UNDERMINING DEMOCRACY

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It is reported that Donald Tusk, President of the European Council, possibly in connection with Donald Trump’s call for Russia to be readmitted to the G7 group of industrialised nations, has said that Donald Trump is ‘playing into the hands’ of those who want to undermine democracy.

Now Donald Tusk’s a kindly sort,
But when his namesake said they ought,
To admit Russia once again,
He said that he should use his brain,
And make Putin now bide his time,
Because he tries to undermine,
Democracy here in the West,
And can, therefore, be quite a pest.

All the above is likely true,
But one thing should be plain to you,
Which is that he and the EU,
Are undermining it all too.

For in Brexit the EU still,
Determined to defeat the will,
Of British people to secede,
Refuses to their voices heed.

It’s done this several times before,
Insisting voters vote some more,
Until people – that’s me and you –
Vote as we’re told by the EU.

It’s not just Brexit, though, because,
When Italy in turmoil was,
The EU told them that they can,
Not have a eurosceptic man,
Or woman as their next PM,
So they would have to choose again.

And then, of course, remember Greece?
The EU was intent to fleece,
The country for all that it had,
Which really was so very bad,
When Greeks had voted to be free,
In the home of democracy.

While former votes, French, Irish, Dutch,
Did not, in fact, amount to much,
As all were told to go away,
And vote again another day.

But the EU should just beware:
It hasn’t been elected there,
And dictatorial regimes,
Oppressing people, so it seems,
And stopping those that want to leave,
Should know such people are aggrieved.

And history tells regimes like this,
All, in due time, find they’re dismissed,
Except ones which their people shoot,
To make sure more don’t follow suit.

I’m not suggesting that they would,
Shoot citizens and spill their blood,
So history teaches that, perhaps,
The EU will, one day, collapse.

On that day many will rejoice,
Regain their democratic voice,
But what the future might then be,
We will just have to wait and see

BULLIES!

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It is reported that the Belgian Prime Minister has accused the United States of ‘putting a gun to the EU’s head’ during trade negotiations; something the EU would never do. Ask Theresa May.

You know that Donald Trump is for,
A world-wide, global all out war,
I don’t mean one that’s weapons grade,
But rather one affecting trade.

He threatens he will punish those,
He doesn’t like and will impose,
More tariffs on all sorts of things,
From steel and cars to earrings.

The EU says, “That’s so unfair!
To tax goods that are going spare.
And this is threatening, what you’ve said,
It’s like a gun against our head.

Now we would not behave like this,
Just ask the English, ask the Swiss;
We’re in discussion everywhere,
And all the time are more than fair.”

The English and the Swiss then sighed,
“It sounds like the EU has lied;
They set up meetings tête à tête,
But really don’t negotiate,
And if you don’t do as they say,
They give you a big bill to pay.

For they are bullies, simply put,
They walk around the room and strut;
They simply blurt out their demands,
And also lots of reprimands.

They are frustrating, that’s for sure,
Drive you to products of the brewer,
But one day they’ll run out of luck,
And that’s when they will come unstuck!

They rule, more or less, by decree,
Which doesn’t work when folk are free;
They don’t allow too much debate,
So one day will disintegrate.

For people won’t be pushed around,
Will vote with feet is what we’ve found;
For some it is the final straw,
And what we’re doing Brexit for.

CHEAP BUT NOT CHEERFUL

Passport

It is reported that the new, dark blue, post-Brexit British passports are to be made by a French company because they are the cheapest, instead of by the usual British supplier with a French-sounding name, De La Rue.

Our passports, which are red, not blue,
Right now are made by De La Rue,
Which, notwithstanding its French name,
Is based in Britain all the same.

They print them up in Tyneside where,
There are some workers going spare,
And if this contract should be lost,
There’ll likely be a human cost.

But, more than that, most people think,
The Government has has caused a stink,
Because, it seems, there is a chance,
The passports will be made in France.

The Government says that’s OK,
And it reminds us, by the way,
That EU rules do still exist,
And government contracts like this,
Should be procured by open bid,
So that’s exactly what it did.

But others say they are just fools,
By sticking to procurement rules,
While talks on Brexit rumble on,
And very soon we will be gone.

“The others,” you may say, “don’t stick,
To rules like this, they choose and pick;
French passports are all made in France,
So British printers have no chance.”

There are examples far and wide,
Three just below and more beside,
Where countries wanting to seem cool,
Just go ahead and break the rule.

French governments serve just French wine,
I think they do this all the time,
And now I’m authorised to tell,
They only serve French cheese as well.

Not only France behaves this way,
The Germans do it every day,
For, always, Mrs Merkel’s car,
Is sporting that three-pointed star.

Is this a teacup round a storm?
And what should really be the norm?
Perhaps the EU thinks we’re fools,
Because we never bend the rules,
And this case we’re discussing here,
Perhaps is not completely clear,
Because the contract could go to,
French-sounding firm called De La Rue.

Image – Chris Fleming

BREXIT THREATS

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It is reported that Michel Barnier, the EU’s chief negotiator, has angered some of the other twenty-seven EU members by aggressively insisting on impossible conditions for the UK’s exit and threatening to deal out punishments by blocking goods and grounding flights if Britain fails to do as he demands.

