by Frank Schnittger
Sun Jan 24th, 2021 at 08:31:50 PM EST
My letter (minus the last sentence) has also been published by the Irish Times here.
For those who are too young to get the Ministry For Silly Walks reference...
To get a sense of the UK's isolation from Europe, you need only study this graphic:
The UK is in splendid isolation in the top right hand corner.
But what really promoted my letter is puzzlement at why the UK government would want to remind the US of its Trumpian characteristics. Biden is already reported as being extremely hostile to all things Boris Johnson, in part because of the latter's racist "half Kenyan" jibes at his former boss, Barack Obama. Vice President Kamala Harris is reported to be even more vituperative in her comments about Tory Britain. Perhaps it is because she is half Indian, half Jamaican. Those once ruled by Britain have long memories.
So how does the attempt to downgrade the EU ambassador fit in with the UK's reported first priority of a trade deal with the USA? How does the UK think it will progress all those other issues it needs to sort out with the EU, such as access to the EU for the UK's service industry?
The UK still seems to think it can negotiate on a bilateral basis with the E3 - Germany, France and the UK. That may work on some external issues such as the Iran nuclear deal, but even here, how does it add value to what the EU can discuss directly with the USA and Iran?
Germany and France will be ultra-vigilant for further attempts by the UK to divide and conquer the EU. It didn't work very well during the Brexit negotiations, and there is no reason to believe it will work now. And given the the UK's past attempts to resile from its treaty obligations to the EU in the form of the Internal Market's Bill, there is no way the EU ambassador isn't going to be front and centre of any future relations the UK will have with eternal powers.
If all the UK can do is seek to deprive the ambassador of elementary protections and the chance to present his credentials to the Queen, it is a sign of weakness, not of strength. The UK will soon find it does not get to define the terms of its relations with the EU, no more than the US. It is the UK which is now the supplicant nation. It just doesn't quite realise it yet.