Saturday 5 December 2020

Brexit Frexit

It is no surprise that the French are driving talks on to the rocks. Since the age of De Gaulle, there has been a sustained undercurrent of hostility towards England (I am deliberately not saying the UK), just as there has been a sustained unease and worse about Europe on the part of the Tory right and Labour left. The French have fought the England-Germany axis over the years. Historically the great enmity has been French/English not German/English. The period 1900-1945 was an anomaly. Once a French negotiator was appointed the dice was loaded.

I saw a notable symptom of the French aspiring to diminish the status of English and the English at the opening of Louvre Abu Dhabi. The guest of honour and main speaker was Macron. He arrived 2 hours later and delivered an exceedingly long speech, the last third of which was about French resuming its role as the world language. It was the wrong message in the wrong place at the wrong time. He said hello to me with considerable personal charm. Reality and charm are very different things.

I say this as a wholly committed European and internationalist -  and from the perspective of the 'auld alliance' between France and Scotland.