You want to leave the Union? Fine, but it’s going to cost you €100 billion.
The British Government – egged on manfully by Mrs May who does so like to appear manly – comes back with a sturdy response:
There’s no way we’re going to pay you anything like that much, Johnny Foreigner! Stick your stinking sauerkraut where the sun don’t shine and peddle off.
All very amusingly old-style British so far, but now things have taken a turn which might be interpreted as sinister. Having already told us that she can be ‘bloody awkward’ when she wants to be (note the transparent attempt to garner populist approbation with a mild expletive), Mrs May’s latest attempt to sell herself to her adoring public came with today’s Big Statement which was:
EU bureaucrats are trying to influence the UK General Election!
Are they? Not being privy to the inner workings of the EU mind or that of the British Government, I wouldn’t know. But it doesn’t seem very likely to me, and I do harbour a strong suspicion.
Could it be that Mrs May is trying to swing the Leavers among the floating portion of the electorate so as to get them to rally around her against those bastards across the Channel? After all, Henry V did it (or at least, Shakespeare’s version did), so why shouldn’t she?
Well, let’s attempt a degree of equanimity here since it isn’t exactly the Battle of Agincourt we’re talking about. If I’m right and that is Mrs May’s Machiavellian ploy, it means that it isn’t the EU bureaucrats who are trying to influence the election, but Mrs May who is trying to influence it by manipulating populist xenophobia. And that strikes me as being tawdry at best, if not downright dishonest. (And she probably also hopes to turn some of the UKIP voters in her direction because xenophobia is the only reason for UKIP to exist.)
Ah, but there’s a corollary to be taken into consideration. Wouldn’t it also mean that the Remainers among the floating voters would go the other way – turn their backs on Mrs M and place their crosses next to Labour, the Lib Dems, or the Greens? Would she take that risk?
Probably. Rats do, you know. Rats are one of the great risk-takers of the animal kingdom. It’s how they survive and prosper in a hostile world.