power

Jersey: ‘deeply embarrassed by this nonsense’ – reactions to jingoism from papers

The Jersey fishing dispute were the main stories in Friday’s right leaning national papers.

The authorities in Jersey[1] have promised further talks to help resolve the row, but the French government hit out at a “British failure” to abide by the terms of the UK-EU trade deal and warned it would “use all the leverage at our disposal” to protect the fishing industry.

The European Union also accused Jersey of breaching the deal signed by the UK and Brussels.

Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick said efforts would be made to resolve the dispute with Emmanuel Macron’s government and the EU.

“What we have done is make very clear to the French ministers who said some very unwise and disproportionate comments that we will stand with the people of Jersey,” the Cabinet minister said.

Last night ex-speaker John Bercow slammed the Government’s ‘gunboat diplomacy’ on Question Time.[2]

Papers

Well certain newspapers, didn’t take Bercow’s approach, and saw this argument as a great way to do a spot of warmongering with a series of jingoistic headlines.

The Sun cheers the Navy seeing off the protest around the Channel Island’s main port, St Helier, under a fish-themed headline of “Take sprat”.

The Daily Star runs with “‘Allo ‘Allo! French fishermen retreat after Brexit battle”.

The Daily Mail says French fishermen executed a “familiar manoeuvre”, calling it “Le grand surrender”.

And Metro calls the fishing skirmish a “Smash & crab”, reporting on the “French retreat” after a British boat was rammed.

Meanwhile, The Daily Telegraph reports on the “battle of the lobster pots” but leads on the end of facemasks in classrooms.

The Daily Express splashes on forecasts of a strong rebound for Britain’s economy, saying it is set to grow at its fastest rate in 70 years.

The Times leads on same story, while also reporting people younger than 40 will be offered alternatives to the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Reactions

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Related: “Like one of those hostage videos” – reactions to Johnson casting vote with Carrie Symonds[37]

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References

  1. ^ Jersey (www.standard.co.uk)
  2. ^ slammed the Government’s ‘gunboat diplomacy’ on Question Time. (www.thelondoneconomic.com)
  3. ^ https://t.co/5gYaXqggUH (t.co)
  4. ^ pic.twitter.com/b7cl9w36P1 (t.co)
  5. ^ May 6, 2021 (twitter.com)
  6. ^ @dailystar (twitter.com)
  7. ^ #frontpage (twitter.com)
  8. ^ https://t.co/DZvrHq3njl (t.co)
  9. ^ #TomorrowsPapersToday (twitter.com)
  10. ^ pic.twitter.com/hhaACP2B4B (t.co)
  11. ^ May 6, 2021 (twitter.com)
  12. ^ @DailyMailUK (twitter.com)
  13. ^ #MailFrontPages (twitter.com)
  14. ^ pic.twitter.com/YZFjHoTA4L (t.co)
  15. ^ May 6, 2021 (twitter.com)
  16. ^ pic.twitter.com/C24TgdJdSy (t.co)
  17. ^ May 6, 2021 (twitter.com)
  18. ^ #TomorrowsPapersToday (twitter.com)
  19. ^ https://t.co/x8AV4Oomry (t.co)
  20. ^ pic.twitter.com/h8ebFU7XoP (t.co)
  21. ^ May 6, 2021 (twitter.com)
  22. ^ #tomorrowspaperstoday (twitter.com)
  23. ^ https://t.co/B0xeeVTNx9 (t.co)
  24. ^ pic.twitter.com/8axX3xG0iG (t.co)
  25. ^ May 6, 2021 (twitter.com)
  26. ^ #TomorrowsPapersToday (twitter.com)
  27. ^ pic.twitter.com/4yaAn8csk8 (t.co)
  28. ^ May 6, 2021 (twitter.com)
  29. ^ pic.twitter.com/DP77p0N4e5 (t.co)
  30. ^ May 6, 2021 (twitter.com)
  31. ^ May 7, 2021 (twitter.com)
  32. ^ May 7, 2021 (twitter.com)
  33. ^ May 6, 2021 (twitter.com)
  34. ^ pic.twitter.com/KAi79SDmbD (t.co)
  35. ^ May 6, 2021 (twitter.com)
  36. ^ May 7, 2021 (twitter.com)
  37. ^ “Like one of those hostage videos” – reactions to Johnson casting vote with Carrie Symonds (www.thelondoneconomic.com)
  38. ^ click here (www.thelondoneconomic.com)
  39. ^ here (moteefe.com)
  40. ^ SUBSCRIBE TO OUR NEWSLETTER (www.thelondoneconomic.com)

Jersey minister blames French blockade on UK Government’s Brexit trade deal with EU

A leading Jersey minister has insisted the UK Government’s Brexit trade deal[1] with the European Union (EU) is “entirely” to blame for French fishing trawlers blockading the island’s main port[2] on Thursday.

