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Game, Set & Match to France?

Unbelievable. Blair is actually going to fold on the EU rebate for the UK? Why? What possible advantage could it bring him politically to give away even more of our money to the parasites in Brussels?

What ever happened to:

If we cannot get a large deal, which alters fundamentally the way the budget is spent, then we will have to have a smaller EU budget
– Tony Blair

We were told that the British rebate would only be negotiable if the monstrous EU agricultural subsidies were also negotiable. Yet France et al have give up nothing whatsoever of any consequence, and yet the halfwit in Downing Street is going to give them want they want anyway? WTF?

I must be missing something here.

42 comments to Game, Set & Match to France?

  • GCooper

    And people complain when some of us refuse to call him anything other than Tony Bliar!

  • Why is anyone surprised,Blair has form he has given way to everything that the EU throws his way,the only thing that he is good at is spitting in the faces of those who pay his wages.
    Standard bully,”if you can’t oppress the ones you want honey oppress the ones you can”

  • Verity

    Well, GCooper, you can always call him Emily, as his schoolmates did. Boys do know a thing or two, do they not?

    Emily still has ambitions to be the supreme ruler of 450 unwilling subjects in the great EUSSR People’s Projekt.

  • permanent expat

    He’s already given us all away to Brussels. What’s all this with the rebate?

  • permanent expat

    Who will deliver us from this troublesome beast?

  • Verity

    permanent expat writes: “He’s already given us all away to Brussels.”

    Not me, babe. I saw it coming and I got out.

  • mbe

    Perhaps His Toniness is making sure Brown doesn’t take over?
    A decimated Pensions system, a porous Health system, a failing Education system, a warped Constitution, a ruined Rail system..(plus more)..and a good old fashioned rogering by the EU.
    Where’s a good handbag when you need one?

  • I must be missing something here.

    Very possibly, Perry.

    1. Blair’s desperate enough for any sort of achievement from the UK presidency to make a deal and thinks he can sell it to the British public.

    2. Blair’s setting up a poison chalice for Brown – accepts a cut in the rebate but with a start date deferred long enough from him to cut and run, leaving Brown to figure out how to square thing off.

    3. Simple bait and switch – Blair’s offers a deal which includes a cut in the rebate but with strings attached on reform of the CAP that he knows won’t fly with the French. When it all falls apart, Blair shifts the blame to the French for refusing to compromise on CAP.

    Of these, 1 and 2 are possibilities – Blair is far enough up his own arse to try either – but personally I like the look of option 3 on the basis that you can more or less get away with anything and keep the Mail, Express and Sun happy as long as you can give ’em and excuse to blame the French for whatever it is.

  • Verity

    I agree with Unity and think all three boxes have merit. God knows he wants to twinkle like a star in Eurrop, hoping for preferment.

    Box No 2 – Blair doesn’t seem to actually talk to the Chancellor of the Exchequer and his public relations wife who is Eric Hogsbawn’s daughter. (Or maybe her partner – the other one – is Eric Hogsbwana’s daughter; who can remember?). I would think that Blair might be feert of Brown, but then, who would be feert of this intellectual commie midget with a bee of permanent affront buzzing in his backside?

    Box No 3 – to what end (assuming it’s not Gordon’s), Unity? I would be interested to read it.

    In my opinion, of course, Blair wants to shaft Brown, maybe for old time’s sake, who knows … but his ambitions are outside Britain. He wants to be king of Eurotannia. Airforce One-Ahead-of-You George. Me ‘n’ Cher.

  • permanent expat

    Verity, my posting name was not chosen at random. I would now be a foreigner in my country of birth.

  • Wild Pegasus

    I think you’re all missing the obvious point: he cares about European integration and was more than happy to say whatever was convenient at the time to paper over the eurocentralisation.

    – Josh

  • Blair must have gotten a blow-job from a French prostitute on rive gauce. C’est la vie, I guess.

  • John K

    Blair must have gotten a blow-job from a French prostitute on rive gauce

    In that case she gave him syphillis which has now reached his brain.

    It does seem as if this air headed ponce is going to surrender “some” of the rebate so as to avoid being accused of being beastly to the new, poor members of the Imperium. In so doing he thinks he will earn their gratitude, and thus preserve our “influence”, which in his cossetted world is more important than pounds, shillings and pence.

