Feel like a laugh? Here’s one that’s bound to set your ribs a-tickle, and it comes from the lily-white fingers of none other than British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss:
She tweeted : “Great welcoming Richard Neal with members of US Congress today. We discussed our cast-iron commitment to the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement, the importance of free trade and our condemnation of Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine.”
That little tweet is so stuffed with ironies, they’re lepping off the page and attaching themselves to the eyeballs.
Take Liz’s devotion to free trade: the EU has some 40 trade deals with some 70 countries around the world. So just run that past me again, Liz: the UK loves free trade, which is why it’s quit the EU, which has all sorts of trade deals….Something not right there.
But let’s just concentrate on Liz’s delight in talking to this American delegation. Why are they on this side of the Atlantic? Because Liz is busy tabling legislation that will strip out all awkward bits of the protocol, an agreement which the UK signed as part of the Withdrawal bill. The Americans invested a lot of time and reputation in bringing into being the Good Friday Agreement, and they don’t like the idea of Liz using her pneumatic drill on the protocol at the behest of the one party that didn’t sign the GFA, the DUP. Is Liz saying she’s looking forward to explaining this to Richie Neal et al? If she is, it’ll come as a shock to discover that the Americans don’t like/are goddam furious about what she’s said she’s going to do to the protocol.
But let’s be charitable. Maybe Liz doesn’t have a good memory. Maybe she’s forgotten that the south of Ireland is part of the EU and the EU needs to have clear lines of demarcation, so that stuff from abroad coming into the EU can be checked to make sure it meets EU standards. And that all hands agree the border should not be on the island of Ireland, for reasons even Liz should be able to grasp. And, most important of all, that the UK signed up for the protocol, and if she starts changing it unilaterally, the UK’s international credibility will tank to such a level, it’ll find itself in the same basement as Boris Johnson, a dim place where you promise whatever sounds good at the time and then later make a joke, quote a Latin tag, and go back on your promise.
At present, the US is working on a trade deal with the EU, which it says is going well. What about a deal with the UK? Er, that’s proving a bit trickier. Because if you sign an agreement with the UK these days, you have to factor in that they’ll maybe take a mechanical digger to it next day.
Oh Liz, Liz, Liz. What a tangled web we weave, etc…Still, laughter is the best medicine, isn’t it?