Dear Aunt Agatha,
I ask your help from one good European to another. I started my public life as a Gaullist, named after the man who originally refused to let Britain join the Common Market. But they finally got in, and now I’m trying to stop them leaving. I’ve held so many jobs in the French government that I find it hard to remember them all. My critics say that this is because my performance was unmemorable. I remember being French Foreign Minister for a year, but I don’t recall anything worthwhile that happened.
It’s as a European Commissioner that I made my mark, first in Regional Policy, then for the Internal Market and Services, both of which I’m now trying to keep the UK out of. My masterpiece was in 2005, when the French and the Dutch voted against the proposed European Constitution in referenda. I personally rewrote it as the Treaty of Lisbon, and the mugs who had voted down the Constitution let it through, not realizing it was the same. Democracy? Pah!
Look, the Legion d’Honneur simply isn’t good enough for a man of my standing and abilities. I want to run for President of the European Commission when the current boss steps down next year. But to do that I’ll need to achieve a success in my negotiations with the UK, and I’ve spent a year and a half refusing to let that happen. How can I get the deal that I need to secure my elevation without losing face?
(signed) “Barmier than most”
Dear “Barmier than most,”
I sympathize. It must be dreadful for a eurocrat of your breeding and position to have to deal with ordinary people like the British. However, their great weakness is that they are, at heart, a nation of shopkeepers. It’s trade they want, so sign a deal that gives them it, and present it to your European masters as a triumph, in which the Brits have been tricked into doing the sordid stuff like buying and selling goods, leaving the far classier Europeans to loftily pursue “the European Project,” making pious homilies about “moving towards an ever-greater union of peoples.” The Brits will fall for it because they are just money-grubbers who have no soul, whereas the Europeans, especially the French, who always found the Brits rather strange, will enjoy feeling superior.
Follow Aunt Agatha on Twitter..
— Aunt Agatha (@Ask_Agatha) September 26, 2018