Following our in-depth analysis of the negotiations: Brexit: Taking Stock, in last week’s blog: we thought we might offer a humorous take on the what many see as the at times almost farcical nature of much of the UK government’s approach to Brexit.
This post is written in that light-hearted spirit. We will return to our more usual considered critical analysis of the process and the negotiations from next week. Enjoy and feel free to share
THE BREXIT TAPES (?)
The scene: A British Brexit cabinet subcommittee
The cast of characters:
- Davis: Davis (David “Danger” Davis, head of the Brexit Expeditionary Force, tasked with extracting the UK from the EU)
- BoJo: Boris “BoJo” Johnson, Secretary of State for upsetting foreigners
- The Govey: The Environment Secretary and one time “man who would be king” and then the man would be a political assassin.
- Fox: Dr Liam Fox, Minister responsible for trying to make trade deals with former colonies and places as far away as possible. The fourth member of a gang of three.
- Hammond: “Big Phil” Hammond, the moneyman and middle man. Sits on the fence with both ears to the ground.
- The Maybot: The hapless Prime Minister. Is in the chair for the meeting, but not in control. This is effectively a non-speaking role. The others only let stay in place because they cannot agree among themselves who should replace her. She can ask questions. Just about.
[We enter the meeting as Danger Davis, the Brexit Secretary, is about to speak…]
This week we flushed out a series of memos from Brussels High Command (BHC) to businesses here in the UK.
Ah, bravo old chap… a daring “Mission Impossible” raid on Barnier’s office in the Berlaymont?
No, it was even more daring… we read them on the Internet. We’ve cracked the code and now know how to get the computers to work and google the internet.
You wouldn’t believe what you can find… but I didn’t download any of “that” stuff.
BHC is telling UK businesses to get ready for a “No Deal” Brexit in March 2019. After that date their licences to operate in the EU will no longer be valid, personal data cannot be transferred from the EU to the UK, as we will be a “third country”.
Truck drivers won’t be able to cross the Channel. Not sure if 007 would still have a licence to kill, they didn’t mention that.
The Govey: [Pauses his game of Assassins Creed on the iPad]
A good thing surely. A clean break from the evil empire.
Nice to know that they are getting our “No Deal is Better than a Bad Deal” position.
No, no, no. We are the ones who have to threaten “no deal”.
How dare the EU prepare for “no deal”. They are undermining our “no deal” position by preparing for “no deal”.
If they are prepared for “no deal” how can we threaten them with “no deal”. Their “no deal” is a “no deal” for our “no deal”. Their “no deal” is a no deal breaker.
I’ve always said you can never thrust these Johnny Foreigners. Well… you can trust the Johnny Foreigners who are not European Johnny Foreigners.
I’m talking to lots of non-European Johnny Foreigners at the moment about lucrative trade deals
Well done. Just how many have you lined up for when we leave the EU? 50 plus, I hear?
Eh, hard to say. I’ll just be signing the trade deals the EU already has on behalf of the UK, as a newly sovereign, proud nation. But only if the other countries agree and don’t ask us for new terms.
If they ask for new terms, like more work visas, then we are screwed. But I hear we are running out of vindaloo chefs…
So, just how many absolutely new deals, ones that the EU does not have, do we have ready to go?
Ehh… emm… that’s even harder to say. I’m talking to anyone who will meet with me. But it seems they want to know what sort of deal we will have with the EU before they will talk with us. So, none, to be precise.
But, on the positive side I have earned enough air miles for me and a pal to travel non-stop for the next 12 months.
Could we get back to the BHC memos? I’ve written a stiff letter to the prime minister saying that this just will not do.
To the PM? What good will that do? Why not to Barnier?
Well, Theresa can feel very left out.
I do appreciate it, Danger…your letter came at the same time as the one Christmas card I got…
Don’t interrupt, please.
The problem, Phil, is if I write to Barnier he will just come back saying that the EU is preparing for what we said we want.
I hate when they do that. It’s typical Brussels dirty tricks: taking us at our word.
