negotiators seemed to have failed to even ask for a dozen small ways of ameliorating the mess. Then they tried to sneak traps, false guarantees and get out clauses into last minute proposals. Presumably in the hope that the EU side wouldn’t notice them, when in fact all it did and all it ever could do was destroy the last remnant of trust in the current government.
None of this matters, sending in the Navy on election day is a win win for the Conservatives, and will continue to be so. The drip drip of bad news can be blamed on the French or the EU or the Irish and any good news is always down to Brexit. This, with its faithful, jingoistic, flag waving newspaper coverage is a hugely difficult cycle to break, we are facing years of this kind of stuff.
The UK has been reduced to the Millwall of Europe, “no one likes us, we don’t care” and firmly in the second division.