Senator Ian Gorst, Jersey’s external relations minister, also told i that French fishing licence applications being “lost in translation” after taking a “circuitous” route around European Governments before making arriving for consideration in Jersey may also have been a factor behind the blockade.

Senator Gorst said: “It’s entirely to do with Brexit, because historically we’ve had a fishing deal with France, but that all came to an end with the new trade deal that was negotiated post Brexit.”

Following discussions with the French, Senator Gorst added: “I’m pleased to say that the protest today was peaceful. Where we think things have gone wrong is that the evidence we received from the French fishermen, in applications for licences to fish in Jersey waters, was not representative of the historic fishing that those individuals had been doing over the last three years, which is what it should have been.

“The evidence is provided by the French fisherman through a circuitous route. It goes from Normandy fishermen, to Paris, to the EU to the UK, and then down to Jersey. But what’s apparent is that the evidence that we received is not largely representative of what fishermen have told us they have been doing.”

Asked if he felt either the French government[3], the EU or the UK Government would have deliberately withheld the evidence provided in the licence applications from French fishermen’s, Senator Gorst said: “No, not that we’re aware of. There’s certainly an element of it being lost in translation.”

The minister also said he did not expect another blockade on Friday, and that while Jersey was “grateful” for the support from the Royal Navy’s HMS Severn and HMS Tamar he expected they would begin their voyage back to Portsmouth within the next 24 hours. 

“That of course is an operational matter, but I would expect them to leave the waters either later this evening or at some point tomorrow,” Senator Gorst told i.

The minister, who previously served as Jersey’s chief minister for two terms between 2011 and 2018, also blamed French government for escalating the situation around the fishing rights.

Earlier this week French fisheries minister Annick Girardin threatened to cut of the power supply to Jersey by cutting of the electricity supply from France to the Island tax haven.

“EDF have a commercial contract with Jersey Electricity,” said Senator Gorst. “It would be a highly irregular and unusual step for a government to interfere in a commercial contract in a way that was threatened.”

The French fishermen blockade in Jersey was a political spectacle – but we’re all sour on the Brexit deal – CityAM

Brexit provided a bright spotlight for ports and shipping. The latest dramatic escalation of tensions as French fisherman turned up, armed with flares, at the Jersey port of St Helier, has once again thrown fishing onto centre stage. 

Jersey is an easy target. They rely on an undersea cable, connected to France, for their electricity. In turn, French fishermen previously enjoyed unencumbered access to Jersey’s fishing waters, access foiled by a Brexit deal which means they must apply for a license. The French maritime minister Annick Girardin threatened to cut the power completely if Jersey did not relinquish red tape and let the trawlers back in. It’s an old-fashioned political skirmish. 

Given the ferocity of the standoff, you would be forgiven for thinking the fishing deal Britain eventually secured was worth fighting for. While the UK has a vibrant and active fishing industry, around 80 per cent of UK landings are exported. The overwhelming majority of these go to European markets and buyers.

The new customs and border controls at European ports which receive UK cargo mean there have been drastic changes for our exporters. New border processes impact transport times and, as a result, the quality and value of perishable cargoes.

Fish landed in Scotland, the South West of England or Wales were previously ferried across by lorry to Boulogne and Zeebrugge.  Documentary requirements, new procedures and costly delays have created significant teething difficulties. Similar controls will be introduced at UK ports in January 2022.

Indeed at the turn of this year some fishing activities were threatened because of a lack of confidence in the process. There was a partial collapse of certain fish prices in the UK and a number of British fishing vessels wound up landing their catches in European ports to avoid the issues created by Brexit. 