Thank god, Danger, you have been doing our “no deal” planning. We wouldn’t want the “enemy” to be the only one with plans, now would we.
[Laughs all around.]
Our “no deal” plans are locked tightly in the same safe as our impact studies. They are too dangerous to show to anyone. I’m denying they even exist.
It’s my Brexit Brexit Campaign… a BBC you can love.
So, none of them really exist?
They do, But I have never seen them or read them.
I keep them locked up in a safe. As an added security measure; I have no idea where that safe is located and I have eaten the combination without memorizing it.
No one, not even us, will ever get to see our secret Brexit plans.
Excellent, Danger, best none of us know what we are doing, that way no one can say we are not doing it right.
Big Phil, you made a high-risk raid into Europe this week?
Indeed, I dropped into Germany, deep behind enemy lines. I gave a speech to business leaders. I told them we wanted a trade deal with Europe covering goods and services, tariff free and as frictionless as possible.
No custom checks, no trucks backed up at Dover, no needless paperwork, no intrusive inspections. As if it were one seamless market.
I’m sure the German tulip growers would welcome that.
The Swedes are the tulip growers. They do prosecco in Germany. Or, is that Porsches? I don’t like the taste of either, much prefer marmite – a good British product with a good British name.
I once played Porsche in a school play.
I think you mean Portia. She’s in a Shakespeare play. Great British export, Shakespeare. Did he not offshore something to Malaysia?
No, that was Dyson who ended his manufacturing here in the UK, he’s no sucker. Everything now made in Malaysia. Great supporter of Brexit.
We need more manufacturers like him – Global Britain, manufacturing outside of Britain.
Big Phil, what did the Germans say?
They said we already had that deal as members of the single market and the customs union. Why would we want a lesser deal?
I asked them did they think I was stupid or what? They nodded in agreement. I said I knew that, but as members of the single market we had to let German and French people come and work in the UK.
We didn’t want that.
I told them we wanted them to take our goods and services but we didn’t want to take their people.
Well said Phil. That’s the Dunkirk spirit. They don’t like it up em. What did they say to that? By the way, do you think this Churchill hat suits me? I’m thinking of getting a bulldog to take on foreign trips with me.
One of them said something to me in French about “vouloir le beurre et l‘argent du beurre”. Something to do with the price of butter.
You speak French?
No, one of the Germans translated for me. You know, they speak a lot of languages over there.
They actually read our newspapers. They know what we are saying.
Don’t think the Mail and Telegraph know that. Funny the way these foreign people not only speak their own foreign language, they speak other people’s foreign languages too.
Using foreign words in your own language… it’s amazing the cul-de-sacs they go down. Pass me a pain au chocolat… Muchas gracias.
Sic transit gloria mundi
I didn’t know Gloria threw up on the bus… not our NHS one, I hope, the one with the £350m on the side. It was the bus what won it.
We mothballed that one Danger, hoping everyone forgets about it. But what about the price of butter? That could undermine my trade deal with New Zealand if word of that spreads.
My potential deal, I mean… it’s not lined up at the moment. Reminds me, must fly to New Zealand, haven’t been there for a couple of weeks. Doing all of the Lord of the Ring sites.
Told them the price of butter was a matter for them. After Brexit, The Govester would be puling us out of the CAP.
I’m The Govey, not the Govester. I’m not in a US sitcom. But I could be. I’ve had offers. I could have been a contender.
I also told them that if they didn’t give the City of London a deal there would be another financial crisis.
They said something about the last crisis starting in the US and the UK and that they would rather control their own finances in the future rather than leave them in a country outside the EU and the Eurozone.
I soon put an end to that. Told them that causing financial mayhem would remain an exclusive City of London thing.
We wanted a special deal for financial services, and for cars, chemicals, spare parts, football players and old age pensioners living in Spain. And any other sector or group they could think of.
The only sector we did not want a special deal for was the election blue rosette industry
[Knock at the door, Private Secretary enters]
Prime Minister, Nigel Farage has just announced that he supports having a second referendum.
BoJo, how quickly can you get that bus back on the road?