The Brexit talks are now in stall,
And I, for one, cannot recall,
If any progress has been made,
Relating to the terms of trade.

There’s been some talk of transition,
Attempts at its definition,
But Barnier, chief ‘them or us’,
Has now been quite discourteous.

We must accept his terms, he say,
With which you likely are au fait,
And if we don’t he will block trade,
So that his rules we can’t evade.

So no more cars or cheese or wine,
Vacations where the sun doth shine;
And if to Europe you are bound,
Your aircraft will stay on the ground.

This is severe, it’s nonsense too,
’Cos members of the new EU,
Though they think leaving may be rash,
Above all they still want our cash.

So member states now show their hand,
For this they won’t much longer stand,
And they’ll tell Barnier his aims,
Must be more realistic claims.

For what’s been offered is inept,
No country would such things accept,
And this is, so it seems, the view,
Of other states in the EU.

So Barnier’s been ill-advised,
To issue threats of such a size,
And maybe now some other states,
Will say he should not so dictate,
But make some offers that just might,
Survive to see, of day, the light.

If he does not then panic may,
Break out if Britain walks away,
Because the EU knows it must,
Agree trade terms at any cost.

It’s unbelievable that they,
Should think that they could get away,
With such behaviour as they’ve shown,
And they should all have better known.

Within a year we should all know,
If this is right or wrong and so,
With fingers crossed let’s bide our time,
Till the next update, here, in rhyme.

Image – www.securityconference.de Kai Mork / Wikimedia commons

HANDS ON AGAIN?

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It is reported that after a large group of City financiers and other businessmen were criticised for their behaviour at a men only charity fundraising event, the French are still trying to entice bankers away from London to Paris with special enticements including tax cuts and free language schooling. What else could they possibly offer?

“So, Mes Amis, come here to France,
To where young ladies like to dance,
And in their frilly dresses they,
Are sure to brighten up your day.

Financial work is quite intense,
And so it makes a lot of sense,
That after an exhausting day,
You need time to relax and play.

But now we hear in London Town,
That you have had a dressing down,
For doing – now, how can I say? –
What people here do every day.

We’re sure that you will be aware,
Our shows include Folies Bergère,
In which our girls perform on stage,
With dancing from another age.

And you will find if you go there,
We’ve hostesses with some to spare;
As well as pretty they’re well-read,
And none of them is an airhead.”

But France’s efforts have upset,
Their neighbours, some who want to get,
A slice of this financial pie,
And think that Macron’s being sly.

The Dutch might be first to complain,
“That Macron, there, is such a pain;
The bankers should come over here,
Where they will find we have great beer.

They also can get on a high,
Because in some shops they can buy,
Not only wooden clogs and cheese,
But powders that their stress will ease.

And as for girls, ours are the best,
They come out well in any test,
And you can get there on the tram,
For mostly they’re in Amsterdam.”

The Germans then, as ever bold,
Said, “People will do as they’re told;
For girls we send you Hamburg way,
Where mostly in the docks they stay.

Down there it can be pretty rough,
The numbers are more than enough,
But if we say you would relax,
It might not fit established facts.”

That leaves the Poles who think they’ll be,
A head start on the other three,
Because there and on the payroll,
Are lots of girls who dance the pole!

So, bankers, if you plan to go,
Across the channel working so,
That your behaviour will not be,
Still scrutinised for all to see,
The situation, told in verse,
Instead of better, could be worse.

BORIS’S BRIDGE AGAIN

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It is reported that Boris Johnson is still keen on a bridge across the English Channel.

We called the last ‘A Bridge Too Far’,
Conceived most likely in the bar,
While having dinner with the French –
Hence the persistent garlic stench.

But one thing Boris failed to say,
Was who he thinks for it will pay,
The billions the bridge will need,
Once other details are agreed.

He seems to think the French will pay,
With Brexit then out of the way,
But they’re masters, for good or ill,
At giving someone else the bill.

They’ll say nice things, will scrape and bow,
But these are just techniques for how,
They duck and weave most every day,
Till, in the end, they get their way.

They did it with the CAP*,
The Brexit bill as we now see,
And even the Calais Police,
Will do things to the British fleece.

So where does this leave Boris’ bridge?
Perhaps to fortune a hostage?
We probably don’t need to say,
Because no-one will ever pay.

* Common Agricultural Policy

A BRIDGE TOO FAR

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It is reported that Boris Johnson, the Foreign Secretary, has proposed that a bridge should be built across the English Channel.

It is, by now, some little while,
Since we’ve heard the distinctive style,
Of Foreign Sec, that’s Boris J –
Perhaps he’s simply been away.

But this week while the French were here,
And possibly the worse for beer,
He chose the time to say they should,
Do something really rather good,
And build a bridge from France to Kent –
At least that’s what I think he meant.

“It will be easy, not too long,
And can be built for just a song;
It will be like, I can tell you,
The tunnel with a better view.

And when the bridge is all complete,
With arches very tall and neat,
We’ll need someone to cut the tape,
Then drive across without a scrape.

I would be perfect for that job,
’Cos with my blond hair in a bob,
Although the wind might blow like hell,
No-one who sees would ever tell!”

Image – Chatham House / Flickr