IT is unseemly to gloat over another person’s humiliation, but in the case of French President Emmanuel Macron, I’m prepared to make an exception.
Only a few weeks ago this tinpot Napoleon stole the headlines at Boris Johnson’s G7 gathering of world leaders in Cornwall, turning it into the “Sausage Summit”.
The Great British banger was to be barred from Belfast breakfast tables by the French-backed Northern Ireland protocol on food exports.
The agitated Macron then grabbed Joe Biden, the US President of Brexit, by the arm and led him away for private conversations. Our PM seemed deflated.
As he grabbed the spotlight, America and Britain were secretly working behind closed doors at the Carbis Bay Hotel to plan the largest shake-up of Western defense since World War Two.
The plan was kept secret until a few hours before Wednesday’s AUKUS (Australia, UK, US) bombshell.
Macron and the EU are no longer part of a new military alliance.
The English-speaking allies will help Australia build eight silent, long-range, nuclear-propelled submarines to patrol the seas in China’s Indo-Pacific backyard.
To rub salt in Macron’s wounded pride, Australia simultaneously ripped up a £30billion contract with France for a fleet of diesel-electric subs.
It was an astonishing coup — and a painful slap in the face for the French President.
Clearly stung, Europe Minister Clement Beaune sneered: “Our British friends explained they were leaving the EU to create Global Britain. We can see this is a return into the American lap.”
Far from it.
The AUKUS agreement is a post-Brexit victory and a wake up call for the bickering European Union that has very little defense capability.
This raises concerns about the American-led NATO alliance, which is protecting Western Europe. However, it has been neglected and under-funded for many years by EU countries.
“This is a stab in the back,” moaned French officials as Macron retaliated by pulling ambassadors out of Canberra and Washington.
It was already uncertain if France would build the diesel-electric subs it had promised.
Scott Morrison, Australia’s PM, had raised concerns about rising costs and delays.
The nuclear version of the Australian navy will allow it to patrol silently, roam farther and remain submerged for an indefinite time.
The deal, worth billions to UK giants Rolls-Royce and BAE, is a sign of resistance to China’s remorseless expansion of power in Indo-Pacific waters, which it regards as its own.
China is continually increasing its claims to territorial rights by turning coral reefs into military bases in the middle-ocean.
During its passage through international waters, the South China Sea, a recent UK Naval force was repeatedly harassed in Beijing by the carrier HM Queen Elizabeth.
After daring to ask for an inquiry into the origins and spread of the Covid pandemic, Australia was hit with harsh trade sanctions against China.
Macron could seek revenge for the sub snub — and he has some powerful weapons in the run-up to the November presidential elections.
Wall-to-wall French TV pundits are calling for Macron to allow thousands of illegal migrants to cross the Channel.
RIVALRY AND DISTRUST
Others are eyeing the energy chaos from soaring gas prices, as food giants warn supplies could run out within weeks, hitting meat and poultry stocks by Christmas.
Four UK energy suppliers went bust, and four more could be closing.
Britain’s partial reliance on French electricity makes us vulnerable.
The recent cable fire caused disruptions in supply and led to a sharp increase in prices.
Boris also has his cards to play.
Despite centuries of rivalry and distrust, France and Britain are Europe’s closest military allies, sharing intelligence and working together on strategic operations far from home.
Britain is part of the envied “Five Eyes” intelligence alliance along with America, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
We have strong ties with India as an emerging economic power that plays an increasing vital role in the balance between China and America.
These prizes are far too valuable to risk over AUKUS, regardless of the embarrassment it causes Emmanuel Macron.
Insult to the taxpayer
MET police chief Cressida Dick has been given a two-year extension because they can’t find anyone better.
For all the good it would do to London policing, she could be fired and replaced with a stuffed dog.
It is a insult to taxpayers who pay their salaries that hi-vis cops are cosseting the idiots blocking the M25.
Amazingly, motorists resist the temptation to create a gang and throw the selfish fools in the nearest ditch.
It would definitely bring out the police with handcuffs or truncheons.