Speaking to Andrew Marr this morning, the ever-impressive Irish Deputy Prime Minister, Simon Coveney, said:
‘When I read in much of the British media around the approach that needs to be taken by a British Government; ‘to take on the EU’; ‘to defeat them’ and ‘to stand up to them’, this is the language of enemies not friends. We need to move away from that. Both sides in this negotiation in the next stage of Brexit has a vested interest in working together, not to try and outmanoeuvre each other. We need to put in place, from a trade perspective, a deal that respects the fact that the EU has got to insist on equivalence and a level-playing field if there’s going to be free-trade in the future and the UK also has its interests in the relationships it wants to develop with other parts of the world taken into account as well.’
As he spoke, I visualised the speakers of the ’language of enemies’ he described – Boris Johnson and the risible and ironically-named, Mark Francois, to name only two. In the case of the former, I saw him blustering and finger-jabbing at the SNP in Westminster, but I also saw the image of Ian Blackford, puffed up and red-faced with indignation, roaring the ‘Scottish People’ will never forgive something.
Now as someone who has often raged against injustice, here, it’s a bit rich me arguing against it but I’ve been wrong before. There’s no reason why we can’t expect and help to arrange a ‘velvet divorce’ if the Czech and Slovaks could. So, maybe, we’d benefit too from a more low-key, still determined and using forensic evidence to undermine our critics, but keepin’ the heid, manner. Is it time for the Deputy Westminster Leader and Spokesperson on the Constitution, Kirsty Blackman to speak more often for us?