It seems this prediction may have been all-too-accurate:
Was in France on the day of the Brexit referendum. I'd given my proxy vote to my lad. I went to bed "safe" in the knowledge that remain had won (d'oh!). Woke up to talking heads on the telly, one of whom was saying "There will be war between the EU and the UK within 10 years."
— CrémantCommunarde ✋🏾🧡🌤 (@0Calamity) October 29, 2021
Sure enough, the UK and France are at loggerheads – over fishing rights, of all things. And it seems the UK is at fault.
Under the Brexit agreement, the EU and UK have agreed they will give fishing licences to boats if they can show they have fished in each others’ waters for years.
But the UK has rejected applications from French fishing businesses, quibbling over the amount of evidence that is needed. It is suggested that only around 40 boats are affected, who had either not taken part in a monitoring survey, or were replacement vessels for firms that had fished in UK waters with their previous boats.
It seems to This Writer that this is a classic case of “computer says no”; because these French applications did not tick all the boxes required by an automated system, they were automatically disqualifed. All that is really needed is for a human being to consider the circumstances. Sadly, it seems the UK government no longer has human beings working for it.
France has threatened to retaliate with sanctions described as “targeted measures”, if the row is not resolved by Tuesday. These may include blocking ports to UK boats, increasing checks on UK goods, boats and trucks, and cutting energy supplies.
(That is possible because a previous UK Conservative government privatised our energy suppliers, passing more than a third of them into the ownership of foreign governments, including that of France. French firm EDF controls 10.3 per cent of UK energy.)
The BBC has aggravated the row by publicising a letter by French Prime Minister Jean Castex, saying that the EU needed to demonstrate that there was “more damage to leaving the EU than remaining there”. Shouldn’t our public service broadcaster be impartial?
Of course the right-wing and racist flag-wavers have taken the opportunity to whip up anti-French feeling, banging the tribalist drum in the hope that nobody will bother to check whether the UK’s Tory government might actually be in the wrong (because it is).
,,, With limited success:
Wait until they hear about 1066 https://t.co/Asx5qiifMV
— Russ Jones (@RussInCheshire) October 29, 2021
If France does take action unilaterally, the UK may have reason to escalate the matter – on a claim that our friends across the Channel have broken international law.
Remember when the UK’s Tory government was threatening to break international law with its Internal Market Bill, that would have unilaterally rewritten the Northern Ireland Protocol? Boris Johnson would not have the moral high ground here.
not sure a Government which happily broke international law can complain about France breaking international law without looking like total nobheads
— dave ❄️ 🥕 🧻 (@davemacladd) October 29, 2021
Worse than “looking like total nobheads”, though, is the isolation in which the UK is viewed by practically every other nation in the world.
Boris Johnson’s government is not trusted at all and France, together with the EU, would be justified in doubting the sincerity of a national government that reneges on its treaties whenever its ministers find it expedient:
The fishing row with France might be a distraction from all the other negative headlines, but it's also a reminder of Britain's isolation on the world stage because of Brexit. Boris Johnson is viewed with great scepticism across Europe and the latest row will damage him more.
— Daniela Nadj (@DanielaNadj) October 29, 2021
In this context, let’s turn to COP26, the imminent summit on climate change, taking place in Glasgow. Why should any nation stick to an agreement struck by Boris Johnson’s untrustworthy government?
If they don’t, though – or if he fails to achieve one because of his innate untrustworthiness, then the world burns.
Climate change campaigner Greta Thunberg has already condemned world leaders for spouting a load of “blah, blah, blah” and achieving nothing. Johnson may prove her right.
We should all hope that common sense will prevail.
But with Boris Johnson involved, if that does happen it will be the first time.
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