Merkel has given us a potato – the consequences could be disastrous

Merkel has given us a potato – the consequences could be disastrous

by Jonathan Stanley
article from Friday 23, August, 2019

I'VE ENJOYED READING Emma's Mummy Diaries here on ThinkScotland.  It had me thinking about our man Boris agreeing with Chancellor Merkel's suggestion that the Irish Backstop is 'ours' to sort out – and that within 30 days we should have proposals in place to do so.

When my daughter was very young, she, like many, cried a LOT!  At times I could not hear myself think and I remember once while cooking dinner that nothing would console her. And then I saw the solution. Sitting in a basket above the radiator was a potato. A perfectly ordinary potato. My daughter, I'd rightly deduced, had never seen a potato before. 

With that I seized the tuber assertively and thrust it into her toddler grip which a happy expression of:

"Oh look! A potato!!"

Her eyes lit up. She was baffled, intrigued and more importantly, she was silent.

For two or three minutes she had gotten the attention and distraction required to finish cooking my meal. Not long after she dropped the potato, working out it is was quite useless to her, and started to cry again. No matter, the distraction worked.

This is what Angela Merkel has just done to the UK government. Never expecting to be graciously received, not imagining the EU would be open to finding a solution to the Irish Backstop (there are a few actually), the UK has departed Berlin for Paris, saying,

"Look everyone! We've got a potato! Huzzah!" 

Indeed we have. We have 30 days in which full responsibility for finding a backstop the EU insists on and we have hitherto insisted we do not need and all to ensure Parliament passes a version of the Withdrawal Agreement we have been told for weeks was dead in the water.

Brussels is off the hook, Dublin is off the hook – just as opposition to Varadkar's stance was growing.

Still, we have a potato.  It may last long enough through the recess that we see the reopening of Parliament with an air of optimism. Sadly I doubt it. No one wants the Withdrawal Agreement anymore. It's either too remainy or its suboptimal to remain, or it's what Theresa May was hawking. 

When the Government and Parliament collide once more in a melee of Brexcitement no one will really want a potato either.  It will be store away in a dark cupboard with othe other vegetation, hidden from view and we will back to the nonsense we saw in March where we will either buckle (likely) or we'll extend again under some new ruse (unlikely) or we will will have a jolly good general election (very likely).

By taking all the initiative onto ourselves we alone are left high and dry when the alternatives are shredded one by one by the EU. It's as if we have learned nothing from surrendering the sequencing of talks right at the beginning.

Brussels has given us nothing more than we or they deserve. They have given us a potato and that buys us all a bit of peace from the inevitable.  

Which is what we all want right now but will do us no good in the end.

Potato image by Gundula Vogel from Pixabay 

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