Far and away the most chilling news this morning wasn’t the loss of Hartlepool (that, after all, was expected) but a short report in the FT, behind the paywall, about Sarah Dry withdrawing her reappointment application as a trustee to the Science Museum Group
in protest at being asked to “explicitly express support” for the government’s policy against the removal of contentious historical objects.
We live in strange and worrying times.
. . . but there is also another question – what are they so worried about that they are insisting on this?
In his daily newsletter, Jonty’s Jottings, Jonty Bloom started his piece this morning with the French threat to Jersey and the Government’s decision to send in the Navy and ended it with a lovely line,
The UK has been reduced to the Millwall of Europe, “no one likes us, we don’t care” and firmly in the second division.
Second division certainly (and none of that “punching above our weight” nonsense) and undoubtedly we are neither trusted or liked but I’m not so sure about the “we don’t care” bit.
I think both the Prime Minister and his motley crew do care. They want to be liked and cannot understand why they aren’t. It’s a very English thing, sadly.
A report in the FT this morning behind the paywall) that the French have warned the UK that they might cut the power supply to Jersey unless fishing licences are sorted.
According to the FT
A senior UK official said the government had been taken aback by the strength of the French reaction, which was seen as an “aggressive escalation” given that the UK had been working together on the question of licensing. “It’s a strange way to behave, from what is meant to be a friendly country,” they added.
Well, yes and no.
Not only does UK policy continue to have a strong cake-ist element but the UK government continues to be surprised that “our friends in Europe” (as they so often refer to them as) are prepared to take advantage when they can.
But that is what competitors do. Following Brexit, both sides are very much rivals first, and only friends when it suits.
The problem for the UK, it appears, is that we want to be liked. Rather like our Prime Minister.
After my post last week about how much Johnson dislikes being compared to Trump, it seems that he isn’t really that serious about changing his Trumpian behaviours.
142 other countries around the world have accorded full diplomatic status to EU ambassadors. But not the UK.
It seems to be a case that my sovereignty is bigger and better than yours.
It is also so very petty – and so very Johnson.
I was very struck by a column in the FT this morning, Boris Johnson on back foot as UK tries to reset relationship with US, (paywalled) that reports that Boris Johnson
smarts at the comparisons with the outgoing president, who called the UK premier “Britain Trump”
and went on to quote an ally of Johnson saying, “Boris hates the comparisons with Trump. He wants to be a mainstream European leader. When he looks in the mirror, he wants to see Macron, not Trump.”
Johnson may not be Trump although I have always believed it takes one to know one – however delusional Trump may be, and he is, there is no doubt that he sees Johnson as a sort of Trumpian Mini-Me. And Johnson, however much he wishes it, is certainly no Macron.
The mirror never lies.
And for a rather less kind but sadly just as accurate comparison of Johnson and Trump, read Martin Fletcher in the New Statesman, Why Boris Johnson is dangerously close to Trump. And one thing Fletcher omits is that both take a great deal of time over their hair . . . perhaps that’s the mirror thing.