Friday, 30 June 2017

Macron is the talk of the town

From my Daily Record column
I was on a bike and stopped at traffic lights the other day when Faisal Islam, him off the telly, drew up on his own cycling steed.
London's not so big that you don't bump into people you know.
Pedalling towards Westminster, Sky TV's political editor inadvertently proved why he is one of Britain's top journalists. He was just back from the EU summit, where French president Emmanuel Macron dazzled everyone from the moment he arrived with a flirty wink to the BBC's Laura Kuenssberg and his love-in with Germany's Angela Merkel.
Macron, Faisal explained, has a Brexit masterplan. As well as bidding for the EU agencies currently based in London, he is poised to take full advantage of our departure from the Customs Union.
With the customs supply chain that keeps many companies connected broken, GM-Vauxhall, run by French state-owned Peugeot, will withdraw from the UK, Airbus will move from Bristol to Blagnac and so on.
Macron is about to launch controversial labour reforms to make it easier to hire and fire workers. This will run into huge street resistance from trade unions, where France's politics are often settled. But if he can create jobs at the same time by draining manufacturing from Britain to spur France's economic growth, he might succeed.
It was a precise, erudite summary of how lose-lose Brexit is going to be a big win for France. Admirably, Faisal did all this in a few minutes while cycling and navigating traffic. Much enlightened, we parted and I parked my hire bike.
On the pavement, two London workies were locked in conversation, their analysis as profound as Sky TV's. One said to the other: "You know what the problem is? It's these Frenchies. They're just jealous of us." Got it one.

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