There are increasingly two camps when it comes to journalists who write opinion pieces in print media. There are those who pass opinion off as opinion, and there are those who pass opinion off as fact or intent. In other words, the second camp takes an issue IT WOULD LIKE TO SEE HAPPEN, and then passes it off as irrefutable fact.
Peter Foster is very much in the second group. A journalist whose views on the EU are almost as sycophantic as those of Mola Ram were towards the god Kali in ‘Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom’, Foster was often at the forefront of efforts to act as the EU’s mouthpiece during last year’s Parliamentary coups against the referendum decision. He regarded, and continues to regard, the UK as a supplicant component in this jigsaw.
Now he’s suggesting ‘government sources’ are preparing to have the Brexit transition period extended due to the Coronavirus. Who these ‘government sources’ actually are is never revealed. Furthermore, in a response to ardent Europhile and Exeter MP Ben Bradshaw the other day, the Foreign Secretary was clear in that the Coronavirus pandemic made the conclusion of trade talks expeditious, not protracted. So where is Foster’s evidence that the government is preparing a volte-face on this matter, other than what he secretly would like to see occurring?
A clear mistake people are making here with COVID-19 is that they believe all aspects of government across Europe will be concentrating on nothing other than tacking this pernicious virus. Rubbish! Daily decisions on a whole host of matters will still be the stock-in-trade for sovereign governments across the Continent. Where cooperation between international groups is required, there is a little thing called video conferencing. There is no reason to believe these trade negotiations cannot take place using the same technology and following the same formats as every other inter-governmental engagement taking place while Coronavirus remains potent.
If this disease has exposed anything, it’s how fragile the sacred tenets of EU philosophy are when faced with an existential crisis. Open borders? Going! Fiscal rules? Going. No government intervention in the economy? Gone! Jean Monnet, one of the founders of the European project, once said: “Europe will be forged in crises, and will be the sum of the solutions adopted for those crises”. The events of the past week show how laughingly contemptible this delusion is. We have no need to be attached to this mess any longer than is absolutely necessary.