Our electric oven is not ready. It’s not working. Rather like the British government: not ready for anything. Pandemic wave two. EU trade deal. Test and trace. Anything more taxing than a three-word slogan: cook my dinner!
Oven and Out
Last week, our kitchen oven stopped working. Or, to be more precise, it stopped working properly. Our dinner was cooking nicely in a hot oven: 200 degrees. The only trouble was it didn’t stop at 200 degrees: it kept on getting hotter and hotter. By the time we had noticed, our meal was burnt. Black. Charcoal. Not at all the way we like it.
It’s getting fixed tomorrow: new circuit board: 200 quid. Cheaper than a new oven, we think. Anyway, the oven-as-charcoal-burner reminded me of something.
Oven At ‘Em
Those of you with attention spans longer than our Prime Minister (which is nearly everyone) will remember a phrase from the election campaign last year. “Oven ready”. Following the election, Johnson quickly caved in to the EU’s concerns about preserving the integrity of the Single Market by agreeing to customs checks between Great Britain and Northern Ireland. This was quickly pushed through Parliament following the election and voted on by Johnson’s New Model Army of compliant MPs. It seems that neither Johnson nor those MPs had really understood what they were voting for. Certainly we know Johnson doesn’t bother himself with detail: how many of his MPs, I wonder, knew they were helping to set things up for a no deal crash out of the EU?
Now, eight months later, the CCJ (see last blog post) is bringing before Parliament legislation which breaks international law: Minister Bandon Lewis admitted as much today in the Commons. A senior government lawyer has quit his post because of this. And a senior diplomat compared the UK government to a “rogue state”. Even Johnson’s predecessor Theresa May condemned the move as leading to other countries not trusting the UK in any future trade negotiations.
We Just Don’t Kerr
Oh, and a bit more about the “senior diplomat” mentioned above. He is none other than John Kerr, now a member of the House of Lords. He is a former British Ambassador to the USA and a former member of the European Convention which drafted Article 50, the procedure agreed by all 28 EU states at the time (including UK) for any member wishing to leave the EU. So not just any old “senior diplomat”, then.
You Have to Laugh
… even when crying, screaming and kicking the dog (no offence) might come more naturally.
It’s the following morning when I’m finishing this piece off. The oven repair engineer hasn’t shown up yet. So here we are: England, September 2020. The country you will never trust again. Break international treaties by all means, but don’t gather in groups of 7. Unless you’re at school. Or a premier league footballer. Or you’ve bred like a rabbit and got loads of kids – one for the Rees-Moggs there, I feel. Simples.
I’d like to end with some good news. I’d like to, but there isn’t any. So instead, here’s a few things that made me smile in today’s Guardian:
“Frosty the No Man”: thanks Marina Hyde, good value as ever, describing the UK’s chief negotiator with the EU.
And a few extracts from letters from readers, witty as ever: “our PM would have us waive the rules as well as rule the waves”, “perfidious Albion is living up to its name” and “Johnson’s ‘oven-ready’ deal was a turkey”. Thank you all.
Now, where’s that repair man?