The UK’s chief Brexit negotiator, Lord Frost, has told his opposite number, Michel Barnier, not to bother coming over for the final bout of trade talks unless the EU fundamentally changes its position.
In response, Ursula von der Leyen, the EU Commission’s head Beurocrat has noted that her own team will go to London anyway, as planned, to ‘intensify these negotiations’.
You can see why the talks haven’t progressed. Frosty the No-Man in one corner and Zensursula in the other (doffs spiked helmet to the censorship-related Deutsch portmanteau nickname), and never the twain shall meet. Both sides determined not to have their noes put out of jaunt. As the Russian bots might belch, nobody wants to incur a niet loss by Putin a foot wrong (no pun intended). Not that the Russians would be interested in Brexit, of course.
And a jaunt is precisely what it is. A brief, frivolous outing, mandated by Article 50 that had a snowflake’s chance in Hell of effectively re-framing 45 years of meticulous composition. These are however not trade negotiations but a quest to anchor the most appropriate facade that allows both sides to play to their respective crowds and garner the plaudits once the (fairy) dust has settled.
And while the great stalemate becomes ever crustier, avid vi-eu-ers might have missed Boris sidestepping over to Manchester Council to blather that if they cannot get their act together on COVID, he ‘will intervene‘.
Hold my beer – 15 months in, and he’s actually going to intervene in something himself.
‘Thanks, PM’, as fresh, tasty Sunak merrily chimed earlier this week. Johnson, of course, is the blaggard who puts the nause into junta, but no banana republic band of guerrillas would have the skin-stepping track record of these chimps.
And what a comedown for a Prime Minister to be picking his battles with local government. That’s slumming it, politically.
Andy Burnham, the Mayor of Manchester, is of course the erstwhile Labour leadership candidate who got trounced by Corbachev, and here he was, looking very Paul Heaton, reading his statement to the press from a paper scrunch in a style reminiscent of Rebecca Wrong-Daily’s car crash covers for Corby at PMQs. Needless to say, the electorate that had plumped for Corbyn ultimately wouldn’t touch her with a Farage pole when she aspired to the top job in the shadow(y) politburo.
All this paints a sorry picture of the state of present-day opposition in the UK, but Burn’em is nevertheless giving milk bag a run for his money. And that is more than you can say for the Starmbannführer, who will be right on the back foot – and politically stranded – if any Tory coup installs a dynamic do-er with a tangible agenda.
In many respects, Brexit and COVID have been shaped by our political classes as happy bedfellows – serious issues reduced to escapades with no clear pathways to success that merely invited emergent strategies and a punt for the best from first-division careerist charlatans.
Meanwhile, everybody is revelling in the delight at saying ‘no’, without realising that to progress somewhere, somebody at some stage has to start saying ‘yes’.