Back in 1963, The French President General De-Gaulle explained the reason why he opposed Britain to join the EEC with this staggering statement:
England in effect is insular, she is maritime, she is linked through her interactions, her markets and her supply lines to the most diverse and often the most distant countries; she pursues essentially industrial and commercial activities, and only slight agricultural ones. She has, in all her doings, very marked and very original habits and traditions.
More than 50 years later, the French attitude towards Britain hasn’t changed as the French still believe that Britain shouldn’t be part of the EU.
The Former Home Office minister Jeremy Browne, who now is involved in the Brexit negotiations on behalf of the City of London, has revealed that the France was pushing for the hardest Brexit deal possible.
In the memo, which was sent to the Mail on Sunday, Browne explained that the French were open about their desire to degrade the UK’s financial sector.
He also added that talks in Paris have been the worst he has had anywhere in the EU.
Browne, who met banking chiefs, senior politicians and diplomats, wrote:
They are crystal clear about their underlying objective: the weakening of Britain, the ongoing degradation of the City of London.
The meeting with the French Central Bank was the worst I have had anywhere in the EU. They are in favour of the hardest Brexit. They want disruption. They actively seek disaggregation of financial services provision.
According to Browne, hostility towards Britain isn’t confined to a few officials, but represents a political strategy by the French Government. “France could not be clearer about their intentions. They see Britain and the City of London as adversaries, not partners”, he wrote.
This shows how both “remoaners” and “Brexiteers” are wrong on the true nature of the Brexit negotiations.
Both groups have in common the belief that it is up to Britain to decide the nature of its relationship with the EU.
If the Brexiteers are under the illusion that the EU – and especially France – will accept a Brexit deal under their own terms based on a cherry-picking approach, they are mistaken.
What this note suggests is that it won’t be the hard Brexit that UKIP and many Tories have dreamt about, but a punitive Brexit which could be a disaster for the British economy.
On the other hand, the “remoaners” who still firmly believe that Britain can still walk away from Brexit, need to understand that Brexit represents a fantastic opportunity for the French to marginalise both the British economy and the City Of London.
Historically, France was reluctant to let Britain joins the EEC and then has always considered that Britain shouldn’t be part of the European project.
However, if in 1963 Britain was still an industrial nation, today it isn’t the case anymore as all evidence point out that it is Britain is a small isolated economy that has more to lose than the EU, which is and will remain a powerful economic giant once our negotiations to leave the EU have finished.
Unfortunately, the British government’s attitude is based on the illusion that the EU needs Britain more than the British economy need the EU.
This on its own could lead to disastrous Brexit negotiations as Britain isn’t in the position of imposing its choices.
In other words, it isn’t up to Britain to decide what will be its future relationship with the rest of Europe, but it is up to the EU to decide what Brexit will actually mean.
Of course, other EU countries may disagree with the French approach, however, and as expected, they are being marginalised by the French negotiators who oversee Brexit.
When Prime Minister Theresa May said that “Brexit means Brexit”, she was right. However, what she didn’t understand, was that Brexit also represented an opportunity for the French to destroy the City of London.
The EU is under no obligation to give us a good deal. All the posturing from the Tories, the “Brexiteers” and the “remoaners” will ultimately fade into submissive acceptance of the stupidity of Brexit.
The Labour leadership must act on this and try to build bridges with the French and hope that the next labour government will be able to mitigate some of the worst effects of Brexit.