Tripartite negotiations kick off in grand style

More than half of his backbenchers have effectively told Dave his EU policy is rubbish, some in as many words. Add to this the growing threat of UKIP, now polling 50 percent higher than Dave’s coalition partners, and Dave must feel some drastic move is called for.

Nadine Dorries has come up with the bright idea of Tory candidates doing a deal to stand jointly with UKIP, but Dave rang up from his foreign junket to stand on principle: ‘We don’t do deals,’ he said. Except the deal he struck with the LibDems, he might have added but didn’t. Quite right too. It’s a man who’s in command of his principles, not vice versa.

At the same time, Dave arranged a conference call with Angela and François to start negotiating a better deal for Britain. Said negotiations, we’ve been told in no uncertain terms, will take at least four years but, as Dave’s fellow conservative once put it, ‘a journey of a thousand miles starts with a small step.’

Anyway, I’ve been fortunate enough to obtain the transcript of the ensuing conversation, which I’m only too happy to share with you.

D: Guten morgen, Angela. Bonjour, François.

F: Zut alors, Daveed, stop pretending you’re un linguiste extraordinaire. Good morning to you too, and what do you want? Speak fast, Angie asn’t ad er morning wurst yet.

A: Oh shut up, Frank.

F: C’est François, not your sale boche de Frank! And don’t tell me to la fermer! Not in front of ze children!

D: Chaps, chaps, please. Actually the reason I’ve called is that…

F: Eez zat it’s up to us whether you lose your job or UKIP it. Get it? UKIP it? You like l’esprit français?

D: Er, the joke doesn’t quite work in English…

A: Ze joke is on you, my friend. You vant concessions form us, nicht wahr? Sehr gut. How about a McDonald’s one? Or vould you prefer KFC? 

D: Do let’s be serious, please. I need something from you, chaps, some sort of gag I can shove down the bastards’ throats…

F: Valérie me tells…

A: Oh shut up, Frank. No one cares vot your bit on ze side tells you. Dave here has a point. Vee don’t give him somesing, it’s auf wiedersehen, England, in ze near future.

D: Exactly. I can only keep the bastards at bay for so long. They’re already saying I’m a lame-duck party leader and a sitting-duck PM…

F: Duck, c’est votre Cockney rhyming slang, but no?

A: Oh shut up, Frank. Let’s give Dave his fish back, for example…

D: Er… that’s a good idea, Angie. But I was thinking more along the lines of going back to just a free-trade deal. You know, no Court of Human Rights, no political integration…

A: Das ist ausgeschlossen! Out of ze question! Unmöglich! Im-bloody-possible!

F: Ange has reason, Daveed. Eizer in or out. Oui like you, you’re a European true. So if you vant somesing fishy, like some of your fish back, we can talk dinde, turkey. Valérie me tells…

A: Oh shut up, Frank. But do pay achtung to ze tings Frank says, Dave. Vee can help, but vee don’t vant to make a mess of ze EU…

Here the transcript ends. According to my source, Dave turned off his tape recorder just as he began to explain to his European partners what’s what.

If I’m ousted as party leader, he said off the record, Britain will have an in-out referendum immediately, not in four years, not in five years, not when pigs will fly. Schweinen don’t fly, Angela is reported to have replied. François then seemed to have suggested that taking things literally is a national German trait, only to be told to shut up by Angela.

As Valérie says, objected François, we must learn to adapt to the situation as it changes. Ach nein, said Angela as quoted by my source, you can’t teach an old rottweiler new tricks, especially not after she’s done half of Paris.

After that the conversation degenerated to mutual insults, with Angela calling François der Frosch, and François countering that the word rhymes with boche. During that exchange Dave stayed on the sidelines, thinking that his estimate of four years for negotiations was, if anything, too optimistic.


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