The Salzburg Surprise

The thing about the Salzburg Surprise is how unsurprising it was. You didn’t need to be woke, merely semi-conscious to realise that the ‘Europeans’ would reject the Chequers fudge. We knew this because they repeatedly told us over and over, s l o w l y , like a retired Brit in Benidorm speaking to a local.

The level of self-deception and contrived grievance being nurtured by the Idiot Elite is mind-blowing even for those of us whose minds are well and truly blown by the brass-neck and chutzpah of the High Tory government over the last two years when this inexorable process began. Yesterday Jeremy Hunt warned the ‘EU” not “mistake British politeness for weakness”. Presumably the exquisite international etiquette he was thinking of was his former colleague Boris Johnson referring to Colditz style punishment beatings, or similar outpourings from the Tory script? For the member of a party that has been spewing xenophobic abuse across the continent for decades to complain about ill-manners is cute in this late hour.

In his leaders hastily arranged address on Friday, May accused the EU of not treating the UK with “respect” and blamed them for the “impasse” in negotiations. In a performance that was high on drama and ham-acting for a tv audience of Gammon – but short on facts or ideas – the PM looked stern but bereft.

Normally politicians call press conferences when they have something important to say. May had nothing to say, important or not. She had been briefed to make demands, to look severe and act tough. She is in no position to make any demands, and her strict school ma’am acting will be met with a gallic shrug across the Channel.

The ongoing frenzied whining of her press pack will be identified, correctly, as reflective of a nation deeply in denial. The Sun’s latest front-page has our beleaguered PM as a fusion of V-Day White Cliff Vera Lynn, Churchill in high-heels and Geri Halliwell on a picnic. Which is funny as Michel Barnier has spent the last few months pleading: “tell me what you want, what you really, really want.”

May is surrounded by advisors who don’t seem to know what’s going on, colleagues who are sharpening the knives for her conference season slicing and European counterparts who are oblivious to her pointless threats and warnings. The Conservatives have swallowed their own snake-oil and convinced themselves that the other twenty-seven countries of Europe are dependent on Britain’s economic largesse. It’s historically illiterate and embarrassing.

Poor Dominic Raab, the patsy’s patsy, whimpered: “We have been rebuffed on our plans without any coherent explanation as to why.”

And he said the UK government was “going to hold our nerve, stay calm and keep negotiating in good faith”.

This is Keep Calm and Carry On as government policy in the face of self-inflicted national humiliation.

At the heart of this, as everyone knows, is the UK government’s complete mishandling of every possible aspect of the Irish border situation, because of their political capture by the DUP and their own historical enmity.

May’s Chequers proposal suggests that the UK shares a ‘common rulebook’ for goods and services after Brexit in an attempt to prevent a return of customs checks for goods crossing the Irish border, a plan so unpopular on the right of the Tory party that Dumb and Dumber (Johnson and Davis) resigned rather than support it.

The Brussels objections to the Chequers plan centres on the fact that the common rule book only covers a tiny amount of the regulations covering goods – in the chemical sector for instance that’s said to be only 30%.

And yet, as we all know this, nothing is being said. No huge focus of attention, no massive ramping-up of the hugely discredited DUP rump, shrouded in scandal and corruption is going on.

As the writer Matthew O’Toole puts it, this disinterest is close to a pathology. He writes:

“I don’t know why I’m surprised any more to venture onto UK political Twitter and see precisely no one talking about Northern Ireland, despite it being the alpha and omega of Brexit. This absence of debate will be a historical artefact.”

