Playing those mind games

The way politicians attempt to manipulate public opinion through nefarious methods was brought into sharp focus this week as the chances of a free trade deal with the EU went sailing towards the horizon in a Royal Navy gunboat.

Labour churned out Boris’ old “oven ready deal” quote to basically wind people up when they know full well that the deal it refers to was regarding our exit from Europe, which happened, and has absolutely nothing to do with the present trade negotiations.

It was a cynical tactic on the part of the opposition and a deliberate attempt to exploit the political partisanship of people with too many other things on their minds to realise they’re being played.

For negotiations to work, common ground or at least areas of possible compromise have to be found somewhere, no matter how diametrically opposed the sides are.

The reasons for our exit have been repeated so many times it has almost become a mantra, but what it boils down to is sovereignty, which has become a dirty word thanks to news panel rent-a-gobs from the far left and right whose interests are served by polarising opinions and eradicating the middle ground.

The EU is still harbouring resentment over our decision to turn our backs on their dream of a United States of Europe (or to be more accurate, the Republic of Franco-Germany) and are intent on treating us like naughty schoolboys as an example to any other nation who might be thinking of jumping ship.

Meanwhile, that feeds into the anger of people desperate to say told you so and who would blame Boris for the weather if they could.

Of course, the government is hardly blameless when it comes to feeding people’s inbuilt political prejudices and fears, but when the conditions being placed upon a free trade deal are that we carry on following EU rules as if we were still part of it, including the crippling restrictions on our fishing industry, then going to WTO rules not only looks likely, but preferable.

Meanwhile, the fear factor is being ramped up here about Kent becoming a car park, food shortages and even the COVID vaccine not reaching us.

For anyone allowing themselves to be affected by this deliberate attempt to scare us into subservience, just think about Emmanuel Macron over the Channel. Anything less than the fishing rights as they exist now and he’s facing real trouble.

So he’s got more to be scared of than anyone.

And a German think tank estimates that up to 700,000 EU jobs could be at risk from not reaching agreement.

I’ll believe there’s no deal to be had on New Year’s Day. Until then, no matter what theatrics have still to be played out, including gunboats, I’ll take it all with a pinch of salt.

…………………………………………

I have always maintained that as journalists we are there to report the news, not to become the news, but the thought of three months respite from Sky News political reporter Beth Rigby has made my Christmas feel a little less humbug.

If only deputy political editor Sam Coates had been invited to Kay Burley’s birthday party too, my whole year would have been worth it.

…………………………………………

The most stupid TV quiz answers of the week are all from The Chase for a change:

Q: Which pop artist painted Campbell’s Soup tins, Marilyn Monroe and Barbie?

A: Madonna

Q: Which Victorian-era prime minister died in 1850 after a riding accident?

A: Winston Churchill?

Q: Which part of a potato plant is not toxic?

A: Leaves?

Advertisement

Edward Case

Columnist