    I really do believe that that is what this is all about. Bliar has been panicked into this, there is no sophisticated end game whereby the French are shamed into CAP reform, not even a two faced desire to shaft Gordon. He’s just panicked because he wants to be loved by his new friends.

    Chirac must be rubbing his eyes. When the French rejected Giscrad’s ludicrous “Constitutional Treaty” the EU was in trouble and France was the bad guy. Chirac immediately raised the issue of our rebate, which had been agreed, signed sealed and delivered, as an obvious diversionary tactic, a way of throwing a bit of mud at the UK. At the time I felt that that was a pathetically transparent ploy, and that l’escroc in his prime would have come up with something a bit better than that. To my amazement (and maybe his) it has actually worked. Suddenly Britain is the visible minority ethnic in the woodpile. How in the name of sleaze did this happen? I can only take my chapeau off to M. le President. His is indeed a shrewd judge of human nature. He looked into Bliar’s eyes and realised that he could make him his bitch. He was bloody well right wasn’t he?

  • There is also a Mandelson slithering around in the kush grass of Brussels.

  • John East

    The real surprise was Blairs display of backbone previously, which I thought at the time was just a continuation of his personal spat with Shirac rather than a principled stand on the issues. Any surrender now by Blair must surely surprise no one.

    Look on the bright side. The more we get shafted by Europe the more likely it is that the sheeple will wake up.

  • Jimmy Nutmeg

    This is how I think he sees it:
    1) split the rebate in 2, money for CAP and money for enlargement
    2) give up the enlargement money
    3) tie giving up the CAP money to reform of CAP
    4) agree a new, smaller EU budget
    5) ensure that contribution to new budget minus smaller rebate is less than contribution to bigger (older proposal) budget minus full rebate
    6) use uk press storm to demonstrate “scars on my back” to eu partners
    7) ride press storm, then announced that uk will now pay less into eu pot than under previous proposal
    8) come 2006-08, aim for full renegotiation of CAP based on usual reasons. on its side, uk points to unilaterally cutting rebate (solidarity) plus free trade/moral reasons. uk also has pro-reform team of germany, the dutch and swedes, plus newly squared new member states (who also get promised more structural funds when cap is slashed) to take on pro-cap states (france, italy, ireland).

    I’m not saying I think that it’s good or bad, merely that that is how I think Team Tony sees the picture.

  • Right now, Blair is in a major bind.

    The UK presidency has achieved nothing, less than nothing in fact as we’re further away from any agreement on the budget now than we were when he took over the role.

    He was also completely outmanouvered by Chirac and Schroeder on the budget when they succeeding in shifting attention on to the rebate and away from reforming CAP and liberalising the internal service sector market which is what Blair seems to want.

    The way in which the rebate is calculated and paid means that, on paper at least, the accession countries of Eastern Europe, will join the rest of EU in paying into the pot that funds the rebate which, naturally, is pissing them off a fair bit as they’re piss poor broke and desperately in need of structural funds to investing in business, etc.

    What Blair appears to be doing in offering to waive that portion of the rebate which would come from the accession states in return for a cut in their expected structural funds – which is meaningless as only Portugal has ever come close to spending their full allocation and then only for one year – typically there’s a routine 15-20% underspend on structural funs due to the way they are paid as national governments have to provide 50% match funding to release them.

    In return what Blair hopes to get, I think, is the full support of the accession countries for his other reforms on CAP and market deregulation. From what I understand, only Poland, which has a large agricultural sector, may be difficult as they stand to gain heavily from CAP. Other states which are focussed more on industrial and service sector development should fall in behind Blair quite readily as they see market liberalisation as the key to inflating their economies on the back rapid economic growth.

    So – Blair offers a concession on the rebate, but if he’s smart it’ll be a ringfenced deal from which only the accession countries will benefit – existing member states will stil make their usual contributions.

    Next he ups the ante on reform of CAP and market deregulation, knowing he has the backing of the accession states and throws the ball back into Chirac’s court.

    Chirac now faces two choices – either he makes the deal and gets a hammering at home or he sticks to his guns on CAP, etc. and it all falls through.

