The Art of Diplomacy
There is something quite embarrassing about how the British government has engaged in this whole Brexit nightmare. From the early idiocy at the Tory conference regarding EU nationals as bargaining chips, to the sheer incompetence of the Brexit secretary, David Davis, approaching the negotiation table unprepared to the point that the negotiations were to be put on hold.
It genuinely seems that the British government have approached these negotiations with a chip in their shoulder which seems to be an institutional hangover from a country that once ‘ruled the waves’. When you’ve got the likes of Telegraph columnist, Allison Pearson, urging ‘Dunkirk Spirit’ it’s hard not to think that some Brexiteers feel we deserve an easy negotiations because World War 2 happened and we played a role in liberating Europe.
This leads us to the pompous gift giving on the 10th of January:
I’d totally cut this some slack had it been delivered at the start of the negotiations. The exchange of gifts is quite common in diplomacy but it’s come after an absolute mess of a beginning to negotiations. There is also something quite bizarre about broadcasting this information before gifting it to someone, and the only reason for that is to try and rally some support for the fact that the UK can still produce things.
Can’t say I’ve ever seen someone jump for joy at being gifted a jar of marmite but then again I suppose I’d also never consider gifting someone from France cheese and wine from the UK either. It’s also worth noting that Marmite and PG Tips are produced by Unilever, a company half-owned by the Dutch. The company also moved 140 jobs from the UK last year, those jobs mainly being involved in the production of PG Tips which will now be produced in the Netherlands.
Diplomatically, no one was ever going to turn down a gift like that, and in many ways it’s a nice gesture but I think many people looked at it and cringed at what was, at its heart, a cheap stunt offered up too late.