So what, you may ask? Well this was and is costly to those ports and coastal communities in the UK and to those sectors who rely on fish landings and associated maritime activities. In other words: jobs and revenue. The French fishermen aren’t the only ones sour about the deal. 

Much was made by certain sections of the fishing industry about the positives of Brexit but the UK’s departure has created new headaches for the sector. Standoffs in the channel are not new. Aggression in the waters and the ports is an age-old tradition fishermen have not tired of. But it is bad for business and bad for jobs. 

For a place like Jersey, their ports are a lifeline. The drums of war in St Helier should be a warning for leaders to prioritise diplomacy over a political spectacle.

EU accuses Jersey of breaching Brexit trade deal over fishing dispute

The authorities in Jersey have promised further talks to help resolve a dispute over fishing rights after a protest by French boats in the Channel Island’s main port.

A new forum bringing together fishing representatives and the Jersey government could be established in an effort to avoid a repeat of Thursday’s drama in the waters around St Helier.

The European Union accused Jersey of breaching the terms of the UK’s post-Brexit trade deal.

The European Commission said the authorities were imposing “additional conditions” on French fishing boats operating there, in breach of the terms of the agreement hammered out on Christmas Eve.

About 60 French fishing boats gathered off the island’s main port, St Helier, early on Thursday, to protest against the new licences they have been required to obtain from the Jersey government to carry on operating.

Two Royal Navy patrol vessels were sent to the area in response to the threat of a blockade of the port.

Local fishermen reported flares were let off and that some boats entered the harbour for about an hour, with footage posted online apparently showing a French boat ramming the rear of a Jersey vessel.

The French maritime authority for the Channel sent two police patrol boats to the area “to ensure the protection of human life at sea”.

Jersey fishing dispute
French fishing vessels outside the harbour at St Helier (Gary Grimshaw/Bailiwick Express/PA)

The protest leaders denied they were seeking to impose a blockade and the flotilla eventually headed back to France.

The UK Government said the Royal Navy ships would return to port after the French vessels left.

One of the vessels was due to return home on Thursday, with the other heading to port on Friday.

During the protest emergency talks were held on the water, with Jersey government representatives on one boat and representatives of the French fishing fleet on another, in order to comply with coronavirus restrictions.

Jersey’s chief minister John Le Fondre said: “The French fishermen protested peacefully and respectfully, and were able to set out their concerns directly to government representatives.

“We recognise that there have been challenges in the implementation of the new trade agreement.

“Speaking directly to the fishermen has enabled both parties to better understand how those challenges will be addressed, and we are proposing the establishment of a forum which will enable the Government of Jersey to continue to engage with all fishermen in the region openly and constructively.”

The French fishermen had been able to leave Jersey “knowing that they had been listened to, and that a step has been taken towards resolving the issues that have arisen during the move to the new trade agreement”.

A UK Government spokesman said: “We are pleased that French fishing boats have now left the vicinity of Jersey.

“Given the situation is resolved for now, the Royal Navy offshore patrol vessels will prepare to return to port in the UK.

HMS Tamar
HMS Tamar was one of the vessels sent to Jersey (MoD/PA)

“We remain on standby to provide any further assistance Jersey requests.”

The UK insisted that the Jersey authorities have a right to regulate fisheries in their waters under the Brexit trade agreement.

“We will work with Jersey to support the discussions under way with the European Commission,” the spokesman said.

The row erupted after the Jersey Government said French boats would be required to obtain licences to carry on fishing in the island’s waters under the terms of the trade deal with the EU, which came into force last Friday.

The move provoked a wave of anger among French fishing communities, which complained that boats which had operated there for years were suddenly having their access restricted, because they could not prove their historical links with the waters.

Jersey fishing dispute
French fishing vessels outside the harbour at St Helier (Gary Grimshaw/Bailiwick Express/PA)

In Brussels, a spokeswoman for the European Commission said “additional conditions” attached to the new licences represented a breach of the trade deal.

She said they had “indicated to the UK that we see that the provisions of the EU/UK Trade and Co-operation Agreement, that we recently agreed, have not been met there, have not been respected”.

Jersey’s external relations minister, Ian Gorst, said the island’s authorities were “extremely grateful” to the UK Government for its prompt deployment of the patrol boats HMS Severn and HMS Tamar.