The rhetoric of “ambush” and “surprise” – the feigned insults and stalwart bravery in the face of rude foreigners is a well known routine.
Our shambolic leaders are gearing us up for a crisis, a No Deal Deal “forced” on us by our own incompetence after which we can summon the Blitz spirit, open something from the garage-full of Fray Bentos and Keep Calm and Carry On. With the blame firmly on the recalcitrant Irish, the uppity Jocks and with the Bolshevik Bogeyman standing in the corner, it’s bound to go down well in the suburbs of England’s new nationalism.
As Conservative leaders shudder behind the net curtains of conference season muttering about “manners” and “respect” it’s worth remembering that their flagship tabloid released their “Up Yours Delors” frontage in 1990 telling the “fealthy French to FROG OFF!”. That thirty years of racist bile puts Britain in a position of weakness to call on favours, draw on karma or be treated with anything other than complete contempt as they stagger to their own inevitable diplomatic ignominy.


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  1. Josef Ó Luain says:

    The simple-minded arrogance of the British Establishment and its deluded followers has finally have been called-out. Rejoice!

    1. Alasdair Macdonald says:

      It has been obvious it would be called out, since M. Barnier and other European officials have been making clear – in pretty diplomatic and tactful language – since the ‘Chequers “Agreement”‘ was first set out. (The “agreement” was an attempt at papering over cracks in the Tory party and not what the rest of us understand by ‘agreement’ in this context. In the event, with the egregious solipsist, Mr B. Johnson and others leaving, it was not even an agreement amongst Tories.)

      However, whether it is a matter for ‘rejoicing’, Josef, I am not so sure. It might well turn out to be, in the longer term, but the baleful xenophobia spewing out via the media, there might well be some pretty turbulent days and weeks ahead. I suspect that some of those gung-ho John Bulls would be prepared to close the border with area and risk civi strife.

      1. Jo says:

        Indeed, Alasdair. I see no reason to rejoice. As for those who believe all of this could leave a second EU referendum -and a win for Remain this time – inevitable, I’d advise caution there too. The atmosphere is now so toxic I can see either another win for Leave or serious civil disorder if the vote goes the other way.

        Aside from the Sun’s headline we also had the Express declaring this latest “speech” to be “May’s Finest Hour”! (I’d hate to see her darkest.)

        May is so incompetent that it’s terrifying she’s PM. What’s even more frightening is the prospect of any of her would -be successors actually making it to Number 10. Yesterday, during her “finest hour”, May declared that the EU, in rejecting her ideas, had failed to produce their own proposals. She missed the point. They don’t have to. It was the UK that decided to leave. The onus isn’t on the EU to make it work, it’s on the UK!

        It’s difficult to imagine how much worse it can get. The only certainty is that it will absolutely get worse.

  2. w.b. robertson says:

    Brave words and fighting talk from Brussels. But many member countries within the EU 27 may become a bit uneasy when they do their sums. A no-deal UK presumably will walk away and freeze any notion of paying “compensation” cash. The EU budget will feel the cost. To figure it out…follow the money!”

    1. Wullie says:

      Good article!

    2. If the British govt refuse to pay the figure they agreed – which was mostly just compensation for the multi-various projects we were already heavily committed to – then expect the EU 27 to really turn on Britain and quite rightly too.

      1. Jamsie says:

        Ah Mr Ed.
        Such melodrama in your article.
        But like WB I think you completely miss the point and portray the U.K. as somehow being unable sort out the mess created by Cameron and perpetuated by the unelected Eurocrats whose fat salaries, grossly indecent expenses and gold plated pensions are shortly to be under threat.
        Make no mistake the other 26 and Germany have as much if not more to lose.
        Notice how I separate the takers from the givers.
        Merkel will not be able to maintain the contribution to the EU at current levels if their premium market the UK becomes a tariff riven export for their industries.
        She will quickly be ousted for someone more pragmatic to deal with the German people’s opinion that they subsidise the rest of the EU except the UK.
        Which clearly they do.
        As WB says follow the money.
        When 26 of the countries are facing shortfalls in their EU inward revenue and they realise Germany is not coming to the rescue the pack of cards known as solidarity will collapse.
        Just watch this next few months when the EU needs to reduce payments to the 26 and Germany does not take up the shortfall.
        And on defence the card which has not yet been played is the U.K. doing what America has just done and reducing its contribution to NATO.
        Sorry Mr Ed but the UK has quite a strong hand to play and neither set of politicians so far have indicated an end point.
        The Irish border is a side show and Ireland will be thrown to the dogs by France, Spain and Italy based on self interest.
        But we in Scotland out of the EU and in the UK will be financially cushioned as always with our superior export volumes within.

