Duplicitous, perfidious: how not to mean a word you say

I think it’s catching.

Here’s David Davis with Andrew Marr last weekend, talking about the agreement arrived at between the UK and the EU for Phase One of Brexit talks: “This was a statement of intent more than anything else. Much more a statement of intent than it was a legally enforceable thing.”

Whatever about the legally enforceable thing or the statement of intent, the fact is that the UK and the EU came to an agreement on Phase One, which opened the door to Phase Two talks on trade.

The EU wasn’t impressed by Davis’s “statement of intent” stuff. “We see the joint report of Michel Barnier and David Davis as a deal between gentleman and it is the clear understanding that it is fully backed and endorsed by the UK government”.

To paraphrase:  since an Englishman’s word is his bond, you’ve signed up, bro, so none of that statement of intent shit.

So what does Davis do? He does a Billy Bunter I-say-you-chaps-I didn’t-eat-the-cake-that-was-in-the-tuck-shop-and-these-aren’t-crumbs-around-my-mouth:

“What I actually said yesterday, in terms, was we want to protect the peace process and we want to protect Ireland from the impact of Brexit for them. And I said this was a statement of intent which was more than just legally enforceable.” (my italics)

See what he did there? “More a statement of intent than it was a legally enforceable thing” becomes “This was a statement of intent which was more than just legally enforceable.”   Shuffle the words around a bit, distract people by pretending to faint, and the job’s done.

Now where might Davis have picked up such an obvious denial that he said/did something when it’s staring him in the face (and us) that he did indeed say/do that very thing?

You’ll remember that the DUP entered into the Executive at Stormont with Sinn Féin. And the Good Friday Agreement is what made that possible. Yet DUP politicians repeatedly dodge around any obligations, like a bill of rights, that come with the Good Friday Agreement, repeating all  wide-eyed and innocent: “But we didn’t sign up to the Good Friday Agreement!”

However, they did sign up to the St Andrew’s Agreement, which promised an Irish Language Act. But ask any DUP politician and they’ll say “Oh no. We didn’t sign up to that. It was the British government.” Is there any point in insisting  that when you sign an Agreement, you sign up to all the things in it?

The EU thinks so. It’s been telling the Tories: you do a deal, you commit to all the bits of the deal. Faced with a solid phalanx of twenty-seven states,  Davis  backed down.

But maybe we shouldn’t be too hard on Theresa and Davis and Co. Perfidious Albion has pulling fast ones long before the creation of the EU. “Attaquons dans ses eaux la perfide Albion” – “Let us attack perfidious Albion in her waters” the French were saying over two hundred years ago.

So there you have it. The DUP go back on Agreements they’ve signed up to/acted on in the past; Britain has been talking out of both sides of its mouth for hundreds of years. Well-matched coalition partners, then.

But just as David Davis has tried to scramble out of the hole he dug for himself, because the EU made it clear they were mad as hell and weren’t taking any more, let’s hope Sinn Féin stay resolute in their  refusal to accept DUP duplicitousness for business as usual.

Because if you’re firm and fixed about the need to fulfil  obligations, it’s amazing how chancers can be converted from their slippery ways. Ask Michel Barnier. Ask David Davis.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“What I actually said yesterday, in terms, was we want to protect the peace process, we want to protect Ireland from the impact of Brexit for them,” he said. “And I said this was a statement of intent which was much more than just legally enforceable.”

Read more at: https://inews.co.uk/news/politics/eu-insist-brexit-deal-legally-binding-david-davis-gaffe/

 

 

else. ‘Much more a statement of intent than it was a legally enforceable thing.’

 

Read more: http://metro.co.uk/2017/12/10/david-davis-tries-say-brexit-agreement-not-legally-binding-7147723/?ito=cbshare

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