Brexit: Theresa sends a letter and gets one back

The parting of the ways with Article 50 this week may have seemed amicable enough, with Donald Tusk speaking of sadness at Britain’s departure  and Theresa May sounding as though she was sending  the EU a love letter rather than a Dear John . But hardly had the ink dried than a couple of nasties jumped up and bit into softer  parts.

First was Theresa May’s hint that Europe mightn’t expect the same co-operation on security, when Britain had quit the EU. Guy Verhofstadt, the EU’s Brexit co-ordinator, made it clear what he liked and didn’t like in May’s letter:

“I find the letter of Mrs May very constructive, generally, but there is also one threat in it, in saying: ‘Look, we want also to cooperate with you on security issues in our common fight against terrorism but you have to give us a good deal on trade and economy.’ “

Britain’s Foreign Secretary ( I still can’t believe I’m putting those three words together) rumpled his hair and rushed to Twitter:

“I stress that the UK’s commitment to the defence and security of Europe is unconditional.”

So hands up how many think that bit about security just sort of fell into Theresa’s letter by mistake? Right.

The other bum-biter this week has been Gibraltar. The Rock. The place where, legend has it, the monkeys will stay as long as the Brits are in charge. In its draft negotiating paper, the EU spelt it out:

“After the United Kingdom leaves the Union, no agreement between the EU and the UK may apply to the territory of Gibraltar without the agreement between the kingdom of Spain and the UK.”

Wow. The Brits got very tetchy when they read that one. The EU holding Gibraltar as hostage with a gun to its head: our terms or the Rock gets it? Preposterous!

Boris tousled his thatch again and rushed into the breach:

“Earlier this evening I called Gibraltar’s Chief Minister Fabian Picardo . I wanted to reiterate that the UK remains implacable and rock-like in our support for Gibraltar.”

Comparisons have been made with the Falklands, and indeed both look equally nineteenth century: tiny pieces of earth which Britain, thousands of miles from home, conquered in her heyday and still insists she owns. The difference with Gibraltar is that it’s now part of the bargaining kitty available to the EU, not just a single issue as was the case with the Malvinas.

Maybe somebody should have a word in Boris’s ear: it wouldn’t necessarily be a good idea to do a Falklands and send gunboats to Gibraltar. Yes, Britain has an odd notion of justice on the Rock as well as about the Rock; but going to war with the twenty-seven other countries at the same time mightn’t be completely wise.


This Brexit thing: it looked so much easier when Nigel Farage was having a pint and yammering about Independence Day, Yipee!








8 Responses to Brexit: Theresa sends a letter and gets one back

  1. Daniel Moran April 1, 2017 at 12:39 pm #

    This is a serious whack by Brussels at Tory Britain that has sent May a less than subtle message that all bets are off for a deal and they’ve made a terrible mistake on brexit gamble. It will cost GB £50b to divorce the EU. Europe tells May Put that in your Skype and Poke it, lol

  2. paddykool April 1, 2017 at 2:43 pm #

    I find myself wondering if this whole thing is not just an elaborate ruse by Theresa May to point out to the British public in a series of logical moves that the complexity of extracting themselves from the EU will only provide ever more problems for Britain in the future and leave them without any real friends in Europe. She didn’t really wamt to leave in the first place , remember,but possibly has to pretend that she has changed her mind even though every indication so far is proving that it is simply a very bad idea .
    Is it possible that she’s playing out a scenario along the lines of the folktale “Brer Rabbit and the Tar Baby” where the rabbit escapes by getting the fox to do the very opposite thing and by doing so allows the rabbit to escape.A sort of reverse psychology….What if the eventual deal is so bad and has so many strings attached that she is “forced” to turn it down and give “the people” another referendum to vote for Remain?.

  3. Eolach April 1, 2017 at 2:53 pm #

    Quite a pickle the ” oh so clever ” Brits have got themselves into …..two land borders to wrangle over where the rightful owners would like the stolen property returned. Military might will not cut it this time and diplomacy is an abstract foreign conception to them. They have centuries of ingrained ideas of dominance garnered through bullying ,death and destruction but they’ll have to bite hard on that stiff upper lip to come through this one. Europe , to remind other would be dissidents , will come down on Britain like that proverbially ton of bricks. She is going to be squeezed so hard financially hard she may never recover.Potential trading partners are not queueing at the front ,or any other, door. They lay great faith in trading with America ,a bankrupt nation ,but America’s only interest in Britain is for her strategic position for their defense….Trident will cost Britain £200 billion ,but she can only use them with American permission….if she reaches trading deals as beneficial as that then the world’s her oyster….or maybe that’s limpet. .I don’t see any bluebirds over the white cliffs for a very long time if ever again

  4. Ryan April 1, 2017 at 3:17 pm #

    Britain is in for a hard time. The EU has made perfectly clear that they definitely will NOT give the UK a good deal, at least not as good as being part of the EU itself would bring. Of course they are not going to give the UK a good deal, if they did then the EU itself would collapse within a short time because other nations would say “Look, the UK got a good deal and don’t have to abide by the rules, we can get the same, lets leave”.

