Victory for Mr Not Le Pen

My French friends must be happy that for the next few years the Palais de l’Élysée will be inhabited by both a perpetrator and a victim of statutory rape.

The criminal is Brigitte Trogneux, who 24 years ago seduced her pupil Manny Macron. According to modern ethos, this was supposed to traumatise the poor boy for life. It was also supposed to put the offender behind bars or at least have her struck off for life.

Now speaking from personal experience, or rather lack thereof, I doubt I would have felt traumatised if one of my better-looking female teachers had seduced me at 15. I know that none of my subsequent experiences, modest as they were, left an indelible scar.

In Manny’s case, such a traumatic experience would have been even less likely because, as one hears, he’s otherwise inclined anyway. Oh well, as that Brooklyn woman said, “Oedipus, schmedipus, as long he loves his Mum…”

Still, there are legal aspects to consider here, mutatis mutandis. Yes, the age of consent in France is 15, which is truer to life than our own puritanical 16, but rather more restrictive than Estonia’s 14 (I wonder if my travel agent has good deals on London-Tallinn airfares).

So Brigitte wouldn’t have been culpable on those grounds, but even naughty France frowns on 40-year-old teachers seducing 15-year-old pupils over whom they have authority. Too bad that France has copied the US in having statutes of limitations in its laws.

Yet I’m happy to see that, even if Manny found the original experience traumatic, he has then parlayed it into a rather successful political career. The statutory rapist is now ensconced at the presidential palace, and she’s even getting an unpaid job in the government.

I’m not certain what her title will be. Minister for plastic surgery in charge of oedipal affairs? Whatever it is, I’m sure Brigitte will handle it with élan – she strikes me as that kind of girl.

If you detect a note of frivolity in my treatment of this momentous event in French history, you’re right. It’s that rotten habit I have of relying on levity when gravity is impossible.

If you can find anything serious to say about the bone-crushing nonentity that’s Manny Macron, by all means enlighten me. If you can’t – and I’m sure you won’t be able to – then you must agree that the only qualification Manny has for presiding over one of the world’s most significant states isn’t what he is but what he isn’t: Marine Le Pen.

Modern politics just about everywhere, not just in France, has become a secular answer to apophatic theology. People justify their vote in purely negative terms; they vote not for but against.

I can’t for the life of me see how anybody, with the possible exception of Brigitte, can be enthusiastic about Manny qua Manny. He mouths platitudes on every subject under the sun without even realising that some of them – well, most – are mutually exclusive.

He talks about free trade while professing undying devotion to the EU, which, as a protectionist bloc, is the exact opposite of free trade. He talks about loving France and then screams his banalities to the accompaniment of the EU anthem and against the backdrop of the EU stars.

(It’s telling that the EU chose one of Beethoven’s few awful pieces, the last movement of his Ninth Symphony, as its anthem, and one of Europe’s few ugly capitals, Brussels, as its own.)

He mouths utter gibberish about Britain having imposed ‘liberal values’ on the EU, to which Europe can now say good riddance with a sigh of relief – while reaffirming his commitment to those same liberal values that in actual fact haven’t been imposed on the EU by Britain or anyone else.

Manny is a typical internationalist socialist apparatchik, who first pretended he was a socialist and then pretended he wasn’t. There’s really nothing one can say about him that hasn’t already been said about our own Tony Blair – another jumped-up nonentity committed to self-aggrandisement via supra-national politics. And Manny doesn’t even have Tony’s gift of the gab, such as it is.

What is worth talking about seriously is the huge disappointment experienced by our own Ukip types at the defeat of Putin’s inept employee Marine Le Pen.

Yes, she dislikes the EU, but then so does Putin – and so does every fascist party in Europe. But Le Pen’s economics is pure Trotsky – and everything else is pure Mussolini. So how does one make a choice between a mindless EU apparatchik and a mindless national socialist? This is your clear-cut case of apophatic politics: voting not for but against.

Seeing the world through the prism of that one issue is exactly what killed Ukip, which should remind us of the moral and intellectual paucity of single-issue politics. I despise it even when I happen to agree with the single issue, as I do in this case.