        1. Kenny Smith says:

          Foamy are you really Tom Harris? You talk about leaving the EU because they are worried about their salaries and pensions so by that token you would be happy for Scotland to leave this shit box of a pretendy union. Jimbo the man that is so confident of no referendum/ no vote that he spills his foam from mouth and arse in the hope of agitating a response worthy of a headline. You must be feeling a challenge to your foamer of the year title because you get more batshit crazy with every post. There isn’t an argument left to persuade us to vote no again. Blah blah foam foam, yoonyun!!

          1. Jamsie says:

            People like you are the reason the naw vote holds up.
            You have no idea what is going on and why.
            Everything which irks you it met with derision and insult.
            Keep it up.
            Enjoy being part of the U.K. and out of the EU cos that is where we are going.
            The journey is mapped out and no amount of face painting is going to change it.
            Don’t you just feel so secure knowing your financial future is secure in the Union as against the total uncertainty of Indy?

        2. Dear Jamesie, I like your faith in your Overlords, its a sweet deference surely tottering now on the edges of even your own credulity?

          But the idea that one country has more torque than 27 is odd, isn’t it? Even if those loathsome foreigners include those tiny insignificant countries like, say France, or Germany?

          But it seems to be going really well, from your perspective, so best of luck.

          PS Ive worked in Europe for a very long time – the idea that ‘Britain’ (sic) has more diplomatic karma than Ireland is, well, fun.

          1. Jamsie says:

            Mr Ed
            I did not say I had faith in anyone.
            But I do have a belief that Scotland as part of the U.K. is and will continue to be a good place to live and work.
            Of course there are things which could be improved but would Indy improve them?
            The Indy economic experts can’t even agree amongst themselves on what the GCR means.
            Like you I have travelled extensively throughout Europe and particularly France, Italy and Spain in the last six months.
            What I read in the press is not what is portrayed at home by a long way.
            I have not suggested the UK has more torque what I have said is that the UK is a premium market for the EU and consequently any deal will reflect that.
            There will be no hard Brexit imposed by the EU.
            That is certain and something will be fudged to ensure that in good European fashion.
            And as for Ireland the situation will be allowed to stay as is with current arrangements in place.
            The EU needs to allow Ireland to continue its trading relationship with the U.K.
            A few new super ferries won’t change this.
            German pragmatism will shortly be brought to bear on the 26 and they will have to listen or see their income decimated.
            That much is clear even here in France.

          2. Hi Jamesie – amongst various odd statements one jumps out: “as for Ireland the situation will be allowed to stay as is with current arrangements in place.”

            Can you decipher what this means? As far as the rest of the world knows the failure to resolve the Irish border situation is one of many points on which the Tory negotiations are bound to fail.

          3. Jamsie says:

            Mr Ed
            As I’m sure you are aware the Common Travel Agreement has been in place since the ROI was formed in 1923.
            And it still operates today perfectly well.
            The reason for a hard border is not because the UK needs one, it is entirely an EU concept so that exports from the U.K. into ROI are screened.
            After the U.K. leaves the EU do you really think the quality of these exports to Ireland will change?
            Of course they won’t.
            And similarly the exports from ROI to the U.K. won’t.
            The difference is the ROI depends much more on cooperation with the EU than other member states given a.) the level of exports to the U.K. and b.) the volume of exports which need to be transited via the U.K. to the EU markets.
            So the vocal sniping by the Irish president in support of the EU demands that no hard but border is implemented between north and south is really playing to the crowd and to the republican support for a united Ireland.
            He knows his demands will not be accepted but in order to appear as if he has some influence as one of the 26 he keeps up the pretext.
            The ROI would become a basket case economy again if they allowed the Eurocrats to use them as a whipping post to prevent a deal with the U.K.
            Furthermore they also know that unlike last time when the U.K. stepped in to bail them out that this option would be off the table and the EU would be unable to help as they struggled to make up the deficit caused by the U.K. leaving.
            Ireland is a side show to maximise UK compensation in leaving.
            The CTA is how it works at the moment and there is no reason to suspect that it would not in the future.