    If Chirac capitulates, Blair takes a modest hit from the Mail/Express – which would happen if he gave the EU a fiver back let alone £1 billion.

    As for Murdoch and the Sun, who knows where they’ll go? Murdoch is a eurosceptic, true, but then think?

    Won’t deregulation of service sector markets also work in his favour by creating conditions which allow him to expand the News International empire into the new markets in Eastern Europe?

    Check the press today – the Express are leading on the rebate, the Sun have one column on an inside page and the Times are talking up the importance of keeping ‘New Europe’ onside as being more important than the rebate.

    Blair may get a bit of a kicking on the rebate but not as big as some clearly think and not from where, in the media, he’ll see it as mattering most – and any, it’s not like he’ll have to worry about going to the country again for a mandate.

    Sudden a lose-lose scenario becomes a win-win.

    Chirac folds and Blair gets the reforms he’s after and the gratitude of the accession countries who stand to gain most from inward investment arising from deregulation and he gets to see Chirac take a beating from his own press.

    Chirac sticks to his guns and Blair can claim that he tries to be reasonable and make concessions only for the Frence to screw over the deal out of naked self-interest, which means he gets to turn the tables on Chirac and make him the villain, keep the backing of the accession states and keep the rebate.

    Meanwhile, the Mail, Express and Sun can get back to their favourite pastime of blaming the French for everything and Blair’s off the hook.

  • Verity

    John K – “In that case she gave him syphillis which has now reached his brain.”


    Yes, the French have won again, on the back of Emily’s ambition. It’s so easy. The British economy is reeling from creepy Gordon’s creeping commie redistribution and Bliar says “Britain won’t pay more than our ‘fair share’ “. What a cheap, snivelling, lying, cheating, manipulative, nasty, repulsive, toxic little wide boy this inadequate individual is. And all for his personal ambition to be the poncy, hissy, self-important king of Yurrop.

    No, Unity. Chirac will out manoeuvre Blair every step of the way. He’s made a terrible mistake in the service of his monstrous, greedy ego. Always a bad move, in politics or anything other endeavour in this world.

    I wish his complete, mortifying ruin would hurry up in coming. I want my Schadenfreude and I want it now!

  • Verity

    Samizdata’s spam guard thought a paragraph suggested that my post was spam, so I removed it from the comment above.

    I am totally mystified. It was no different in content from the surrounding text. There is not double entendre that could be mistaken for a commercial product. This is utterly baffling.

  • Derek Buxton

    Only just read your piece about the rebate, but who is surprised? “Bliar” talked tough but we know he has no backbone, besides he wants to be loved … by someone ….. anyone! I could see him giving away the rebate months ago, pure “Bliar”. What I don’t understand is why the electorate, those who do not work for him, that is, do not see him for what he is, shyster is too polite, traitor must be close.

  • Unity,
    A wonderful scenario…but this is Tony Baloney…what has he got right?

  • Pavel

    Britain has no rebate. Other countries have surcharge.

  • East-Central Europe is desperate to keep money coming from Brussels (because they agreed to “price harmonization” that artificially puts prices to EU levels, far beyond the actual purchasing power of the average citizen — for instance, average consumer goods prices are now almost precisely the same in Budapest and Dallas… but the average schmoe in Budapest is living on 400 bucks a month)… that money has to come from somewhere.

    France isn’t going to give it: France still has a bad case of the Japan Disease, and thinks that business is just another way of playing at Gallic Empire: if there was a pithy french way of saying “untermenschen,” you’d be hearing it in Paris.

    The Brits, on the other hand, can win friends by agreeing to lose on the subsidy, but guarantee those support payments… friends who they will badly need as they mix it up with France in the future.

    Blair’s a drip. But he’s not a moron.

  • APL

    Verity: “(Or maybe her partner – the other one – is Eric Hogsbwana’s daughter; who can remember?).”

    Oooh! who’s been sleeping in the knife drawer?

    Verity: “She?”

    She, He, Heshe. Doesn’t matter to our Peter & Tone.

  • Verity

    Russ – Blair’s not a harmless drip. He’s a very vicious operatorand intends the destruction of what’s left of the British sovereignty for his own greater glory and great financial gain for himself and the fat fishwife.