I detest the EU as much as does any fully paid-up member of Ukip – possibly even more because my objections to it are not just parochially patriotic but generally moral. I’ve lived under a regime totally based on lies, and I know the pitfalls involved.

But the regime I’ve lived under was also fascist, in the broad sense of the word, and I’m aware of those pitfalls too. It’s a matter of choosing the pitfall into which to stumble.

Given that choice, I’d rather spend half of my time in a sovereign Britain with the toxic EU dust shaken off her feet. But I’d rather spend the other half (as I do now) in a France enthralled in the evil I know, a tyrannical, utterly corrupt, mendacious EU, than in a France reeling under a fascist despotism I don’t know, but know everything about.

Add to this another dimension, that of Putin calling in his chits if Le Pen had won the election, and Manny, despicable zero that he is, and married to his surgically modified surrogate mother, becomes the lesser evil – an evil though he undoubtedly is nonetheless.

‘Harry Hewitt’ vs the BBC

A couple of years ago, a stand-up comedian cracked a joke about the royal family celebrating the Queen’s birthday. “It was a small affair,” he said. “Just the close family – and Harry.”

The joke was rewarded with uproarious laughter because the audience was familiar with the persistent rumour that Prince Harry was sired by his mother’s lover, Capt. James Hewitt.

Now, according to The Times, “this outrageous and discredited insinuation” will resurface in King Charles III, a BBC drama to be shown on Wednesday.

Apparently Harry’s love interest asks him: “Is Charles really your dad? Or was it the other one?” Now considering the pervasive nature of the rumour that just won’t die, the question is plausible if tactless and probably groundless.

Yet the very fact that it’ll be asked has caused an uproar from all sorts of predictable quarters fronted by Rosa Monckton. I don’t know what Miss Monckton’s CV actually says, but I know what it should say: Professional Friend and Closest Confidante of Diana.

I’m sure she must possess other qualifications as well, but much of her popular appeal comes from acting as a self-appointed guardian of Diana’s reputation and legacy, such as they are.

Donning that hat yet again, Miss Monckton said: “The BBC is deliberately causing pain to a real living person in a salacious fashion. The fact is this is not a harmless myth – these people are still alive.”

On her own touchy-feely terms she’s doubtless right. Prince Harry won’t enjoy watching that “insinuation” come back to life, “outrageous and discredited” as it may be. After all, this young man is endowed with extrovert hypersensitivity, as he doesn’t mind showing to all and sundry in the very same media.

Now I for one am ready to accept the evidence that Prince Harry was born before his mother two-timed his father, the eponymous King Charles III to be – especially since Hewitt himself says the same thing. Harry does look like Hewitt, but that’s no proof of paternity. Neither is Harry’s ginger hair, as anyone who has seen Diana’s red-headed brother Lord Spencer can confirm.

Still, it’s possible that Hewitt et al. are lying to protect her sacred memory and especially the reputation of the royal family – I doubt we’ll ever know or care to know the indisputable truth.

Yet the criticism levelled at the BBC is fully justified on both specific and general grounds. For the BBC makes it its daily business to violate the Charter it must obey to qualify for public money. The first three items specified therein demand “sustaining citizenship and civil society, promoting education and learning, stimulating creativity and cultural excellence.”

If the BBC ever does any of these things, it’s only by accident. Most of the time it runs tawdry entertainment (which I’m sure King Charles III will be) or else vents its left-wing bias through pseudo-serious programmes pitched at an intellectual level between mental vacuity and retardation.

Having said all that, Miss Monckton, or for that matter Prince Harry, shouldn’t get too worked up about this. For Diana only has herself to blame, posthumously as it may be. She herself besmirched her reputation by embarking on multiple affairs, of which the one with Hewitt was the most publicised but neither the first nor the last.

This was accompanied by expert manipulation of the media, culminating in that notorious BBC interview in which Diana flapped her eyelashes histrionically and admitted with girlish gasps that she “adored him”.

