Last night, our time, Angela Merkel told her parliament that there would be no talking with Britain – perhaps I should say England – until they had given notice they were leaving, and that they would not be able to have access to the single market without subscribing to the rules, including those on immigration. It was, as we have come to expect, a calm, measured speech from the German Chancellor. It was frequently interrupted by applause, especially when she said that the Brits could not have their cake and eat it. After the dinner, later, David Cameron accepted that obvious truth, but he said that what to do about it was a matter for his successor.
Many have the distinct impression that Boris had been saying the opposite – that if Britain left the E U, it could enjoy the benefits of the single market and retain control – sovereignty! – over immigration.
Nigel Farage addressed the European parliament. Why was he even there? So he could leer, jeer, and sneer, like the pig that he is, for the benefit of his uncomely followers. How he thought that his inane vulgarity might be good for Britain is beyond us. He was followed immediately by a populist of the same stamp – Marine Le Pen. Has England ever stood lower in Europe?
Have English politicians ever stood lower in England? Boris doesn’t have a plan – but he got where he is by a lie. Corbyn is as selfish and unprincipled as he is inept, and he now looks intent on breaking up the party that he failed. Farage is unspeakable. The Liberal Democrats might make a comeback. The one English leader who has behaved decently is standing down. The English are facing a choice between the vision, such as it is, of Boris, that involves an untruth, and that of Farage, that was directed straight at our lesser angels.
The one bright spot was a very engaging younger Tory minister named Jeremy Hunt who said that he was thinking of standing for the leadership on the footing that no final decision would be made without an election or referendum. Boris has let it be known that he is against that idea. Well, if the choice that England ultimately faces is one between the best terms of trade, or control of immigration, the end result either way may be one that a substantial majority of the nation opposes. Even by the standards of Boris, you would need a curious idea of democracy of the people or sovereignty of the nation to countenance that result – arrived at by the choice of a government led by one out of the two put forward by one party. And if that one person is Boris, we can all have a good belly laugh at the needs and aspirations of the common people of England being better served by one product of Eton and Oxford than another.
This will be the final note on this for now, but I may add that the English felt more pain and outrage elsewhere. They were thrashed by Iceland in soccer. Why? Because they have let in too many migrants into their Premier League. You don’t see too many native English playing in that League – you see even fewer native managers. The English coach who resigned gets paid millions. The Icelandic coach is a part-time dentist. Well, well, well – some migrants get on better than others.