President Emmanuel Macron, a man who imagines himself as a cross between Napoleon Bonaparte and Jupiter, king of the Roman gods, quickly turned into hyper-circulating mode as news of the tragedy broke out in the canal late Wednesday night.
I will not let [the Channel] To become a cemetery,’ he announced, where the bodies of 27 migrants, including three children and a pregnant woman, were recovered from the waters.
But turning the narrow stretch of sea between Calais and Dover into a cemetery is precisely the result of the ugly policies laid down by Macron himself.
It is hard to escape the conclusion that he and his ministers are not merely content to allow the export of immigrants to Britain, but are in fact colluding with vicious human smugglers to maximize their profits.
Macron’s biggest shame is that even as his Brexit-inspired hatred of the European Union proves it’s costing lives, Tinpot Napoleon shows no sign of giving up on his bizarre crusade against us, however much Boris Johnson might delude himself otherwise. Seen with a bust of Naples in 2019
If you need definitive proof, look no further than those stunning photos in the French police mail yesterday of literally turning their backs as migrants launched a dinghy onto a beach in Wimero, north of Boulogne, hours before the tragic sinking.
Of course Macron not only refused to accept any responsibility for this catastrophe, but suggested it was the UK’s fault, telling Boris Johnson that he expected “the British to cooperate fully and refrain from using the tragic situation for political purposes”.
Rather ironically, from a man he knows, politicizing who and what is in his favour is all he knows.
The truth is that Emmanuel Macron seemed almost driven insane by Brexit. It shattered his illusion of the European project on a long march toward deeper integration with an ever more influential French leadership (his leadership, obviously).
The departure of Britain – Europe’s second-largest economy – destroyed his dream of a “United States of Europe” and sowed the seeds of growing resentment of Brussels in some parts of the bloc, with talk of Polexit (Poland) and opposition – growing EU morale in the Netherlands and Austria.
Of course Macron not only refused to accept any responsibility for this catastrophe, but pointed out that it was the UK’s fault, telling Boris Johnson that he expected “the British to cooperate fully and refrain from using the tragic situation for political purposes.”
But Britain’s rejection of the EU’s technocratic giant is unfathomable and Macron does not accept. In the years since the 2016 EU referendum, he has missed no opportunity to kick us at every turn, displaying frivolous and irrational behavior that degrades his office and makes a mockery of politics.
And it’s not just about immigration.
His rejection of the British-made Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine as “semi-ineffective” in the elderly earlier this year was rooted not in scientific facts but in bitter revenge.
Britain had defeated France in the race for a vaccine (the French company Sanofi later abandoned its trials) and had also bought millions of doses of other viable vaccines before the European Union and started its own vaccine programme.
Macron’s comments about the Oxford/AstraZeneca strike undermined its use across Europe and delayed its uptake. It will now almost certainly come home to conquer the high infection rates, hospitalizations and deaths.
And now, in the wake of the canal tragedy, I think Macron has found himself covered in blood.
I have a friend who is a French police officer and he told me that for him and his colleagues, Calais has become a nice little source of income for those who are happy to do extra patrol duties. Many allowances and special payments are unlocked by volunteering – “you pay for it” my friend laughs.
President Emmanuel Macron, a man who imagines himself as a cross between Napoleon Bonaparte (above) and Jupiter, king of the Roman gods, quickly turned into hyper-spinning mode as news of the tragedy broke out in the canal late Wednesday night.
That is, financed by British taxpayers, using some of the £54 million so far that has been diverted to French coffers to help guard the coast.
But these “patrols” are not daunting. It mainly consists of watching the migrants on the inflatables. A sharp knife might be enough to get these boats out of action, but the police are barred from interfering.
Occasionally, the word comes to be more proactive, because politicians or journalists visit. When this happens, groups of immigrants are put on a bus in a big celebration, and as soon as he’s out of sight, they’re dropped off in downtown Calais to try again another day.
In fact, to keep migrants flowing toward beaches and boats, shantytowns in their cities are regularly dismantled, driving the population into the hands of people smugglers.
The French call it Operation Poseidon, after the Greek god of the sea – and it’s quite shocking because it provides “clients” for the smugglers’ trade. People in and around Calais are appalled by what has happened off their coast this week – French lifeboat crews have described it as mass murder.
But in Paris and beyond, while there is some research on the human rights aspects of the migrant issue and this tragedy, few people believe Macron is to blame, and the heavily backed media have let their president get away with it.
But make no mistake: If anyone is responsible, it is Emmanuel Macron and his government.
Even as the grim search for bodies continued, yesterday more boats set out from northern France and the gendarmerie stood idly by.
Reportedly, Boris Johnson is seeking to “reset” Anglo-French relations, hoping to work for “joint efforts” to overcome this human tragedy. I’m afraid this is wishful thinking.
Macron has always appreciated that bashing Britain is good policy – and he faces a more complex re-election campaign in 2022 than expected. He believes that anti-British rhetoric is the key to holding on to the voices dissatisfied with his domestic achievements.
And his inner circle—a tight-knit group of ideological enthusiasts of Europe employed as secret advisors and ministers—sees the mileage involved in tackling 1,000 years of historical wrongs, usually spearheaded by the treacherous Albion.
This is a recurring theme in the French elite who never understood why the French had a lower standing than the British on the world stage.
It’s what fuels Macron’s lust for power and revenge, and propels him to new heights of irrationality. It’s what I call “tantrum diplomacy.”
He was in a deep argument with the Swiss over a failed attempt to supply combat aircraft. He fought a massive public battle with the Australians and Americans over a submarine deal from which the French were excluded; He lectures incessantly to Poles, Hungarians and the Czechs about their challenge to the European Union’s supremacy and integrity.
But his excessive obsession is causing problems for Britain.
In Dublin, the French embassy is busy declaring France to be Ireland’s closest European neighbour, adding to tensions over the already fraught Northern Ireland agreement.
In Edinburgh, his diplomats are working hard to woo the SNP.
His prime minister, Jean Castix, has written to the European Union demanding that Britain be punished for refusing fishing licenses to French boats – an unfounded hostility that has at times verged on an all-out trade war, including threats to cut off electricity supplies to British-controlled Jersey. .
Meanwhile, French diplomats insist on strict interpretations of the EU Withdrawal Agreement, a toxic document that only seems to guarantee endless struggles and annoyances, hurting Europe as much as Britain.
His upcoming presidency of the European Council, which begins in January, will only allow him to create more mischief by instigating a common EU defense policy in competition with NATO, which he has called “brain dead”.
All this hides the truth from the French electorate: As he prepares to face the electorate in the first round of the presidential election on April 10 next year, Macron is faltering.
He sees Britain as an easy scapegoat for all his failings back home.
But his biggest shame is that even when his Brexit-inspired hatred is now proven to be costing lives, Tinpot Napoleon shows no sign of giving up on his bizarre crusade against us, however much Boris Johnson might delude himself otherwise.
Jonathan Miller is the author of France: A Nation on the Brink of a Nervous Breakdown (published by Gibson Square Books).