Now, even if the mauvaises langues cast aspersion on Harry’s paternal descent, his maternal lineage is in no doubt: he has inherited his mother’s vulgar tendency to wear her sensitive heart on her sleeve, unaware that this sartorial habit may cake that organ in grime.

He and his brother would do better choosing their paternal grandparents for role models. They’d then learn how to discharge their duties with reticent and selfless dignity, serving the public rather than acting out their own – and their mother’s – notions of emotional incontinence.

Both Diana and her paramour got off lightly, for both committed not just a marital indiscretion but a state crime. Specifically, they violated the Treason Act of 1351 that’s still in force today.

According to the Act, adultery with the wife of the king or heir to the throne is high treason punishable by death. At the time Diana played the beast with two backs with Hewitt, high treason was the only crime calling for the capital punishment, although that has since been replaced by life imprisonment.

The Act is ambivalent on whether or not the wife herself is equally guilty, but any clever barrister would doubtless cite precedents, such as Anne Boleyn, who lost her pretty head by supposedly having been unfaithful to Henry VIII.

Such touchiness in this matter is natural, for the wife’s hanky-panky outside the royal bed may raise doubts about succession, which can be deadly to the whole dynasty. This, to me, is a more interesting angle from which to examine Diana’s amorous record.

It’s also a good reason for Miss Monckton and other Diana hagiographers to moderate their indignation at the BBC’s lèsemajesté. People may accuse them of sharing their heroine’s talent for disingenuous manipulation.

Priestly guide to elections

When Christ said that his kingdom was not of this world, he must have anticipated the need to keep our Anglican hierarchy a safe distance away from this world.

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York have issued a letter, guiding 16,000 parishes to the right electoral choices. Since the letter doesn’t say what such choices would be, parishioners must be perplexed.

The letter manifestly lacks evangelical absolutism. It’s like tagging the phrase ‘on the other hand…’ to each of the Ten Commandments: “Thou shalt not steal, but on the other hand…”

Their Graces start by exhorting Christians to live according to Christian principles. This is unassailable, but then truisms always are – that’s why they are truisms. The difficulty arises when Christian principles are related to political realities.

Theology is ‘the queen of all sciences’ because it reigns supreme in making intellectual demands on its practitioners. Only the deepest and subtlest of minds can grasp theological intricacies – and put political, economic and social realities on a theological footing.

I hope no one will take umbrage if I suggest that Justin Welby and John Sentamu aren’t in the upper tier of the world’s thinkers. In fact, if this letter is anything to go by, they’re closer to the basement.

Their Graces stress the importance of “urgent and serious solutions to our housing challenges”, flag the need for a “confident and flourishing health service” and decry “the exclusion of the poorest groups from future economic life”.

On the other hand, they warn that “there are dangers of an economy over-reliant on debt”. Really? And I thought Christ was in favour of borrowing: “Give to him that asketh thee, and from him that would borrow of thee turn not thou away.”

Then again, Jesus wasn’t laying down responsible fiscal principles for our Chancellor. In this world one wonders how Their Graces propose to reconcile the huge increase in public spending they seem to have in mind with reducing reliance on debt.

For a huge increase in government spending is exactly what it would take to meet “our housing challenges”, make our pathetic health service “confident and flourishing” and include “the poorest groups” into “future economic life”.

Where’s the money going to come from? Especially since Their Graces praise the pledge by the Conservatives and Labour to spend 0.7 per cent of GDP on foreign aid? It’s that sacramental phrase ‘on the other hand’ that’s implied here.

The issue of immigration also has two hands in the episcopal body of thought. On the one hand, we must extend “a generous and hospitable welcome to refugees and migrants”. But on the other hand, “We should not be deaf to the legitimate concerns that have been expressed about the scale of population flows.”

So which is it? Listening to ‘the legitimate concerns’ or extending ‘a generous and hospitable welcome’? Since ‘the legitimate concerns’ centre around keeping outsiders out or at least down to a bare minimum, the two are mutually exclusive.

Anyway, which party is more likely to uphold the virtues extolled by Their Graces, provided we understand what they are? Oh well, these “are not the preserve of any one political party”.

