Monday 17th of May 2021

napoleon, allied with the kaiserette, is still fighting the brits...

britishingTalks between the UK and EU over a post-Brexit trade agreement are "over", Downing Street has said.

No 10 argued there was "no point" in discussions continuing next week unless the EU was prepared to discuss the detailed legal text of a partnership.

UK chief negotiator Lord Frost said he had told EU counterpart Michel Barnier there was now no "basis" for planned talks on Monday.

Number 10 said the two sides had agreed to talk again next week - by phone. 

Earlier, EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen tweeted that the Brussels negotiating team would go to London after the weekend to "intensify" discussions.

The prime minister had set this week's EU summit as the deadline for the two sides to agree a deal.

But there are still major disagreements over fishing rights and state help for businesses.

And the UK government hardened up its message to the EU over the course of Friday.



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they chose to leave... let them go...

Opinion: Sometimes you just have to let go

First, Boris Johnson issued the EU with an ultimatum. Then he threatened to pull out of trade negotiations. DW's Barbara Wesel believes EU leaders should keep their cool and avoid stooping to Johnson's level. 

The best way to react to Boris Johnson is to let him stew in his own juice. At the two-day EU summit that ended Friday, French President Emmanuel Macron demonstrated the most elegant way of dealing with Johnson's bluster, his ultimatums and his threats when he said that it was not the job of the 27 leaders remaining in the EU to make the UK prime minister happy.

Boris Johnson has been complaining that the EU has not compromised sufficiently during negotiations on a post-Brexit trade deal and is refusing to give the British what they want. As a result, he said the country would possibly have to prepare for a hard Brexit, a no-deal departure from the EU that would bring the transition period to an abrupt end at the end of the year.

Read more: Brexit too much to stomach for German sausage chain

Next act, same drama

Angela Merkel also gave her own cool, understated response to the most recent act of political theater being performed in London. She said the EU was ready to continue negotiations. The meeting in Brussels ended with the leaders giving the EU's chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, a mandate to get back to work.



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placing our pointing finger in our bumhole...


This story fits in this long-delayed edition of TWitG, because it’s a slow burner.

Back in September it was revealed that the UK’s proposed Brexit deal would breach the Good Friday Agreement, and thereby technically break international law. This proposal was met with fury by people who a)Didn’t know we break international law everyday or b) didn’t care.

Of all the hollow condemnations of Boris’s blow to Britains “international reputation”, The Guardian’s probably rang the most hollow (well, maybe second most…OK, fine, third most. Geez but there’s a lot of monstrous hypocrites out there.).

Jonathan Freedland, for whom hypocrisy is a natural habitat, ranted about the UK’s reputation at length. Talking about “international law” quite a bit, but somehow managing to not use the word “Iraq” even once.

More directly, a Britain that declares its willingness to break international treaties – including one it signed only a few months ago – announces itself as a rogue state, by definition. As the former Tory leader Michael Howard argued, such a country will never again be able to scold, say, Iran if it breaks its nuclear promises, or China when it reneges on its commitments to Hong Kong. We will have amputated the finger we like to wag in the face of others.


That he managed to squeeze out this turd of a sentence without being struck down by the gods of hubris is a very real argument in favour of atheism.

However, The Graun’s newfound love of international law was – as love affairs so often tend to be – shortlived and insincere.

Just two weeks later we were treated to a review of the kinds of missiles that the US military use to carry out “targeted assassinations” in Syria. Apparently they’ve got blades on the front which kill people nice and fast, which is just lovely.

The fact these military operations are entirely illegal under international law, and in fact constitute a war crime, somehow didn’t merit a mention. Much less three of four opinion pieces about what such extra-judicial murders do for America’s “international reputation”.

Most glaringly, on the very same day that good old Jonny Freedland was waxing lyrical about the UK’s international reputation, the Guardian also published a podcast interview with Alastair Campbell where he talks about battling his depression.

The good old Graun actually regularly publishes columns by Campbell, where he gets to talk about how sad he’s feelingrant about Jeremy Corbyn and just generally go about his day without being indicted for war crimes. Which is a pretty good result for a man complicit in the murder of 100,000s of innocent people.

This week the UK Parliament passed the second reading of a bill permitting agents of the British government to break any law they deemed necessary in pursuit of “intelligence”. Two weeks prior they passed the Overseas Operations bill, which essentially legalised torture

Despite these bills being condemned by Amnesty International, none of the Graun’s editorial staff were moved to make remarks on the topic, and there was certainly no further eulogizing of Britain’s “international reputation”.



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Read from top.

the rot from the inside: brexit...

un-diplomatic brexit...

The UK has risked starting a row with the European Union, after refusing to grant full diplomatic status to João Vale de Almeida, the EU’s representative to the UK, as is traditionally granted to ambassadors.

The UK Foreign Office has refused to grant the status to the EU ambassador, which would extend to him privileges and immunities under the Vienna Convention, as it is hesitant to set a precedent of treating an international body like a nation state.


The decision could be seen as a post-Brexit snub, as it marks a stark contrast between the UK and the other 142 countries that have diplomatic relations with the bloc, where the EU has a representative that is treated in the same manner as other ambassadors.


While the EU has not publicly criticized the UK over the situation, its High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Josep Borrell, has written to British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab to express his “serious concerns”. 


The arrangements offered do not reflect the specific character of the EU, nor do they respond to the future relationship between the EU and the UK as an important third country.


If it is not resolved beforehand, the impasse between the EU and the UK is set to be raised at a meeting of the bloc’s foreign ministers on Monday, in the first such gathering of the political group since the Brexit transition period ended. 


The EU is concerned that, if the UK does not change its approach, countries that have a contentious relationship with the bloc could follow suit and change the way in which EU ambassadors are treated.


A spokesperson for the Foreign Office indicated that the current situation is subject to change, as discussions on the full future relationship between the UK and EU are still ongoing.


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