  • Right Honourable T Bliar Esquire

    Now look guys, let’s be sensible about this. I was going to be the Renewer of the NHS, but you wanted too many expensive drugs and new hips. I was meant to be the Saviour of Our Schools, but the kids were taught not to read by experts. Then I cast myself as Liberator of the Iraqis and Emperor George’s Candid Friend, but the bloody Arabs don’t want us and George never takes any notice of me.

    I’ve got to have something more to justify myself at the Bar of History than eight years warming up the seat for a Scotchman, haven’t I? This is my last big chance. President of the EU! OK, it’s only for six months, but if I move fast I could be the man who gave Estonia a fine new sewage treatment works. And it’s only £1,000,000,000 of your money anyway. Believe me, guys, the NHS pisses that much away every month!

  • Britain has no rebate. Other countries have surcharge.

    So are you saying the eastern countries are net contributors like Britain (even after the rebate)? If not, then in what way are they paying a ‘surcharge’?

  • I don’t think anyone really believed that he would not give something up. He seems to care more about his legacy in Europe that he does the UK’s opt out. The only thing that might scupper his plans is that the French want too much and it all falls apart.

  • Verity

    Of course no one believed it! Who’s going to believe Tony Blair, even if he’s telling the truth, in error?

    This latest move will not work because Chirac is a wilier politician with better fake sincerity than T Bliar. He’s cunning and he has powerful allies. Bliar has none in Europe.

    I have said before that the name of the first president of the EUSSR has already been inked in and that name is Dominique de Villepin. They are going to double cross Blair, which warms the cockles of my heart.

  • Errr…

    If anyone’s watched the news this evening, the coverage (i.e. the briefing given to Journo’s) on the rebate is that Blair is offering 12-15% of the rebate – near enough what ther accession states would be chipping in – in exchange for reform of CAP, is being reasonable and if the deal fails its all the fault of the French.

    Whether Blair can pull that off is yet to be determined but I think it does show that got the strategy near enough right.

  • Epsom Salts

    Everybody falls into the same trap.
    We don’t have any friends in Europe. At best they are competitors, at worst they are actively hostile.
    It’s as if the whole government has ‘gone native’.

  • Brian

    I don’t see why anyone is suprised about this, The Labour Party have always kissed the arse of powerful scum. In the seventies it was the Trade Unions, in the eighties it was the Soviet Union, and ever since it’s been the Fourth Reich. Their problem is that they think unconstrained government would solve all the world’s problems. Since the Fourth Reich is unconstrained government, clearly it will solve all the world’s problems. Therefore they are in favour of it.

    Tje fact that this makes them the moral equivalent of Vidkun Quisling has never occurred to them; even if it did, it would not perturb them any. After all, the more power the state has, the better everything will be.


  • GCooper

    Epsom Salts writes:

    “It’s as if the whole government has ‘gone native’.”

    What do you mean, ‘as if’?

  • We are simply not important enough for the Blairistas,Tone is a statesman now,as much as he would like to be president of the USA,the EU is the only game in town..not so much gone native as the caravan has moved on to pastures new.
    England,Britain were just pawns in Blairs game,the man is just and asset stripper.

  • Luniversal

    Statesman: Politician who no longer commands any credibility in his own country.

  • Verity

    Kings have raised armies and gone to war over lesser issues. Yet Bliar crunches his jackboots over the faces of those who died for British freedom and the beneficiaries of their terrible sacrifice shrug and discuss how soon he should “hand over” (as in abdicate and pass the crown to the heir) to Brown. What a perverted society.

  • Luniversal

    Verity, you sound more like Mad Mel Phillips of the Mail every day. It’s only politics, dearie.

  • Verity: no offense, but you’ve missed the point. Of course he’s not harmless (I still think he’s a drip.)… he’s winning the support of people he will need down the road, and taking a short-term hit in order to gain preferable terrain for the long-term conflict.

    Slick operator? You betcha.

  • Verity

    Russ Mitchell – I don’t think he’s that slick because he makes the fatal mistake of over-valuing himself. He has failed to ask himself: Why would Chirac want me to be the first “President” of the EUSSR?