However he insisted that they wanted to find a diplomatic solution to de-escalate the situation.

“It’s important that we respond to threats, but the answer to this solution is to continue to talk and diplomacy,” he told BBC News.

Jersey fishing dispute
Assistant minister for the environment, Gregory Guida, and Gregory Morel, Natural Environment Marine Resources, aboard the Jersey vessel (Government of Jersey/PA)

Earlier this week, French maritime minister Annick Girardin said Paris would cut off electricity to Jersey – which gets 95% of its power supply from France – if the dispute was not resolved.

The Jersey government has said that of the 41 French boats that applied for licences last Friday, 17 had been unable to provide the evidence needed to enable them to carry on as before.

Mr Gorst said: “It’s really important that we are able to work with those fishermen to help them provide the necessary evidence so that, if required, their licences can be amended.”

Nevertheless, there was concern on the island that the French action could escalate if the dispute was not resolved.

Fisherman Josh Dearing said the appearance of the French boats had been “like an invasion”, and welcomed the presence of the Royal Navy ships.

“The French can be hostile. All of our livelihoods are in that harbour and if they wanted to they could cause damage,” he told the PA news agency.

“They can blockade their own harbours – they wouldn’t think twice about coming and doing it to us.”

References

  1. ^ @BorisJohnson (twitter.com)
  2. ^ @lyndonfarnham (twitter.com)
  3. ^ @Ian_Gorst (twitter.com)
  4. ^ @GovJersey (twitter.com)
  5. ^ May 6, 2021 (twitter.com)

Royal Navy vessels prepare to return to Britain after French warships stand down

TWO British Navy vessels located off Jersey will return to port after French fishing boats stood down following protests over post-Brexit fishing rights.

A government spokeswoman said Britain remains on standby to provide any assistance Jersey requests over the escalating standoff with France.

They said: “The (Brexit) Trade and Cooperation Agreement brought in changes to fishing arrangements between the UK and the EU. Jersey authorities have a right to regulate fisheries in their waters under this agreement and we support them in exercising those rights.”

The British warships arrived off the UK island to protect it from the threat of a French blockade.

Around 100 French fishing vessels began arriving at the island just after 6am and some on board were setting off flares as a huge row develops over post-Brexit fishing rights. But after the Royal Navy was sent to Jersey, the French Navy scrambled its own warships to the scene ahead of a tense stand-off.

Locals in the capital Saint Helier said tensions are running “very high” today as footage shows boats descending on the small island – just 14 miles from the French coast.

HMS Severn, which has previously been used to shadow Russian navy warships, and HMS Tamar arrived near Jersey earlier this morning.

Boris’ dramatic move came after French fishermen – backed by Emmanuel Macron’s ministers – vowed to shut off the island unless they could fish more British waters, a threat branded an “act of war”.

The furious spat erupted after the island – which is under Britain’s protection – slapped French trawlers with post-Brexit fishing licence requirements.

Read our Jersey stand-off live blog below for the latest updates…

  • WATCH: DRAMATIC MOMENT 35FT FRENCH TRAWLER DELIBERATELY RAMS BRIT BOAT AS ‘INVASION’ TURNS NASTY OFF JERSEY

    Dramatic moment 35ft French trawler deliberately RAMS Brit boat as ‘invasion’ turns nasty off Jersey

  • JERSEY GOVERNMENT HOLDS ‘CONSTRUCTIVE MEETING’ WITH FRENCH FISHERMEN

    Representatives from the Government of Jersey said they held a “constructive meeting” with French fishermen on Thursday.

    Jersey’s Chief Minister, Senator John Le Fondre said: “The French fishermen protested peacefully and respectfully, and were able to set out their concerns directly to Government representatives.

    “We recognise that there have been challenges in the implementation of the new trade agreement. Speaking directly to the fishermen has enabled both parties to better understand how those challenges will be addressed, and we are proposing the establishment of a forum which will enable the Government of Jersey to continue to engage with all fishermen in the region openly and constructively.

    “I’d like to thank Deputy Guida and all the other parties whose work has enabled the French fishermen to leave Jersey knowing that they had been listened to, and that a step has been taken towards resolving the issues that have arisen during the move to the new trade agreement.”

