Thank God for the May sunshine to counterbalance the depressing news on the Brexit front which appears to be getting more toxic on a daily basis. It is useless trying to turn back the clock, but one is reminded how ineffectual David Cameron was in his negotiations with the E.U. and how lacking in vision Brussels was in recognising the deep flaws in the European architecture. I fear now that a zeal to punish the U.K., prevalent in some quarters, will be accompanied by an inappropriate zeal towards federalism. Tomorrow France will probably elect Emmanuel Macron. He is an ardent supporter of tax harmonisation, expressing his views so strongly on Thursday that it required the Taoiseach to issue a vigorous defence of our 12 ½% rate on his visit to Canada. With the U.K. gone we are losing a powerful ally within the European family and this leaves me with a sinking feeling.
Now I know Theresa May is in the middle of a general election campaign and the numbers game is almost certainly driving her to take a very aggressive stance in the negotiations. If she can lure UKIP voters into the Tory camp it will help her garner votes in critical constituencies and gain seats in Labour’s heartland. Unfortunately this approach sets the tone and she will find it difficult to row back from her initial position. However, much fault lies with the President of the Commission, Jean Claude Juncker. His behaviour towards the British Prime Minister was both provocative and in my view underhand. How this clown ever got to be head of the Commission in my view encapsulates much that is wrong in Europe – a detached federalist elite who look on with contempt at the anxieties of vast swathes of the European population, who are turning to populism as their salvation. Every day we need to remember that these people are supposed to be representing our interests. Every day we need to remember the significance of our deep and intricate relationship with the U.K. Our government needs to be at the very top of their game. The stakes are so high.
Defending our corporation tax wasn’t the only thing that got the Taoiseach tetchy in Canada. Endless Enda got asked again when he was going to step down. He didn’t like the question and he didn’t answer it. Big surprise. At home, Leo Varadkar is getting over-excited. He rushed off to Paris to meet Macron. Sort of future meets the future vibe. He’s demanding a TV debate with Coveney. Not going down well with some blue shirts I’ve been talking to who feel Coveney’s catching up.