Now I’m really confused. Labour is a party of cosmic indebtedness (as opposed to the merely stratospheric kind favoured by the Tories). Moreover, when in government, it demonstrated its inability to solve our housing problems, sort out the NHS or include the poor into economic life in any other than a freeloading capacity. On the contrary, they made all those problems far worse.

They’re sound on generosity and hospitality to migrants, but not on listening to the legitimate concerns about this generosity tearing our social fabric to tatters. I’d say that leaves the Tories in the driving seat by the process of elimination.

Their Graces then broach the subject of foreign trade, which ought to be “effective and just”. Meaning what exactly, other than another vapid bien pensant generality? Britain, they say, must remain an “outward looking and generous country”. It’s that G-spot again. Does this mean that we should continue to give money to the EU? Or do foreign trade at a loss? Or turn foreign trade into foreign aid?

Then they talk about “historic failures” of our educational system, which Their Graces ascribe to overemphasising academic subjects. Here we’ve left the area of meaningless circumlocution to enter one of ignorance and fatuity.

Some 80 per cent of our school leavers have problems reading, writing and adding up. Against that backdrop it’s sheer lunacy to talk about our schools being too academic. “Historic failures” have been caused by turning schools into social engineering labs, which project was animated by exactly the socialist ideology Their Graces really espouse.

What else? Oh yes, “the greatest burdens of austerity have not been borne by those with the broadest shoulders”, and it’s all Mrs Thatcher’s fault.

This is leftie waffle at its most soaring. Austerity means cutting government spending, not slowing the tempo of its growth from suicidal to merely promiscuous. Since public spending has been steadily growing, talking about austerity is simply ignorant. And yes, when public spending grows more slowly, recipients of government largesse will notice the change more than those who pay their own way.

There’s a hint at wealth redistribution here, but again Their Graces don’t come out and say it. By the same token they only talk about “re-examining” the Trident deterrent, when what they really favour is unilateral disarmament.

It’s only inadvertently that they said something that rings true. The election, according to Their Graces, is an opportunity to “…reimagine our shared values as a country”.

What’s only imagined (or ‘reimagined) isn’t real. Their Graces live in an imaginary world governed by imaginary, not real, ‘values’. Hence they’re outside the reality of both the United Kingdom — and that other one that is not of this world.

Putin, the president maker manqué

Vlad dislikes the EU, which is good. Alas, he dislikes it only because he wrongly thinks it epitomises the West, which he hates. That’s not so good.

You see, Vlad isn’t just a career KGB officer but a visceral one. The KGB has been encoded into his DNA, which is why he shares all the foibles of that sinister organisation. He’s capable of perfidy, but not of subtlety. Cleverness, but not depth. Tactics, but not strategy.

His tendency is to rely on the more primitive tricks from the KGB bag: ‘whacking in the shithouse’ (to use his inaugural phrase), bribery, honey trap, blackmail.

At times he gets so carried away with such expedients that he loses sight of the desired goal, running the risk of the means not so much justifying the end as sabotaging it.

Vlad has taken Russia out of a short siding and put her back on the imperial track, which she has ridden for 500 years or so. Yet the mysterious Russian soul is such that the Russians seldom pursue imperial ambitions for material gain. Expansion is usually their aim in itself, and in pursuit of it they’re prepared to let their self-interest suffer.

Putin has found a way of exploiting this craving on the part of the populace, but at a cost. Moscow is full of posters and bumper stickers saying “To Berlin!”, “We can do it again!” and some such. Some of these also feature portraits of Stalin, who’s now almost as popular as he was in his lifetime.

The KGB junta is expertly whipping such grassroots sentiments into a hysteria, hoping this will make people forget that their standard of living is in the Chad and Gambia territory, while their human rights occupy an even lower plateau and their press is less free than in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Venezuela (Reporters Without Borders rating).

The downside is that an openly hostile stance towards the West may shake it out of its normal torpor. There are signs already that the West is losing, albeit slowly, some of its demob happiness. Military budgets are growing at a snail’s pace, if at all, but at least Russia is now generally identified as a hostile power.

