A predictable epidemic of froggy bashing has erupted in Britain as Emmanuel Macron brings his global victory tour to Britain. He is rubbing-in his humiliation of Theresa May with the ‘gift’ of the Bayeux Tapestry, although in truth merely the loan of it, which you do not need Trumpian genius to know commemorates the last time anyone from France was able to claim any kind of creditable victory against Albion.
Not since De Gaulle has Britain faced such a cunning adversary. Macron makes no secret of his ambition to punish the City for Brexit, and provoke an exodus of bankers to Paris. This is unlikely as Paris it must be said has many of the characteristics of a ‘shithole’, starting at the Gare du Nord.
But like it or not, Macron, who turned 40 just before Christmas, is the last man standing in the global political talent show. After the auto-immolation of Theresa May, the freakshow of Donald Trump, the decline of Angela Merkel, the disgrace and humiliation of Justin Trudeau, Macron’s presidential air squadron has never been so busy, ferrying him between adoring welcomes.
He has just been in Beijing lecturing the Chinese and before that he was stopping off to visit his troops in Africa. Before the presidential Airbus alights in the UK, he will pay a symbolic visit to the fortified zone at the portal of the channel tunnel, where hundreds of Afghans, Syrians and Sudanese, inter alia, are still attempting to get in to what they believe to be the promised land.
At home, he’s got through his reforms to the unemployment code, there are green shoots of some economic activity, and his political opponents are utterly vanquished. He is simply lucky.
So British grumpoids summoning images of Trafalgar, Waterloo, or even Agincourt and Crécy, railing against dealing with the treacherous Frenchman (see all newspapers), have nothing to gain at all from such posturing.
Theresa May has but one card to play. Obsequience, essentially. She must say ‘oncle’ and commit Britain’s military to wholehearted support of French military intervention against Isis and its fellow travellers in Africa.
Of course Britain’s military is as clapped-out as can be imagined and the shiny new aircraftless aircraft carriers will be of little use in the Niger Valley. But we should do what we can, as quickly as possible, to nudge Mr Macron onto our side, or at least not to be so implacably hostile to us on our cursed island, since the Germans are these days pretty useless when things go bang.
The Field of the Cloth of Gold scenario about to unfold at Sandhurst suggests that Mrs May knows that the game is up and she better start romancing the Gaul. British tabloids can moan all they like.
Expect plenty of emollient words (in English) from Macron today, praising the historic bonds between France and the UK. He speaks with forked tongue but it doesn’t look as if Mrs May is in any position other than to take it on the chin. How Bonaparte must be chuckling, turning in his sarcophagus at Les Invalides.