Here we go again.
Following on from the Juncker dinner leak a week ago (and May’s subsequent accusation that the EU is trying to influence the UK’s General Election), today Brexit Minister David Davis has told The Telegraph that Jean Claude Juncker is trying to get him sacked. Politico has a good summary of Davis’s comments here.
All of this, seen from the EU side, is a load of codswallop.
Sorry Davis. Sorry May. Sorry the rest of the Conservative Party. The rest of the EU actually doesn’t really give much of a damn about your early election, and how big your respective egos are going to be because you crushed Jeremy Corbyn.
The rest of the EU knows that first past the post comes up with weird outcomes, and anyway all the rest of the people you will be negotiating with have won elections too. Plus even if Labour were to miraculously win, they have committed themselves to Brexit as well. I don’t agree with Charles Grant’s line either – a bigger majority for May does not make it easier for the UK to deal with her government. Is May committed to hard Brexit because of her party? Or because of her own right wing fantasies on immigration? We do not know for sure. So far it looks like dealing with May’s government is no simple task, whatever her majority.
As for Davis, really no-one cares much about you on the EU side either. Making the ridiculous claim that Juncker wants you removed might make you feel good, and make you think you have a position of strength. But then your ego has always known no bounds. But anyone who watched your appearance at the Select Committee in March might have the opposite impression – that far from being strong, you have actually still not mastered the detail of Brexit. If there is anything to the idea that Juncker wants rid of Davis it’s because Davis is too useless, not because he is too good or too strong.
The essential issue is this as I see it from the EU side: the EU wants the UK to take Brexit seriously. To engage with the detail. To not waste time calling early elections. To not send people into negotiations who are ill prepared or behave in a belligerent manner. The EU, with its professional, calm and firm lead negotiator Barnier expects similar from the UK side, and at the moment it is not getting it. The EU is screaming ‘for goodness sake get a grip!‘ while the UK PM and Ministers are still just believing their own spin. One can only hope that will change after 8th June.