Patrick Christys: If France really is an ally, with friends like those, who needs enemies over fishing

Patrick Christys
Patrick Christys

'These garlic wearing, chateau dwelling, cheese eating surrender merchants are really trying it on.'

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WAR WITH FRANCE! Ok, ok, maybe not war, but tensions are certainly hotting up. Now it would be very easy for me to sit here and wheel out a load of lazy French stereotypes, like the fact their flag might as well not have red and blue in it, or that most of their navy is currently on the bottom of the Mediterranean, or that their tanks only have one gear and that gear is reverse. But I would never do such a thing, because I’m better than that. I’m a bigger man. And there’s no need to stoop to that level.

Anyway, these garlic wearing, chateau dwelling, cheese eating surrender merchants are really trying it on.

They’ve detained a British fishing boat for, allegedly, fishing illegally in French waters. Now of course, if it was fishing illegally then fair play, because those are the rules. But it comes amid a backdrop of escalating tensions between our two nations.

France is threatening to cause massive trade disruption if we don’t give more of their boats licenses to fish in our waters.

But the reason we’re not is because of the Brexit deal, which was agreed to by the EU. A Brexit deal drawn up and pontificated over by a chap called Michele Barnier…who is French.

So it’s their fault. Regardless, the French are also threatening to cut the power off to Jersey and blockade that port. May I politely suggest to President Macron that if he really wants to take action against the people responsible for his fishermen being unhappy, then maybe he should blockade his own ports and turn his own power off.

Look, it’s not hard to figure out what’s really happening here – Emmanuel Macron has an election coming up and what better way to rabble rouse than attempt to stick it to the English.

I mean, Macron knows better than anyone that a little bit of threatened conflict works very well at an election. When French boats attempted to blockade Jersey, Boris Johnson sent in a couple of warships. That was on the eve of the local elections and look what happened – the Tories made gains or, to put it another way, Labour basically went backwards everywhere apart from Wales.

So, really, Emmanuel Macron allowed a situation to occur that helped make Boris Johnson a more powerful Prime Minister. I’m not sure he’s a master strategist.

Look, I think we need to face facts – the French are not our friends. They’re like the kid at school who’d invite you to a party just so he can snog your missus in front of you.

In recent months France has stolen PPE destined for the UK, that PPE was obviously supposed to be used in care homes, the NHS, schools. The French stole 5 million vaccines destined for Britain – both of those actions will have cost British lives.

France’s behaviour is not normal, there clearly isn’t a word for either diplomacy or decency in the French dictionary. Ultimately, Macron’s actions would be self-defeating – more French boats fish in UK waters than the other way round and I doubt he really wants to put us in a situation where we ban them from doing so.

Look, if France really is an ally, then, well, with friends like those, who needs enemies.