Vlad could change all that, but his KGB viscera won’t let him. For example, if he saw the EU for what it is, a nail in the coffin of Western polity, he’d portray himself as its friend rather than implacable enemy.

Perhaps he could even ingratiate Russia into EU membership and then slowly take over by subverting that wicked organisation from within. As the only virile military power in Europe, Russia could then make the entire EU work for her, the way it now works for Germany.

Instead, KGB Vlad does what comes naturally: provocation, blackmail, disinformation, sabotage, cultivation of extremist parties – all bound to kill the dairy cow he could instead profitably milk.

Witness his current meddling in French elections. Le Pen’s National Front isn’t so much Putin’s client as his employee – it’s on Putin’s payroll. Hence he has thrown his KGB knowhow behind Marine, knowing that her victory would enable him to recoup his investment with a huge interest.

Not being an expert in clandestine tradecraft, I wouldn’t presume to offer Vlad any advice. But it’s reasonably clear that his own undoubted expertise has backfired by making Marine come across as the vicious demagogue she really is.

Every molecule in Vlad’s KGB body says that dripping some dirt on Macron into the public domain will give Marine a leg up. And then who knows, she might win and gratefully act as Vlad’s battering ram bringing the EU down.

To that end Russian heirs to the KGB First Chief Directorate expertly spread rumours that Macron evades taxes by hiding money in an offshore account. Realising that she was losing the presidential TV debate, Marine alluded to the rumours – only to get herself sued for her trouble.

I’ve followed numerous televised debates in various countries, but I’ve never seen one candidate suing another for libel. Macron would never have done that if he were unsure of the outcome: he knows that Le Pen’s KGB sponsors won’t be able to come up with any prima facie evidence.

So far Marine hasn’t referred to the other rumour also spread by the FSB, one referring to Macron’s ambivalent sexuality. Unlike the accusation of financial impropriety, this one has been around for a while and it’s probably less groundless.

Some of my French friends have inside knowledge of their country’s politics, and for them Macron’s bisexuality is hardly a secret. His close friendship with the male head of Radio France is also widely known.

Manny’s denials would sound more convincing if he stopped wearing two wedding rings and in general were less blatant about it. That he doesn’t go out of his way to conceal his predilection shows that he doesn’t regard any possible revelations as unduly damaging. Basically, no one in France gives a damn.

My friends, who despise Macron but detest Le Pen, fear that the Russians may at the last moment produce some photographs that could scupper Manny’s bid, but those photos would have to be truly disgusting to impress the blasé French.

I for one would love to see Vlad wearing a long mac and whispering “Hey, handsome, wanna see some feelthy pictures?”, which is roughly his natural level. But meanwhile he has reinforced his growing reputation as a geopolitical saboteur of legitimate politics.

Many Westerners are aghast, and their governments are beginning to take heed. What they’re going to do about it remains to be seen. But before long they’ll have to do something to neutralise the growing Russian threat. Vlad is bound to learn sooner or later that KGB tradecraft isn’t quite the same as statecraft.

Long live the EU!

Driving home from France yesterday, I stopped for a long and boozy lunch at a lovely medieval town called Laon. Along with a glorious cathedral, it boasts a tattooing and piercing parlour at every corner and a hairstyling salon called ‘Blond Shag’.

It’s good to see that the English ethos and language are making inroads into the very heart of the EU. Makes one feel at home, that, Brexit or no Brexit.

And speaking of Brexit, Jean-Claude Juncker, ‘Junk’ to his friends, is getting a lot of bad press these days – mostly because of his demanding a modest exit fee from Britain.

People call him intransigent, fanatical, greedy, alcoholic and many other things that can’t be mentioned in a public medium accessible to children. This is most unfair, especially since Junk always runs his list of demands by me before making it public.

This morning, for example, he sent me the most recent list he compiled last night, or rather at five in the morning, when Junk had just got home after a most profitable time out with friends. Apparently, Junk had bet them €100 that he could drink a yard of whisky – and won.

(For the benefit of those of you who haven’t lived, a yard is measured out on the bar and full shot glasses are set all along the line. The bettor then empties them in turn, going from left to right without stopping.)

