2021 Apr 04 - France/EU/Astrazeneca

Tragedy as a 51 people were killed in a horrific train derailment, the accident was labeled, “made in Taiwan”
The BBC also announced that Sue Cook was going to be leaving A Question of Sport, presumably along with most of its viewers
And in Covid news, Scotland lifted its ‘stay at home’ rule, although it’s not expected to have any impact on whether the football team travels to the World Cup next year

The big story for me this week though has been the increasingly farcical situation involving France, the EU and the Astra Zeneca Vaccine. It’s perhaps worth looking at the timeline of what’s been going on

1. The EU made an absolute pigs ear of it’s Covid response, from evangelising on open borders in the midst of a pandemic, to promising a strong financial response that was a little bit like the dragon my little boy drew the other day, very cool on paper but utterly fictitious
2. The UK on the other hand is a world medical research leaders and was quick to test, license and roll out drugs faster than someone backstage at Woodstock. It even also rained a lot. But we ended up in a situation where for a while there were more vaccinated Germans living in the UK than there were in Germany
3. The president of France is Emmanual Macron and he played the EU anthem at his inauguration and sees the bloc as something to be embraced as a tool for French supremacy. He tried to block vaccine exports from Belgium and Italy in order to divert them to France and later when that failed miserably he was the ultimate bad loser and started spreading conspiracy theories about the Astrazenecca vaccine being deadly. It’s unknow whether he believes in other theories such as flat-earth or bigfoot, although he’s presumably called 30 cm in France. Either way, it’s like a petulant child claiming that they didn’t want any ice cream anyway.
4. Now we’re in a bizarre situation where having backpedaled, the French public no longer trust the medical establishment and the country is sinking into another wave of death and a second summer of lockdown, all while the British tourism industry is preparing to reopen. There’s an old Christmas cracker joke about how France's favourite pharmaceutical is “Parisetamol” but those Parisians are more likely to be staying at home than going to the doctor and vast stocks of vaccines are now having to be systematically destroyed because they’re passing their use by dates. Medicine does not get better with age like a bottle of claret or a slab of Roquefort. If I was going to use a cheese pun, I’d say the situation is not gouda and if I was going to use a wine pun then I’d say that things were far from rosé
5. Michelle Barnier of all people is now attacking the EU for compliance and incompetency which for the UK is like watching the poacher become the gamekeeper. It’s also an election year coming up soon in France and Emmanuel Macron therefore has no option but to go all in and drag the EU further into the gutter. Thus we now see him blaming Brussels and London for holding back France, which is a gameplan that Marine Le Pen frankly knows how to play a lot better.
6. All the meanwhile Germany is letting all this happen, languishing under Angela Merkel’s slow departure and a lack of strong leadership. Although given what Germany’s like when do get a strong leader every hundred years or so, that’s probably a darned good thing. France and Germany, as bad as each other really. I once heard that the Germans conquered France by matching in backwards so that the frogs would think that the were leaving.
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