‘If we can’t make it with Canada, I don’t think we can make it with the UK’ (EU Commissioner Cecilia Malmström)
There are 97 NUTS regions (Nomenclature of Territorial Units for Statistics) in the EU. One of them, Wallonia, the French-speaking part of Belgium, has refused to sign the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) with Canada. CETA is a free-trade deal like TTIP which many fear will lead to further privatisation of public services including the NHS and consequently damage the pay and conditions of workers. So, my first reaction is ‘Well done Wallonia!’ However, the Canadian Trade Minister and free-trade lover, Christia Freeland (yes), walked out in tears we hear, wondering how those Walloons could be so mean to her ‘kind and patient’ Canada.
One of ninety-seven regions refuses and the deal is off? You can’t help but agree with Cecilia above that this does not bode well for deals with the UK.
Until I read that, I’d been a bit unsure about whether or not we should go for Indyref2 soon or later. I’m sure now. If we want to inherit the UK seat we need to move quickly. We don’t want to see a situation where the Whisky becomes too expensive and thus less attractive than the Cognac or the Schnapps. I know it doesn’t seem at all likely to us connoisseurs of fine drinking but the Germans and the French might not agree. I mean, do either of them even have a word for connoisseur? Equally, we don’t want our whelks losing out in a race for profits with their escargots even if it did take some time for them to disagree with us.
Needless to say the Walloons are getting a bit of stick in the corporate media. The usually soft and gentile Guardian yesterday (21.10.16) asked:
‘Will the fierce Walloons become new bêtes noire for EU leaders?’
Well I hope so, though I am now worried if they plan to undercut our sales of Aberdeen Angus with boeuf from their own bêtes noire.
Indyref2 now before it’s too late and they give that chair at the top table to Amazon or Google!
Footnote: Walloons, Welsh, Wallace, is there a connection? Well yes there is. The Walloons didn’t come up with that daft-sounding name themselves. Why would they? When German tribes (Angles, Saxons, Franks, Goths, Vandals…) invaded the fallen Roman Empire around 400 AD, they found it already occupied by people strange or foreign to them so they conquered them, as you do, called them Walhaz and over time some of those same people came to know themselves as Welsh or Walloons or Vlachs (Romania) and so on. Thus we get the surnames of strange folk in Scotland like Welsh or Wallace. On the Eastern boundary of the Germans in Poland, we even find Lech Walesa. Here’s the techy bit:
‘*Walhaz (ᚹᚨᛚᚺᚨᛉ) is a reconstructed Proto-Germanic word, meaning “foreigner”, “stranger”, “Roman”, “Romance-speaker”, or “Celtic-speaker”. The term was used by the ancient Germanic peoples to describe inhabitants of the former Western Roman Empire, who were largely romanised and spoke Latin or Celtic languages. The adjectival form is attested in Old Norsevalskr, meaning “French”, Old High German walhisk, meaning “Romance”, Modern Germanwelsch, used in Switzerland and South Tyrol for Romance-speakers, Dutch Waals “Walloon”,Old English welisċ, wælisċ, wilisċ, meaning “Romano-British“, and Modern English Welsh.’