It's no great surprise that Donald Tusk's response to Mrs May's Mansion House speech looks and sounds as morose as his facial expression. He really needs to work on his laughter lines - he'll age prematurely otherwise.
It's almost an automatic response - Mrs May wants free trade - inclusive of financial services -exit from the single market and customs union, continued involvement in various specialist European institutions like Euratom and a severance from the ECJ's supremacy; the Tusk response is, well, we might give you a little bit on free trade but not inclusive of financial services, but we can't accept that outside the customs union you can have frictionless borders and, naturally, if you want us to play ball then the ECJ will remain the place to legislate on disputes, tariffs and countless other bureaucratic measures. Oh, and incidentally, you'll not have any say in what the EU legislates for but the ECJ may force you to comply with what we all decide. Sounds great, doesn't it ? If this is just pre-negotiation posturing then we might excuse some of the schoolboy 'yah-boo!' demands (perhaps on both sides).
Whatever everyone wants, however, is not going to be what everyone gets - as Mrs May pointedly stated at the Mansion House, but it does seem as though the two negotiating sides are still wide apart. Time is short now, very short. Let us hope that we can leave the schoolboy tactics at the gates and get on with the real stuff as rapidly as possible.
El Trumpo is still losing key White House staff. The man behind the innovative tax reforms of recent times, Gary Cohn, has resigned over Trump's proposed imposition of import tariffs on steel and aluminium, and by association all goods containing them. A man of principle, we might think. Later news releases might tell us more on that but we might also wonder as to what Trumpy's intentions are in announcing trade tariffs at a time when global free trade is showing the way to economic growth. In the past he has made radical announcements as a way of deflecting attention to some of his less popular outbursts such as Russian involvement in elections and, most recently the revelation (if that's the right word) that he paid a porn star floosey to keep quiet about a relationship they had a dozen or so years back. Nobody is really bothered about a fling with a porn star other than it reflects badly upon the character of the man holding the most powerful office in the world but it is in keeping with that character that he is now mouthing large over trade tariffs. Is this deflection or something else ? Expect denials and a 180 degree turn soon....
David Cameron has been told (by the Commons committee that decides upon what former ministers can use to their advantage in the private sector) that he cannot use his former status to lobby for preferential decisions by current ministers for the plethora of organisations he is now associated with - and that's a long list of companies, institutions and charities. If he's adding any value to all of them then he must have discovered the source of the 72 hour day. Whether this decision will curb his value to those organisations we'll possibly never know, but the only plausible reason for employing an ex-prime minister must surely be to gain advantageous positioning with current government decision makers. Alongside the £12,000 he allegedly charges to attend one of his 'business breakfasts', doesn't this all speak volumes about the venality and lack of integrity in the people who strive to rule us ? And unfortunately for us, the great unwashed masses, come July the restrictions will no longer apply as he will have been out of office for the requisite two years by then ! Gravy train doesn't seem to quite sum it all up, does it ?