    I read an article just yesterday where 40% of Computer Game producers in Britain (a billion pound industry) are thinking of relocating outside of Britain due to Brexit. JP Morgan Chase, the bank, are seriously considering relocating to Dublin from London. They are ready to buy a huge building in Dublin to use as Office Space, such a move will create hundreds of jobs in construction in Dublin and over 1,000 new long term jobs at the bank itself. Many companies even here in the North are planning to move their HQ’s to places like Dundalk and Dublin. The Irish Governments Investment Bodies have confirmed that they are being swamped with enquiries from companies in the North and Britain as to how they could relocate to the Republic. Even President Trump said he sees the Republic becoming more important as a key ally in Europe due to Britain leaving the EU. American companies are already planning investing more in the South due to its increasing importance as a European base. Even in 2011 the Shanghai Times in China noted that Ireland as the “Gateway to Europe”. With Britain out of the EU, Ireland will be the key (and only, apart from Malta) English speaking state in Europe.

  5. Perkin Warbeck April 1, 2017 at 5:35 pm #

    Seeing that the monkeys of Gibraltar, Esteemed Blogmeister, are called Barbary Apes this could well raise a not uninteresting paramilitary possibility in the not too distant f.

    Said 4-cheeky monkeys who occupy the top of the Rock are fast food junkeys: as any tourist who has the lackwit not to heed the oft-repeated warnings by the locals, knows full well.

    Snap the BigMac lunch box out of the hands of the unwary they do, before you could even begin to mouth ‘The Ronald’ !

    Indeed, so possessive of the Rock do these, erm, perky primates appear to be they give the following unavoidable impression. To wit, of being uber-confident enough to lick any ill-judged attempt by the Spannish Conquistadores to take what the Barbary Apes hold.

    And with all the ease too with which they currently lick the newly filched swirly-twirly ice-cream cones of and off the tourists. You feel they would give the Conquistadores their just desserts with an equal facility.

    First item on any ,erm, guerilla agenda, of course, is the naming.

    And here the Perkin’s inner Corporate Memory Man would suggest the obvious for the potentially barbarous Barbaries; however, on second thoughts, one never knows who might be spying with their little eye on the look-out for some little thing beginning with A:


    Which, sin duda, translates as (gulp):

    -Arm Phoblacht Eireann.

    And we all know los problemos they caused.

    Moving swiftly on to another way in which the prospect of Gib being, erm cut from the EU might impact upon the Free Southern Stateen.

    It would, indeed, shore up even more the snore -inducing computer game claim that the FSS is the ‘Only English-speaking Protectorate, oops, country, left in the EU !’.

    This claim is based on an unlimited number of fallow fallacies: two of which will suffice here.

    1. In 1937 the small, Leprechaun-sized Gaeltacht area of Baile Ghib, five miles from Navan, was founded. This involved the Dev-inspired scheme in which families from the Wild Atlantic Way volunteered to transfer , lock, stock and pork- barrel, to the fertile plains of Royal Meath.

    Each family was provided with 22 acres by the Land Commission along with farm anmals and implements. In 1967 teh Gibraltar-sized Baile Ghib was granted full Gaeltacht status and today it has a population of 1,144 according to the latest day of the Wiki Week.

    Baile Ghib also has a village hall, a shop, a church ,a Gaelscoil and a football club called Bhulf Tón, CLG.

    The last detail is not without a wider resonance. In 1954 the Royals of Meath won the All-Ireland when they dethroned the Kingdom of Kerry in the final. Accusations of
    professionalism were levelled at the Plainsmen on account of their having trained full time for week at Brú na Mí at Baile Ghib.

    Croke Park soon put the kibosh/ caidhp an bháis on collective training after that, for a goodly spell, in anyways.

    Brú na Mi was a wooden compund built to house Summer Camps in which tousled- haird gurriers from Dublin (an hour away) could get to practice their cúpla céad focal. It was a project of rare imagination : schoolchildren who hitherto could only speak the Compulsory German Queen’s English could now converse more fluently after 11 days on Boyneside than in 11 years of formal lessons on Liffeyside.

    That was then, and this is now with the new (gasp) know-how.

    If Baile Ghib is still breathing then its theme song might well be ‘Staying Alive; whereas, if Baile Ghbl has in fact been Gibraltared to an altered state, i.e., if Gibstown holds sway, then truly have the English language enthusiaists ‘Started a Joke which has set the whole world Laughing’.

    2. And then, Good Golly, there’s :

    -Molly Bloom.

    The heroine who snorted that ‘Dublin is the novel capital of English’.

    THE CUT of her BIB

    The Gibraltar-born Miss Molly Bloom
    Lowered the boom in the m.bedroom
    J. Joyce in Ulysses
    Got her to say yes
    The last word on the Lephrechaun tomb.

  6. dedeideoprofundis April 1, 2017 at 10:08 pm #

    Is it not a bit hypocritical of Spain to claim Gibraltar while they occupy Melilla and Cueto?

  7. Donal Kennedy April 2, 2017 at 2:48 pm #

    REPEAL OF THE UNION- WHERE HAVE I HEARD THAT BEFORE? Would Britannia turn tail at the threat of a whiff of GRAPESSHOT? A DUNKIRK rather than a CLONTARF? What pretentious portentous pseudo heroics we’re getting from May, Boris and their gang,

  8. Freddie mallins April 2, 2017 at 7:56 pm #

    So glad to hear that Gibraltar is back on the agenda. Hope that Argentina can make a bit of trouble with Las Mavenas in the background. England’s difficulty and all that…Ah can’t you just feel the cooling breeze from all those chickens returning to the roost.