The National:

ACROSS the EU we follow British media closely, we read the main newspapers, watch the relevant news shows on television, follow the key politicians and commentators on social media as well as seeing them feature regularly on our own news outlets. We also speak English.

And so this weekend we have been treated to yet another course of English exceptionalism.

Delighted headlines in the most predictable of newspapers cheered on the fact that four naval patrol boats may have to be deployed to protect British fishing waters in the case of a No-Deal Brexit as per contingency planning just released. The reports of massive economic decline, food shortages, huge delays at ports and concerns over the supply of medicines were skipped over.

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Beyond this, one delightful national newspaper used its front page to tell the President of France, a key military ally and economic partner of the UK, to go and shove his croissants.

These gleeful headlines aimed at a particular section of England were accompanied by a series of pieces from some charming commentators and online declarations from the most fundamentalist of Brexit backbenchers.

How does this enable the agreement of a deal, how will this foster good relations, do they know we can hear and read their utterances?

The usual taunts were deployed to declare that the EU is falling apart, that the UK would prosper mightily, that absolute sovereignty must be protected, that all the reports were just project fear and to declare their faux outrage that Boris Johnson had supposedly been snubbed after he had tried to circumvent the EU’s negotiator and negotiate directly with Member States.

The demand was also exhaustively made for the EU to recognise the UK’s new found independence. A fairly hollow remark to 27 Member States that are also independent, not to mention that a Member State like Ireland will soon mark the centenary of gaining its independence from the UK.

Repeated English Ministers and even the Prime Minister himself have once again tried to refer to No Deal as leaving on “Australian terms”, a reliable canard rolled out to try paint an acceptable vista while ignoring their previous commitments to secure a deal, an act declared by the Prime Minister a year ago to be a failure of statecraft.

When it comes to the negotiations on a future relationship, we are very much in injury time and this weekend presents itself as one of the most delicate parts of a very testing exercise. One must therefore question the point of such gunboat diplomacy from sources that regularly urge the conclusion of agreeable terms?

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There is no such thing as a good Brexit, but for us in the EU, it seems the real Brexit return for some of its main cheerleaders is to use it once again to attack supposed friends in the EU. How does this enable the agreement of a deal, how will this foster good relations, do they know we can hear and read their utterances?

Today brings with it the latest deadline in the Brexit process and, as an elected representative for more than a decade committed to always doing what’s best for my country, I sincerely hope that a deal can be secured. If one isn’t secured, it will be because the Prime Minister failed to make a political decision to do so.

No Deal hurts everyone, particularly the UK, and goes against the promises of the Leave campaign to secure a deal while running roughshod over the very many people, including a massive majority in Scotland, that voted to remain.

Perhaps then the gunboat diplomats might reflect that their needless and aggressive rhetoric played a central part in influencing such an action by the British Government while being at best a mild nuisance to those of us it targeted.