Britology Watch: Deconstructing \’British Values\’

3 November 2010

Unreconstructed Frenchman says ‘England’ instead of ‘Britain’

Frenchman: President Nicolas Sarkozy

Occasion: signing of defence pact between the UK and France, 2 November 2010

Oh mon dieu! What a gaffe! French president Nicolas Sarkozy unwittingly (or perhaps not?) committed the ultimate faux pas yesterday when he stated that the military co-operation pact he had just signed was with an entity known as ‘England’, which, as we know, has no legal personality to enter into such deals. In fact, Sarkozy corrected himself, saying first ‘Great Britain’ and then ‘England’ to make the point clear to his ‘Gallic’ audience.

Fortunately, the voice-over translation kicked in to ‘correctly’ correct this unfortunate oversight and relayed Mr Sarkozy’s words to the British audience as referring to ‘Britain’ only. However, I can’t resist quoting Mr Sarkozy’s words in full. Pardon my French.

Toutes les conditions sont réunies pour une relation absolument exceptionnelle entre la Grande-Bretagne et la France, l’Angleterre et la France” [“All the conditions are united in favour of an exceptional relationship between Great Britain and France, England and France”] 


Didn’t the man realise that, by saying the unspeakable in this way, he was endangering the very entente militaire he had just put his name to? But it seemed that France’s commitment to the accord was about more than the British pragmatism that David Cameron made his theme, but was indeed about a friendly rivalry and mutual self-interest between France and England. As the president went on to jest:

Le chèque britannique n’est pas la raison principale qui pousse le peuple français spontanément vers l’Angleterre” [“The British checkbook is not the main reason that impels the French people spontaneously towards England”] 


M***e! It’s that word again! But fortunately, the British diplomatic service and media glossed over these linguistic indiscretions, so that the British public wouldn’t be aware of them .

For my part, I’ve got renewed respect for Mr Sarkozy. At least he realises that le perfide Albion is still a force – but perhaps not a military one – to be reckoned with!


5 October 2009

The mother of all conspiracy theories: Blair for president, Mandelson for PM and Britain for the Euro

If you’re one for conspiracy theories, here’s one to keep you awake at night.

It’s already practically certain that Tony Blair will be appointed as the EU’s first president as soon as all 27 EU states have ratified the Lisbon Treaty. After the ‘yes’ vote in the got-it-wrong-do-it-again Irish referendum on Friday, only the Czech Republic and Poland have yet to sign above the dotted line, and this is expected to happen before the British general election, scheduled for May or June 2010. President Sarkozy of France is reported to have given his blessing for Blair to be shoe-horned into the post; and Angela Merkel is thought to be resigned to the idea.

Thinking about why Sarkosy would endorse Tony as president, it occurred to me that the plan might be to replace the so-called special relationship between Britain and the US with a new special relationship between the EU (headed up by the darling of the US political class, Tony Blair) and the US. In other words, Blair would be the ideal candidate to give the new EU job real clout in the international community, positioning the EU to become a global player in its own right.

Then I came across an article in the Mail Online that suggests that President Obama and other world leaders are planning to set up a new club of the world’s leading economies called the G4, comprising the US, Japan, China and the Eurozone countries. This certainly fits in with the idea that other EU countries want the EU itself to be elevated into a major world power in its own right.

The final piece in the jigsaw was suggested to me by a report in the Mirror, which indicated that Jack Straw’s House of Lords-reform bill will indeed remove the existing ban on lords becoming MPs for five years after resigning as lords. It had previously been mooted that this bill would remove the last impediment to Peter Mandelson’s glorious return to the House of Commons, and here was the confirmation.

So here’s the scenario: Mandelson is found a nice safe Labour seat at the general election as the heir apparent to Brown in the likely event that Labour loses. Or else, more sinister still, an incumbent Labour MP for a safe seat falls on his or her sword before the election allowing Mandelson to become an MP and then mount a coup to oust Brown; so we’d have Labour being led into the election by Prime Minister Mandelson. This would coincide with Tony Blair’s elevation to the EU presidency. If, by that time, the plan to form the G4 is on the way to fruition, the Labour Party would have a much stronger argument at the election for saying that Britain needs to remain at the heart of the EU in order to continue to have a powerful voice in the key economic decisions. They’d be able to claim with some credibility that a Mandelson premiership would be best placed to achieve such results given his long friendship with Blair, and his EU contacts and experience as the EU’s Trade Commissioner. They would certainly argue that a Euro-sceptic Tory government intent on renegotiating the terms of the Lisbon Treaty would marginalise Britain still more at the EU and global top tables. Indeed, Mandelson would be able to push for Britain’s entry into the euro, making it part of the Eurozone group of economies represented in the G4. Certainly, if the value of the pound continues to fall, thanks to Gordon Brown’s borrowing on our behalf, and drops below the euro, the economic arguments in favour of Britain joining the euro could become compelling.

And what of Gordon Brown himself? Perhaps he could then become the Eurozone’s special representative in G4 negotiations and day-to-day co-ordination of economic affairs: a reward for having damaged the British economy so much that it had to join the euro.

Even if Mandelson doesn’t succeed in ousting Brown before the election, as leader of the opposition, he could greatly reduce Prime Minister Cameron’s room for manoeuvre in his dealings with the EU, especially with his mate Tony in the hot seat there. And if Brown is given an influential role in the G4 or G20, it could make it very difficult to hold a referendum on Britain’s ratification of the Lisbon Treaty. Apart from anything else, it could be argued that we need big hitters like Blair and Brown batting for Britain at the heart of the EU and the G4 grouping; and if Britain withdrew from Lisbon, or even from the EU, then not only would Blair have to resign as EU president, but Britain would have no influence whatsoever.

But what those idiots don’t realise is that were they to achieve, or even just attempt to achieve, these objectives through such machinations, this would only demonstrate still more the importance of Britain, or at least England, pulling away from the EU, as this is the only way to preserve our sovereignty and freedom from an unaccountable EU and corrupt, power-hungry politicians such as Mandelson, Blair and Sarkozy.

The stakes could not be much higher. What prospect would there be of establishing self-government for England as a distinct nation if Britain itself loses control over the management of its economy and signs away its sovereignty through the Lisbon Treaty / EU Constitution, which contains an in-built mechanism for transferring ever greater powers to the EU Parliament and Council of Ministers?

All the more reason to vote for a party that will give us a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty at the very least, if not EU membership. But are the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats (who, as far as I can tell, still support a referendum on British membership of the EU) going to stand up and be counted?

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