Nothing says ‘easiest trade deal in history’ quite like gunboats deployed to Jersey | Mark Steel

How dare the French assault poor little Jersey[1], whose only industries are fish, potatoes and international tax fiddling?

So send the gunboats, however many we need, because people are ANGRY about whelks. We can only hope they stay just as committed when this is resolved, and spend every day calling phone-ins to yell: “I WANT TO TALK ABOUT SCALLOPS! THEY NEED TO BE ROUNDER, AND MORE SQUISHY.”

When you see those adverts in which a young man from Blyth is “Made by the Marines[2]”, this is the sort of thing they’re talking about. Once they’re signed up, their life can begin as they do something exceptional, vital and historic, and sit outside Jersey in case a trawler from Normandy[3] catches a herring.

This is all because of[4] an argument about who can catch which fish, following Brexit. That makes sense, as we were promised Brexit was going to be the easiest trade deal in the world. And that’s worked out perfectly. Because sending gunboats to Jersey is always a sign of a deal having gone through easily. When the plumber fixes your radiators, you don’t want one of those complicated deals where he does the job and you pay him. It’s much easier if you have to send a gunboat to his house because the French have threatened to dynamite his garden shed.

The French government has threatened to turn off Jersey’s electricity, as if all Jersey’s power comes from an extension cable that reaches to Cherbourg. So the Telegraph reported that[5] “a government source said, ‘even the German occupation left the lights on’.” 

Congratulations. It was only ever going to be 30 seconds into this conflict until the war was mentioned, and this government source nipped in first. Because that’s the rule in Britain – any problem with anything European has to refer to the war. If the World Vegetable Society announced French beetroots are the juiciest in the world, 120 backbench MPs would be on daytime television saying: “This is an insult to all those who fought on D-Day. We stood alone in 1940 and that’s why we’re firing one French beetroot an hour out of a canon off the cliffs of Dover.”

By the weekend, dozens of people aged 70 will have been interviewed on the news, saying: “My generation was bravely born five years after the war ended, and despite this courage, we still have to sit by while French people are allowed to fish. Is it any wonder we don’t like Pakistanis?”

Another “government source” said: “I’m disappointed the EU has resorted to threats, rather than use the treaty to discuss the matter.” Yes, that is disappointing. Why would anyone, in a discussion between Britain and the EU, want to issue threats rather than discuss things nicely?

The French should learn to discuss matters with us calmly, the way we always did, and publish headlines in newspapers such as: “MY GRANDDAD FOUGHT AT AGINCOURT AGAINST THESE ARSEHOLES SO LET’S MAKE THEM SIT IN THE DARK.”

Jacob Rees-Mogg even declared that fish were happier for being British, which I’m sure they are, but hopefully it’s even better than that and soon he’ll announce they all went to Eton, not some scuzzy public school like Westminster. And he’ll report that a regiment of mackerel issued a statement that, “By God, we shall do our duty to the Queen and drift without fear or lassitude into British nets, carpe diem.”

The argument appears to be that French fishing boats haven’t been given the licenses they were promised to fish around Jersey. And those that have been given a license have also been given huge documents packed with restrictions. But since Brexit, each lorry-load of British fish must also go through seven stages of extra bureaucracy, before heading to Europe. And each lorry must be accompanied with seven extra pages of forms.

So all those years, when the anti-EU campaigners were moaning about the red tape our businesses had to deal with, what they must have meant is there wasn’t enough of it. They must have been thinking: “Why are fishermen allowed to catch fish without filling in thousands of extra forms? We demand a separate form for every single cockle.”

Since Brexit, lorries of British fish have had to go rotten while waiting for the extra forms to be completed, because the British government protects our British forms, that have kept this country going for thousands of years.

What we could have done, to protect our fishing industry, is use the amount wasted on a useless Track and Trace system and spread it among the fishermen. It was around £30bn that got lost, so for that money they could have nets made of silk, hand-woven by mountain people of the Andes, and placed in ice in which each cube has been personally blessed by the Dalai Lama. They could have each mackerel moulded into the shape of a historical figure, such as Abraham Lincoln or Jennifer Lopez, by a specialist fish sculptor.