          4. I’m sorry for my ignorance – for all those people anxious that the Brexit settlement would threaten the GFA and Ireland (and Britain’s) long sought peace. I’ll memo them all saying its all fine. Thanks for the update. Paddy’s fault.

          5. Jamsie says:

            Mr Ed
            Sometimes when you lose the thread you become obtuse.
            The GFA?
            Why would that be in any doubt?
            Would the ROI have some kind of input to the republican terrorist movement in the north?
            Surely not.
            No one said it was all paddy’s fault.
            What was said was that the ROI could still enjoy its current status with trade with the UK by simply accepting the CTA continues.
            What part of that didn’t you get?

  3. Kenny Smith says:

    Spot on again Mike. You say exactly what I think about this whole mess and the total hypocrisy that’s all around us.

  4. bringiton says:

    Whatever happens from now on,certain things have been clarified.
    The EU has learned that Westminster is not a reliable partner and will bear that in mind
    for future negotiations when London goes back to begging for access to the European market.
    Scotland has learned that devolution isn’t worth the paper it is written on and that we are considered
    by Westminster to be a possession and not a partner.
    NI has learned that (as was about to happen last December) they are disposable when it suits Westminster.
    The whole world has learned that the UK is run by a bunch of delusional colonialists who attended
    English public schools which stop teaching history beyond Aden.
    If it wasn’t for the City of London and the money launderers,they would just be completely ignored by
    the global community.

    1. bringiton says:

      Sorry Aden should read Suez but from the same period.

  5. Willie says:

    Well the fire is indeed now being stoked.

    Will the rhetoric of victim status be turned to anger. Will the indominstable British spirit prevail and will we fight them on the beaches.

    I certainly think that is the way the Brexiteers will now seek to play it, because that is the base upon which the Brexiteers predicate their thinking. Xenophobic by nature, the entire EU is against Bull Dog Britain. It’s certainly a line to be played, and I couldn’t help but notice a full page advertisement this week in the MSM where a schedule of public meetings across England by Farage and associated Brexit luminaries was being promoted.

    And this victim status howl comes from a country until recently thought that Brexit was an opportunity to cause the Republic of zireland to reconsider their foolishness of a hundred years ago and come back to the unionist fold.

    It’s also the victim status howl of a country who earlier in the negotiations told the EU that unless they got the financial deal it required then the UK would hold on to terrorist intelligence which it said was worth money.

    And so, having belligerently tried to bully their way out of the EU, the Brexit contingent, now to stoke further resentment against the EU and beyond. Just like 1930s Germanty a Nuremberg rally of media angst against foreigners portends.

    The EU know it and sadly so do many of us here too,

  6. tartanfever says:

    Accurate and depressing summary of the situation.

    I understand that the EU has to treat the UK with some respect as we are still currently members. They have, to my knowledge, not responded to the slurs and abuse thrown at them from the UK right wing with similar vitriol . However, what on earth happens after we leave in March next year after we become a ‘third country’ ?

  7. Wul says:

    J: ” We in Scotland….”


    “That much is clear even here in France.”

    This contributor doesn’t even know where (s?)he lives. Best ignored.

    1. Jamsie says:

      If you are incapable of understanding then that is your problem I think.
      I travel regularly for work and pleasure as I already mentioned.
      It just so happens when I posted I was actually in France.
      Dearie me!

      1. Jamsie says:

        And this week I will be in the north of Scotland.
        But I don’t live there either!

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