    He just assumes that Chirac and the other kingmakers behind the scenes have been captivated by his intrinsic value and charm and will naturally back him for the job. But why would they? What on earth has he got that they would want?

    He is not a team player. He doesn’t even attend his own cabinet meetings. He is not subtle. Everything he does is signalled by the bright light of his ego. He absolutely cannot, cannot, cannot share credit.

    He is fearful of intelligent people. President Bush has surrounded himself with very intelligent, strong-minded people. Look at the dregs in the Blair cabinet.

    The facts that he’s dishonest and greedy and has a grabby wife won’t work against him, but the above points will. And the final killer point: If he thinks they are going to give the first “presidency” of the EU to a Brit, he is even crazier than he looks.

    If there were anywhere to bet around here, my money would be on Dominque de Villepin.

  • Joshua

    And the final killer point: If he thinks they are going to give the first “presidency” of the EU to a Brit, he is even crazier than he looks.

    Right. Right.

    And this is the point about Europe that – as an outsider – makes absolutely no sense whatever to me. It seems pretty obvious that Germany and France set the agenda for Europe – so why, exactly, does anyone else bother to stay on?

    If Blair is indeed jockeying for his name somehow engraved in the monstrous cathedral they’re building over there, he’s definitely picked the wrong path to lasting glory. To Europe, Britain is a pesky nuissance that needs to be “taught its place.” Why Blair can’t see that just boggles.

  • Verity

    Agreed, Joshua.

    People on the continent and in Britain thought they were voting to enter into a free trade zone. EFTA – European Free Trade Association. Who wouldn’t vote for it?

    That was the last chance we got to vote. It has advanced in a concrete, Soviet manner and people who said, “Hey! Wait a minute! We never said you could make laws about how much milk we can produce! We never said you could make laws about our immigration policies!” and so on were jeered at with the very dated phrase “Little Englanders”. This was a 1930s caricature of a Briton secure and happy in his own country and not wanting to be bothered with all those bizarre people people on the continong.

    Yet for at least the last 20 years, even the long-term unemployed are taking cheap weekend breaks to the Costa del Sol and caravan holidays in the south of France. There is no one in Britain who hasn’t been abroad several times. The “Little Englander” is long gone.

    Yet the Conservatives have allowed the EU-loving socialist one-worlders to colonise this ancient, outmoded phrase as a term of abuse to those who oppose them. How flaccid! How weak!

    This is twinned with the word xenophobia. But some of the people least in favour of the EU are those who live , or who own second homes, on the continent and probably speak the language fairly adequately and have good friends in those countries. I lived in France for three years, yet I would be jeered at by the ZaNu-Lab zombies as “xenophic” for not wanting to be ruled by the alien and constricting Napoleonic Code.

    Europe and Britain are being destroyed from within, intentionally. What a strange confluence of events! If Thatcher’s successor had been almost anyone but the weak and useless John Major, we might, by now, have been a friendly trading partner with , but not a subject of, the EUSSR.

    Joshua, the others on the continent were traumatised by WWII and thought there would be strength in numbers, as a trading partner and against the Soviet Union. What a fatal dream! Poor little Holland is the largest contributor to the vast fawcetts streaming out money to further the project. The French are in the land of milk and honey and ever-lower retirement ages in the public sector (55) and the public sector includes the vast electricty and gas companies – every meter reader, don’t forget; everyone who answers the phone; everyone who keys in your bill; as well as the normal government oxygen thieves. Six weeks’ annual holiday in France. Retirement at 55 and the next 30 years on the teat of the ever-diminishing taxpayer because there is essentially no private enterprise in France. As George Bush didn’t say, although I wish he had, the French have no word for entrepreneur.

    Well, maybe they have a word for it, but no one these days would dare venture to make a go of a private company when you cannot fire anyone. Dentists and doctors answer their own phones, even during consultations. They take your payment themselves. They key in their own notes.

    France isn’t hiring.

    And their vast numbers of Islamic immigrants can’t find jobs, because no one is hiring. So they’re all on welfare. Which the French resent mightily.

  • Verity

    Simon Jenkins has some devastating things to say about Blair’s ineptitude over the rebate and his panicky search for a legacy. “Airy-Fairy Blair …” in The Sunday Times. (Link)