isIf this week has shown anything, it’s that the war with France is one of the few policies to still benefit from genuine multi-party support. Brexiters are happy because above all they want armed conflict with the superior frogs. The rest are happy because they’ve always said the Brexiters crave armed conflict with the superior frogs, and they want to be right in a losing cause.
Other than getting paid by the government not to work, it’s hard to think of another idea in recent years that everyone has rallied around with such enthusiasm. In difficult times, we must be thankful for these fleeting bursts of unity.
I’m as excited about the conflict as the next man, unless he lives on the Isle of Wight, but I’m afraid the commanders haven’t thought through the implications. Because there will be only one winner: France. For all the ape-surrender talk, the story couldn’t be clearer. When we defeated France, in the Napoleonic or Seven Years Wars, we did so with German help. Whenever we try to go it alone, we have to rush home, little bulldog tails clipped between our legs: Hundred Years War, War of 1778, Norman Conquest. I’m not sure Mrs Merkel wants a scrap.
There will be some initial grounds for hope. Led by Dominic Raab in a complete kit and shin guards, the SAS will parachute and seize our ancestral alcohol warehouses across the Channel. The bourgeois of Calais will be force-fed English burgers they were so rude in the 90s.
It will not last. In time, the Foreign Legion will march down Oxford Street, while their generals plunder Mister Bean DVDs and albums Oasis of the smoking wreck of the HMV. Rowan Atkinson will eventually be ousted from his bunker, Saddam-style, and forced to perform Bean skits for 20 hours a day. The Queen will be exiled to Balmoral in the newly independent vassal state of Scotland, replaced by the leader of the puppet transition, Arsene Wenger. Entering his new quarters of Downing Street, Mr Macron will sadly shake his head at the depraved extravagance that has led to such wallpaper, the last gasps of a venal and corrupt administration.
Coming from a family of 1066 breaths, I am in conflict. Am I happy that we are losing the war with France? It’s hard to say. As is their custom, our new rulers will strip every open space of all grass and replace it with that weird pink gravel they are so obsessed with. Eton will keep its name but will fulfill a new role as the National Technocratic School.
No longer able to define themselves in patriotic opposition with their French counterparts, our holiday towns will be deserted, with disastrous effects on housing prices. The kettle and baked beans factories will be destroyed. Rather than a Byzantine dance of conspiracy and interviews, the next series of Course of action It will be six hours of horny college students beaten up by cops. Now that Daft Punk is disbanded, there will be no one to make the front page of Glastonbury. Coffee will become undrinkable and, strangely, so will tea.
It won’t all be bad. France is sometimes described as a paradise populated by people who think they are living in hell, which is the opposite of Surrey. There will be advantages: cooked breakfast will be prohibited, replaced by breakfast at room temperature, and lunch will be compulsory. Pret a Manger will be seized by the state, briefly renamed Ready to Eat and then razed to the ground to encourage others. Canned duck confit will no longer have to be smuggled in the bundles of family cars but will be made available in all newsstands.
There will be wine everywhere, except at McDonald’s, where there will be beer. The price of Greggs sausage rolls will be capped by the state. It will cost money to drive on the highways, but they will all be amazing.
Rather than berating our politicians for extra-marital shenanigans, we will be forced to admire them and instead berate those who make the mistake of marrying their lovers. It will be impossible to get a job but also impossible to be made redundant. Everyone will work less but, inexplicably, will be more productive. Everyone will retire at 62, except train drivers who will retire at 52. All parents will have access to inexpensive child care. We will have a national anthem with a noticeable melody.
When we lose the war with France, England will be the winner.