Brexit Musings (5) – Brexit In America And “Eggs Florentine”


I read an interesting piece in the Mail On Sunday, the other day. And there was I, thinking that the Mail On Sunday, like the Daily Mail, was as far anti-EU as you could get, until an erroneous comment of mine, posted on Facebook, got corrected by someone who’s more familiar with the antics of the British press than I am. Well, when you’ve lived away from the UK for over 30 years, the subtleties of the reporting in the British media can escape you.

The ugly sister, the Daily Mail, distanced itself from the Mail On Sunday, on the more than divisive question of EU membership. Interestingly, the reverse split happened to the Times and Sunday Times, who supported the Remain and Leave campaigns, respectively. It must have something to do with Sundays, I guess – a day for reflection over the utopic visions of the Brexiteers, and prayers for the condemned Remainers.

The subject of the article was the future relationship between the UK and the US – the one being the subservient of the other, of course. UK-US relations go back a long way, and it seems to me that the UK has always played second fiddle to the US, especially in the case of foreign diplomacy. Just remember how Tony Blair run to support G.W. Bush with the invasion of Iraq – resembling a greyhound running after a rabbit who turned out to be just as phony as the Rolex I once bought on Camden High Street.

Nigel Farage got the tone of the future relationship between the UK and the US just about right, when he commented Theresa May’s Florentine remark that…

We share a commitment to high regulatory standards. People in Britain do not want shoddy goods, shoddy services, a poor environment or exploitative working practices and I can never imagine them thinking those things to be acceptable. The government I lead is committed not only to protecting high standards, but strengthening them.

…by saying that…

She (Theresa May) said that, we don’t seek an unfair competitive advantage. Well, that’s what I voted for.

I tell you what, Nigel, when the UK signs a lucrative deal with the US that bi-passes all those silly EU regulations on food hygiene, let’s see how many chlorinated chickens you can eat, and still have the strength to tell us how they tasted.

Talking about food and Brexit, I’ve received some dreadful news today. The Marks and Sparks store in the Hague, that was open before closing and opening again, is now – guess what – closing. That can only mean one thing for me – I’m going to have to go hunting for a Christmas pudding. Had I got wind of this calamity, of course, I would have stocked up on the puds, disregarding the “sell by” dates. Last Christmas, I ate a M&S Luxury Christmas pudding that was 18 months passed its expiry date, and would, according to the manufacturers, explode as soon as you opened the wrapping. I have rarely eaten a Christmas pudding that was so tasty – a real treat. What’s more, judging from this post, I’m still here to tell the tale.

The closure is said to be part of a broader reorganization. M&S has already closed stores in Belgium, France, Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, Estonia, Lithuania and China. If the stores manage to reopen in EU countries after Brexit, either something went drastically wrong during the negotiations, or there is something drastically wrong with the EU. However, many stores in the UK are also affected, with some stores closing, and others focusing only on food. The reorganization is expected to cost £50m over the next three years, but bring in £100m in the two years after that. If you multiply the time-span by 10, it does sound remarkably like Brexit, followed by the UK rejoining the Union. It’s enough to give you indigestion.

Indigestion is precisely what I got, after I finished digesting Theresa May’s “Eggs Florentine”. I cannot actually believe that she spent all that time and money, to go to Florence, only to praise the EU for nearly half-an-hour, in a hall that is usually inhabited by pigeons.When addressing the challenges facing the whole of Europe, she said,

The only way for us to respond to this vast array of challenges is for like-minded nations and peoples to come together…. The profound pooling of sovereignty that is a crucial feature of the European Union permits unprecedentedly deep co-operation, which brings benefits. 

Well, I don’t want to sound like a spoilsport, but that does sound a little bit like she already regrets the European Union, especially when she almost apologized to the EU over the way the British people voted.

So the British electorate made a choice. 

Damn bad luck, Theresa. I’ve said all along that referendums are dangerous toys that should be kept out of the reach of irresponsible children. Former French prime minister, Michel Rocard, described referendums as,

A national excitement where we put everything into one pot. A question is asked, people ask themselves others, and come to vote based on reasons that have nothing to do with the original question. 

But the Spanish have shown us how you deal with such “glorified opinion polls” – just stop the people from voting in the first place. And if you have to use your fists, be my guest. That’s what democracy is all about, isn’t it? Theresa May could, of course, have been more subtle than the Spanish, and just have ignored the result altogether. She ignores just about everything else, including burning tower blocks,  so I don’t see what was so special about the referendum. But does she know that, even now, she can still reverse it?

So, how about it, Theresa, per favore?