Appropriately refreshed, Junk felt positively magnanimous, which is why his demands are so reasonable, and I for one could find nothing wrong with them. See what you think (I’m quoting Junk’s prose verbatim, including his customary mishmash of languages):

“Dear Alex, it’s stark raving verrückt to think of Brexit as leaving a club. Ces Schweinhunden rosbifs ought to think of it as a divorce. Britain is a rich old homme who marries a beautiful much younger Mädchen and 15 years later files for divorce. It’s only fair that he maintain her for Leben in the style to which she has become habituée, nicht war? Let’s stop dickering about a billion here, billion there and call it an even trillion Deutschmarks, aka euros. Jawohl?

La même chose applies to the Mädchen’s Kinder, who reside in Britain or will do so in the future. Britain must pay lifetime child support for them, otherwise known as welfare. Much has been made lately of the unemployment rate among EU immigrants, which currently stands at 14 per cent, three times the national average. That misses le point. It’s outrageous that 86 per cent (sick!!!) of the Mädchen’s Kinder are forced to work for a living. Nostalgic for those Victorian workhouses, are you, britische Schweinhunden?

“And just because Sie leben in Britain, it doesn’t mean these pauvres Kinder should obey British laws. They’ll live and die by the laws of their Mutter, the EU. Ordnung surtout!

“Ireland wasn’t so much married as violée. If Britain the rapist doesn’t wish to spend the next 50 years in prison, a compensation is called for. Ulster springs to mind, and I mean not the overcoat but the seven northern counties Ireland lost along with her virginité. They must be incorporated into the Republic and therefore the EU: Ein volk, Fourth Reich, ein Juncker.

“Committed as I am to liberté, fraternité, Aligoté, I think that not only Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales must stay in the EU if they so choose (or even if they don’t), but also such formerly independent parts of England as Mersey and Wessex. Les rosbif are obsessed with sovereignty, nicht war? Bien, what’s sauce pour l’oie is sauce pour le gander. Heil sovereignty!

“These are the only major demands I can think of this late at night or rather early in the morning. There are also some minor ones:

Les rosbifs must stop describing me in pejorative terms, such as ‘alkie’, ‘whisky breath’, ‘piss artist’, ‘juicer’, ‘boozer’ and ‘wino’. Just because an homme can drink a yard of whisky he’s none of those choses. Call me a bon vivant if you must. But do call me to a piss-up.

“They must also stop comparing mon amie Angie Merkel to Hitler. Her moustache is smaller, her poitrine is bigger, and she doesn’t gas Juden. There are other differences as well, but I can’t think of them this early in der Morgen.

“Write to me if I’ve left anything out. Must pop out to les toilettes now. You know how they say ‘in vino vomit us?’ A bientôt. Your Freund Junk”

I haven’t replied to Junk’s letter yet, but at first glance I find his demands perfectly reasonable. And if you don’t, you’re a bigot, Little Englander, reactionary and – in all likelihood – also a homophobe, global warming denier and a male chauvinist Schwein.

Oh well, back to my deep thoughts about the EU and sordid fantasies about the Blond Shag, which, according to the sign, is only available at that hairstylist’s. A la prochaine, Laon!

Define success, Junk

Jean-Claude ‘Just call me Junk’ Juncker told Theresa May that Brexit “cannot be a success”.

Now Junk ought to be breathalysed before anything he says can be taken seriously. But even some relatively sober people say the same thing with monotonous regularity.

They’re right. Depending on how success is defined, nothing can ever succeed. If military victory is expected to be achieved with no casualties whatsoever, then every war in history has ended in defeat. If only zero mortality makes a hospital successful, then no hospital is.

The success or failure of Brexit can be judged on an endless list of criteria, which list can be modified to produce whatever result we want. For example, I’m certain that Brexit won’t succeed in enabling England to win the next World Cup, eliminating crime or increasing the average life expectancy to a hundred.

I therefore propose we crystallise the proposition down to its essential element, always keeping in mind the dictionary definition of success: achieving the desired effect.

