Patrick Christys: France can’t handle the fact that Britain is now a sovereign, independent nation

Patrick Christys
Patrick Christys

Our Government is set to reject three quarters of applications from small French boats

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It’s kicking off with France. They just can’t handle the fact that Britain is now a sovereign, independent nation with autonomy over its own fishing waters, the same fishing waters that have been mercilessly plundered by foreign boats for decades, at the expense of our own fishing industry and countless seaside towns.

Our Government is set to reject three quarters of applications from small French boats to fish in the waters around Britain.

Good. They’ve been on the take for far too long and a key pillar of Brexit was bolstering our own fishing industry and, by extension, our economy.

Ministers announced that just 12 licences out of a total of 47 will be granted to French vessels under 12 metres applying to fish the UK's inshore waters.

Jersey is expected to confirm that it is granting fewer licences than the 169 requested by France only months after a French flotilla surrounded St Helier

So obviously the French responded to this in a completely normal way – cool, calm and collected. Diplomatic. Reasonable. Mature.

Olivier Le Nezet, the president of the Brittany fishermen's committee said ‘this is a declaration of war on water and on the land.’

Oh, you’re hard. Forgive me for not taking the French threat of war particularly seriously. Not only is their navy apparently incapable of stopping some makeshift dinghies from crossing the Channel, the charred remains of their fleet still line the bottom of the Mediterranean after we sunk them all to stop them falling into the hands of the Nazis after the French surrendered.

Mr Le Nezet continued – “There will be actions that will go beyond what you can imagine, and I'm not just talking about cutting off electricity to Jersey," he said. "We will lead this battle against the UK."

We’re being told that the fishing issue poses a massive risk to diplomatic relations with the French. I would argue – What diplomatic relations?

This issue reared its head a few months ago and the very first response from the French was to threaten to cut the power off to Jersey and then blockade the port. That’s not very diplomatic.

We’ve entered into a borderline fraudulent business agreement with them that sees us give them tens of millions of pounds a year to not stop migrants crossing the Channel. Diplomacy has failed there.

When the Coronavirus first kicked off, Macron attempted to block PPE from leaving Calais and entering the UK. He also threatened to essentially steal our vaccines. In all seriousness, both of those things could, and possibly did, cost British lives. Again, not very diplomatic.

The French government haven’t acted like our allies for a long time, even harking back a few years when Macron visited Theresa May in Downing Street, then stood on the steps outside and openly called for all French nationals to come back to the motherland. Bold as brass.

And Michel Barnier, a man who actively tried to get Britain the worst Brexit deal possible, is running against Emmanuel Macron for the French Presidency on what could be considered a slightly Eurosceptic ticket. So his pro-EU posturing was pretty disingenuous.

Look, it’s obviously in our interests to have good diplomatic relations with the French. But not at any cost. And if they’re going to behave like a scorned child then there’s not much we can do about that. It’s like trying to play chess against a pigeon – no matter what you do it’ll just knock all the pieces over, defecate on the board and strut around like it’s won.

Sovereignty over our own waters, boosting our own fishing industry and the wealth of our coastal communities is more important than keeping old Emmanuel Macron happy.

Boris needs to stand firm and show the French what independence and taking back control is really all about.