But that’s not as much fun as sending gunboats, especially as Emanuel Macron and the French government are capable of being knobs as well, so this could escalate gloriously. One war between Britain and France lasted 100 years and no one can remember how that started, so this one could last longer than that if we play it right.

This is where we are in the world now. When superpowers went to the brink of annihilation in 1962, it was around the matter of whether a Soviet ally should place nuclear weapons in Cuba, a few miles from Florida. When Britain and France go to war, it’s because of a row about who gets the scallops.


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Brexit Britain’s ‘war on France’ is a perfect storm in a teacup

The British and French stand-off on the seas round Jersey [1]is, at first glance, a row over logbooks, lobsters, licences and sea snails.

But it is the result of a perfect storm of British, French and European politics and, inevitably, Brexit. 

The technicalities of fishing licences in the 12 miles around Jersey’s coasts are vitally important for French fishermen[2]

They blockaded Jersey’s main port, after accusing the Channel Island government of not granting enough licences and imposing unfair conditions on them. 

But such disputes rarely lead to Royal Navy and French gunboats eyeing each other across the waves[3] unless it suits politicians on both sides.

So how did it come to this? The UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA), which came into force on December 31 last year, sets out the new post-Brexit fishing rules.

Under the deal struck on Christmas Eve, EU boats can continue to operate in UK territorial waters if they can prove historical fishing activity in the area.

Access is granted by the issuing of fishing licences but France is angry about how the new rules are being implemented and has accused Britain of dragging its feet. 

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Larger French boats with positioning technology have been granted licences, but smaller boats do not typically carry the electronic equipment that would allow them to prove they fished the UK’s coast from 2012-2016. 

In late April, French fishermen blockaded ports to prevent UK-landed fish arriving in Europe in protest. UK-EU talks are continuing to agree on an alternative way of proving past fishing activity. 

While this continues to be an issue in the waters around Jersey, the situation is more complicated. 

Jersey is a self-governing British Crown Dependency. It has responsibility for its own fishing rules but can, as it did in this row, call on UK assistance. 

However, the UK is responsible for Jersey’s international relations; the Channel Island is bound by the TCA negotiated by London and Brussels, and so are the French. 

France and the European Commission have accused the Jersey government of adding new unilateral conditions on top of the requirement to prove historical fishing activity. 

These include restrictions on where in the waters the boats can fish, for how long and with what machinery.

Paris brands this “unacceptable”, and Brussels says it breaks TCA rules that require such conditions to be pre-notified, and shared by local fishermen as well as EU ones. 

British sources indicate that the decision on rules for Jersey’s water is the island’s responsibility, but Brussels is determined to place the issue firmly on Boris Johnson’s lap, and deal with it at UK-EU level. 

Downing Street sources insist that Jersey has acted within the rules of the TCA, even if the government has not imposed the same conditions on French boats in the UK’s territorial waters. 

The timing of this latest battle with Brussels and the French is good for Mr Johnson. 

On the day of local elections, the Prime Minister can bask in the glory of phony war[5] which will do the Conservatives no harm at all.

With elections in Scotland, a disheartened Scottish fishing industry and the independence debate in full swing, the timing is perfect to show that Mr Johnson is willing to fight for “our” fishermen. 

A demonstration of Global Britain ruling the waves may go some way to repairing the damage of the Brexit talks, which left UK fishermen convinced the Prime Minister had betrayed them at the last. 

“Boris has found his Falklands,” one EU diplomat joked shortly before the French fishermen left just before lunchtime.

Emmanuel Macron also knows the value of a good fight. French fishermen are furious with their president after their share of the catch in UK waters was cut in the Brexit negotiations. 

Their anger has mounted because they believe Britain is dragging its feet in granting fishing licences. 

As in Britain, fishermen represent a small sliver of the economy but carry a huge political and emotional weight. It is said that when French fishermen move, the government trembles. 

