The general news media has been making its way through the alphabet to make it easy to cover the topics that can most scare the willies out of people.
We started with Apocalypse (in the shape of a Jeremy Corbyn Government and/or a Donald Trump re-election), soon made our way to Brexit and got all the way to Covid, before being diverted back to Brexit over the past couple of days. If that doesn't work we have Afghanistan waiting in the wings, to bring us back to 'a'.
There is a definite Brexit undertone in the news this morning (Friday 17 September). The announcement this week of the formation of AUKUS, a strategic military partnership between the US, Britain and Australia has put out les nez of the French who were looking to land a deal to design and sell electric/diesel submarines for the Aussies and demonstrated the UK's new independence. The non-European triumvirate also evidences the prospects of a new found British military future following our exit from the European Union.
However, Mark Rutte, the Dutch Prime Minister (like you need telling ...) has also chosen this week to offer our Boris a pact with the European Union on defence and security co-operation.Geopolitics is on the lunchtime menu when Mark and Boris meet at Downing Street this morning and this new bonhomie matches up with the freshly brushed down conciliatory tone the EU have started to take over Northern Ireland customs controls, in their hastiness to avoid a confrontation.
The French do not agree to such a pact, but the French rarely agree to anything. A source working with Mark Rutte, putting down his Cornish pasty for a moment, said: “We can be a bridge but we have to see if the British leader is interested, first and foremost if there is fertile soil for the offer”. This may be a bridge too far, but it is interesting to see that Boris' fertility is being investigated; something we Brits and a whole gaggle of women know is certainly not a matter of contention.
Doing a deal with the UK is integral to European plans to develop a rapid reaction force to intervene independently of the US to ensure aid is delivered and evacuations carried out in a crisis. It may be interesting to see if crow is on the menu today, alongside the pasty.
In another snub to our former EU friends the Conservatives have announced plans to once again permit market stalls, shops and supermarkets to sell their goods using only Britain’s traditional weighing system; good old fashioned pounds and ounces; or 'wot?' as you youngsters know them. Is this the 'Great Bristish future' we were promised once we unshackled ourselves from the Maltese and the Polish? Pubs will also be allowed to sell pints in glasses printed with the crown stamp that was prohibited by EU directives. This is going to make our 568.261 millilitres taste good this evening.
It is also a vindication for Stephen Thoburn, the 'metric martyr', who was convicted of two offences under the Weights and Measures Act 1985, having been caught by trading standards officers who went undercover to buy 34p worth of bananas - weighed with imperial measures - and he was arrested. He was initially convicted and given a six month (0.5 of a year in metric) discharge. He died in 2004 of a heart attack, poor sod.
Meanwhile the Government is showing the EU its post-Brexit negotiating strength, Ministers aiming to secure a multibillion-pound investment from Saudi Arabia to fund renewable energy and infrastructure projects in the UK after yesterday’s announcement of a £10 billion deal with the United Arab Emirates.
Is there a French phrase for 'Na na na, na na na'?