Iron Lady wedges herself against friend and foe

What is likely to be Britain’s next prime minister – Truss leads the British Conservatives by a huge margin in all polls in the race for the British Conservative presidency – made a shot that is more than a linguistic slip.

Relations between the two countries are not the best due to the dispute over fishing licenses and refugees trying to cross the English Channel to Britain in boats from French beaches.

In Truss’s statements, however, a shirt-sleeve nationalism can be seen, for which the 47-year-old received applause from his right-wing party friends and Brexit supporters. In any case, the faux pas does not bode well for Britain’s relationship with its friends on the European continent, which is also crucial.

Today’s top job

Find the best jobs now and
get notified by e-mail.

Especially since “Team Truss” leaked to the British media almost at the same time that the new “Iron Lady” of Britain – Truss likes to see herself as Margaret Thatcher’s political heir – is thinking of overriding the controversial Northern Ireland protocol on Brexit. treaty, and apparently wants to accept a trade war with the EU.

One might have expected Britain’s top diplomat to resist the temptation to put his internal party ambitions ahead of his country’s interests in an atmosphere still emotionally heated by Britain’s exit from the EU.

Fierce dispute over Northern Ireland

But this is not the first time this has happened to her. The insult to Scotland’s regional government chief Nicola Sturgeon, who attacked Truss as a “self-promoter”, could still take revenge. In any case, Truss did a disservice to the country’s cohesion. Scottish nationalists pushing for independence are rubbing their hands.

Politically, Truss’s resurgent dispute over Northern Ireland is the most dangerous. With the threat she launched to scrap the Northern Ireland Protocol, the Conservatives turned another foreign head of state against her even before she is expected to move into 10 Downing Street: US President Joe Biden, himself of Irish descent, has repeatedly asked London about doing it. then to resolve Northern Ireland’s conflict with the EU amicably.

Britain and the EU had agreed in the Brexit treaty that the province of Northern Ireland would continue to follow the rules of the EU’s single market to prevent a hard border with the Republic of Ireland.

The customs border therefore runs through the Irish Sea, making it difficult for goods to move between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK and raising fears among provincial unionists of being politically decoupled from the kingdom.

Truss, the new darling of Brexit hardliners, had already launched a legislative initiative in June that would allow British ministers to bypass the Northern Ireland Protocol in individual cases. Should that push through in the House of Lords, Truss, who was still fighting for his country’s EU membership during the 2016 referendum, could reject the most politically sensitive part of the Brexit deal by using the suspension clause.

Macron’s lesson in diplomacy

The fact that Brussels is also fueling the conflict through its own mistakes makes it easier for Truss to take his hard line. The EU’s previous refusal to let British scientists continue work on the European research project Horizon creates bad blood and can hardly be justified in the case.

Nor is it understandable that British steel producers will soon have to pay an import duty of 25 per cent on their supplies to Northern Ireland because the EU’s global import quotas have been exhausted.

French President Emmanuel Macron

The politician took the attack from Great Britain in stride.

(Photo: AP)

Such political follies only provide new ammunition for Truss and her hardliners. Seen in the light of the common threat to Europe posed by Putin’s Russia, it seems politically small-minded when Europeans argue about customs borders, subsidy funds and steel quotas.

Truss has rightly branded Putin a “tremendous dictator”. Her party colleague Alistair Burt condemned the fact that she cannot decide whether Macron is “friend or foe” as “a desperately grave mistake”.

Nevertheless, Macron responded politically astutely and elegantly to Truss’s crude attack: “I can say with absolute certainty that the British people are a great friend and ally, regardless of who is in power and sometimes despite the heads of government and the little mistakes they may make in their campaign statements.”

More: Dispute over €95.5 billion program puts Europe’s cutting-edge research at risk

Leave a Comment