One UK diplomat in a rare, private moment of frankness, referring to the obsession of British eurosceptics regarding supposed EU regulations outlawing bendy bananas and smoky-bacon flavoured crisps, recently joked with an advisor to the German finance ministry: "If the likes of Ukip and the Daily Express only knew what is on the table!"
Funny this you know.
When was the last time UKIP obssed about this sort of thing? Not on my watch. We are worried about all sorts of things, but what this rare moment of frankness actually shows is quite how out of touch this unamed British diplomat is with the political reality on the ground in the UK. If he is doing his job, as Ambrose Bierce put it of engaing in 'the patriotic art of lying for one's country', then he really ought to go back to the UK, sit in a pub and talk to some people in order to lie more effectively.
What do they talk about there (in one of the sadly diminishing numbers of hostelries)?
They talk about the impact of Eastern European immigration on the unskilled job market - though they might say it along the lines of,
"I can't even get a job shelf stacking at Tesco because some bloody Pole got it".They talk about the idea that Foreign judges can decide if prisoners can get the vote. They talk about how EU types have decided that their car insurance will rise, if they are women, or their pension will drop, if they are a man. They talk about the collapse in the standard of education, they talk about shitty, costly EU imposed light bulbs. Other things they talk about, the cost of green taxes, the inability of the Government to set its own fuel tax rate withjout permission from Brussels.
They talk about all sorts of things, but they do not talk about bendy bananas and crisp flavours except with heavy irony.
What is telling is that this British diplomat thinks it is funny to be witholding from the 'likes of Ukip and the Daily Express' - read the people of Britain, the very real and damaging aspects of the current EU response to the Economic crisis, particularly sharing the joke with our competitors.
It also shows how ignorant and behind the curve our Government's advisors are when it comes with negotiating with our continental friends.