Another consideration is that French fishermen in the Channel hail from Northern France, which is a stronghold for Marine Le Pen.  

Ms Le Pen will be Mr Macron’s main rival in next year’s presidential elections. No one expects her to beat Mr Macron but she will make it to the second round of the presidential elections and with increased support from the last elections. 

Ms Le Pen will only benefit from this contretemps, and Mr Macron must be seen to do something. 

Perhaps this is why he dispatched a small portion of the fleet, and why his Minister of the Sea threatened to cut off Jersey’s power supply[7]. That dramatic threat has also been criticised in some British quarters as breaching the rules of the TCA. 

The early days of the new Brexit arrangements have been rocky and turbulent. That was always to be expected so soon after the divorce, but UK-EU relations have been particularly bad. 

The implementation of the Northern Ireland Protocol was always going to be controversial, but Britain stands accused of breaking international law for the second time in a matter of months. 

The European Commission’s hysterical over-reaction to the UK’s vaccination success and AstraZeneca’s supply failure was to threaten a vaccine export ban against Britain and to impose a hard border on the island of Ireland. 

The wounds of Brexit are still raw, and the temptation to exploit teething problems for short term political gain remains for the UK, France and the European Commission. 

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The imperative is still there for the EU to prove that Brexit was a historical mistake which no member state should ever dream of repeating. 

And there is also pressure on the British Government to prove that the freedoms won by Brexit will prove to be worth the economic cost in trade friction with the EU, which remains the UK’s major trading partner. 

But there is also an incentive for both the UK and the EU to get the trade deal working properly, and without such tension. 

There were, until recently, signs of detente after the European Parliament ratified the Brexit trade deal in April. The UK finally agreed to give the EU’s ambassador in London full diplomatic credentials shortly afterwards.

The row over Jersey looks set to be funnelled into the dispute resolution process in the trade deal.

That is likely to mean discussions, and lots of them, in meeting with EU officials in the bloodless committee rooms of Brussels and London that are the first port of call in any dispute. 

While any persisting row could ultimately result in tariffs, a compromise is far more likely to be quietly found. 

The political capital of the hijinks on the high seas will be safely pocketed by then – and the perfect storm of the so-called “war with France” will be kept firmly in its teacup. 

ADS Advance – Intradco Global debuts Pig Lift at Stansted

in Aerospace[1]

Posted 6 May 2021 · Add Comment[2]

Gatwick based Intradco Global has introduced their brand new innovative Pig Lift at Stansted Airport last week, with 1,030 purebred registered breeding pigs as its first passengers.

Image courtesy Intradco Global

Gatwick based Intradco Global has introduced their brand new innovative Pig Lift at Stansted Airport last week, with 1,030 purebred registered breeding pigs as its first passengers.

The innovative Intradco Global Pig Lift comprises of a custom-converted van which has been modified to enable pigs to transfer from their lorry transport to their crates, at varying heights, without having to navigate any ramps.

Both the front and the back of the Pig Lift can be powered with the touch of the button to ascend and descend, to accurately meet the pigs at the level they are at on their lorry and the level of crate they are walking onto.

Without such technology, pigs must walk up and down sometimes steep ramps, which is not only potentially dangerous, but can also be stressful for them. Intradco Global’s Pig Lift puts the pigs’ safety and happiness at the forefront of the process.
The Pig Lift’s debut was on April 27th 2021 at Stansted Airport (STN), where 1,030 purebred registered breeding pigs were its first passengers. They were transferred from multi-storey lorries, that had travelled from Northamptonshire, onto two and three storey crates without the need to use any ramps or any moving parts that had to be manually adjusted.

The pigs then travelled on a Boeing 747-8F aircraft to Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport (CTU) in China, with a short stopover in Kazakhstan to freshen their food and water supplies.

Intradco Global’s Pig Lift is just one example of the company’s commitment to cutting-edge charter equipment with a focus on safety, comfort and animal welfare. Their livestock stalls, equine loading ramp and even their bespoke giraffe crates are just some of the equipment that is widely regarded as ‘best-in-class’ and now the Pig Lift can join that list too.


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