Here Britain and Junk are indeed “galaxies apart”, as has been suggested. For Britain, the desired effect of Brexit is to leave the EU, thereby regaining sovereignty. For Junk, the desired effect is exactly the opposite: to sabotage Brexit altogether or, barring that, make it so costly that no other member will dare follow suit.

Hence leaving the EU, whatever it entails, is ipso facto Britain’s success and Junk’s failure. The line of demarcation couldn’t be clearer than that, yet our government continues to aid Junk in his efforts to smudge it into invisibility.

Mrs May must understand – or, if she already does, acknowledge – that no Brexit negotiations with Junk and his friends are possible because they’ll never negotiate in good faith.

Actually, there’s really nothing to negotiate. HMG should forget all that Article 50 nonsense and withdraw the country from the EU effective immediately. We could then discuss the attendant technical details from a position of sovereign strength, not as victims of blackmail. Simple, isn’t it?

No deal isn’t just better than a bad deal, in Mrs May’s phrase. No deal is better than any deal, because Britain’s sovereignty shouldn’t be subject to any horse trading.

Simplicity breeds simplicity. For example, once we’re out, Mrs May could make a simple counteroffer to Junk’s demand for a £50 billion exit fee: not a penny. Show me a contract, she ought to be saying, that stipulates a cancellation fee. You can’t? Sorted. Next item. Sue us? Go ahead. But which court do you suggest, considering we’re out of the European Court’s jurisdiction?

Ireland? None of your business. That issue was settled in 1921-1922, long before the EU was a twinkle in those Vichy eyes. If any border issues exist, we’ll sort them out with the Republic. No outside help necessary, thank you very much.

Gibraltar? It has been British since the 1713 Treaty of Urtrecht. That’s long enough for Junk not to burden his head with such trivia – especially since Gibraltarians have almost unanimously rejected Spanish sovereignty in two separate referendums.

The right of EU citizens? The same as they had been before Maastricht. Europeans are welcome to visit Britain, without visas.

However, if they wish to stay, each case will be considered individually, depending on a variety of factors, such as employment, criminal record, family ties etc. The same applies to EU citizens already resident in Britain. Those we consider useful and acceptable can stay. Others will be asked to go – and that includes the 14 per cent of EU immigrants currently unemployed (three times the national rate).

Since the desired end of Brexit is sovereignty, leaving the EU will be Britain’s success whatever the economic consequences. Though hard to predict, one suspects they’ll be neither as catastrophic as the Remainers suggest nor as benign as their opponents believe.

If the EU indeed wanted fair negotiations, all trade issues could be decided instantly. Considering that Britain had been the world’s greatest trading power for centuries before the EU blessed the world with its presence, the matter can’t be unduly complicated.

But the EU isn’t a negotiator looking for a fair deal. It’s a blackmailer threatening to send various portions of the hostage’s anatomy in the post. Or not just the hostage’s: the EU is ready to cut off its own nose to spite its face.

The essence of business negotiations is trying to arrive at a mutual benefit. When one side is willing to accept vast losses for the sake of punishing the other, the only possible response was suggested by Clint Eastwood: “Go ahead. Make my day.”

Specifically, we should do in any case what our Chancellor only dangled as a threat: attract foreign trade by drastically reducing corporate taxes and regulations. Since the City is already the world’s financial centre, this would go a long way towards nullifying EU threats.

They may start a trade war but, unless they’re ready to defy WTO rules, they won’t be able to impose tariffs greater than four per cent. Even provided we reciprocate, we’ll be paying only a bit more for German cars or French wine.

Or we might bite the bullet and start driving Japanese cars and drinking Australian wines. This would be a serious hardship, but not in the context of restoring our ancient constitution.

Personally, I’d make this sacrifice for the sheer pleasure of watching Frau Merkel squirm under the wrath of German car manufacturers – or observing French vintners building barricades in the middle of Paris.

Junk got it wrong: Brexit can’t fail to be a success even if the bean counters have a point. Whatever price there’s to pay for freedom, it’ll be trivial compared to the price Britain paid in 1939-1945. You know, during Germany’s previous attempt to unite Europe.