    The 90-minute meeting was held between Jersey’s assistant minister for the environment, Deputy Gregory Guida, Government of Jersey officers, and representatives from some of the estimated 56 French vessels which arrived to protest outside the port of St Helier in the morning.

  • ROYAL NAVY VESSELS HEAD FOR PORT AFTER FRENCH PROTESTS OFF JERSEY SUBSIDE

    Two Royal Navy vessels sent to Jersey in response to a protest by French fishermen are to return to port.

    About 60 French boats took part in the protest around the Channel Island’s main port, St Helier, in a dispute over post-Brexit fishing rights, before subsequently returning to port on Thursday.

    Boris Johnson said he was “pleased that the situation in Jersey has been resolved” and thanked the Royal Navy for the swift response.

    “The UK will always stand resolutely by the people of Jersey,” the Prime Minister said.

    The authorities in Jersey have promised further talks to help resolve the row, but the French government hit out at a “British failure” to abide by the terms of the UK-EU trade deal and warned it would “use all the leverage at our disposal” to protect the fishing industry.

  • EU ACCUSES JERSEY OF BREACHING BREXIT TRADE DEAL (CONTINUED…)

    Two Royal Navy patrol vessels were sent to the area in response to the threat of a blockade of the port.

    Local fishermen reported flares were let off and that some boats entered the harbour for about an hour, with footage posted online apparently showing a French boat ramming the rear of a Jersey vessel.

    The French maritime authority for the Channel sent two police patrol boats to the area “to ensure the protection of human life at sea”.

    The protest leaders denied they were seeking to impose a blockade and the flotilla eventually headed back to France.

    The UK Government said the Royal Navy ships would return to port after the French vessels left.

  • EU ACCUSES JERSEY OF BREACHING BREXIT TRADE DEAL OVER FISHING DISPUTE

    The authorities in Jersey have promised further talks to help resolve a dispute over fishing rights after a protest by French boats in the Channel Island’s main port.

    A new forum bringing together fishing representatives and the Jersey government could be established in an effort to avoid a repeat of Thursday’s drama in the waters around St Helier.

    The European Union accused Jersey of breaching the terms of the UK’s post-Brexit trade deal.

    The European Commission said the authorities were imposing “additional conditions” on French fishing boats operating there, in breach of the terms of the agreement hammered out on Christmas Eve.

    About 60 French fishing boats gathered off the island’s main port, St Helier, early on Thursday, to protest against the new licences they have been required to obtain from the Jersey government to carry on operating.

  • UK NAVY BOATS TO RETURN TO PORT FROM JERSEY

    Two British Royal Navy vessels located off the British Channel island of Jersey will prepare to return to port in the United Kingdom after French fishing boats left the area following protests over post-Brexit fishing rights.

    A government spokeswoman said the country remained on standby to provide any assistance Jersey requests over the escalating standoff with France.

    “The (Brexit) Trade and Cooperation Agreement brought in changes to fishing arrangements between the UK and the EU,” she said. “Jersey authorities have a right to regulate fisheries in their waters under this agreement and we support them in exercising those rights.”

  • PM VOWS TO PROTECT JERSEY FROM FRENCH THREATS

    Boris Johnson today vowed to stand by Jersey in the face of French threats and announced Navy gunboats will stay in the area.

    The PM spoke the island’s chief minister John Le Fondré this morning as tensions escalated in a major row over fishing rights.

    This morning dozens of French trawlers descended on the capital St Helier and threatened to blockade its port.

    A No 10 spokesman said: “The chief minister updated the PM on the latest developments with French fishing vessels around Jersey’s coast.

    “The PM reiterated his unequivocal support for Jersey and confirmed that the two Royal Navy Offshore Patrol Vessels would remain in place to monitor the situation as a precautionary measure.”

    “They agreed to stay in touch as the situation develops.”

  • FRENCH BLOCKADE COULD LEAD TO POTATO SHORTAGE

    Farmers have warned the blockade could lead to a potato shortage as it could cause potential delays in shipments of the Jersey Royals potatoes.

    Nigel Holliday, the commercial director at the Jersey Royal Company told the Telegraph [1]if the ferry from St Helier to Portsmouth is unable to travel it would mean that the orders would have to be cancelled.

    Under normal circumstances, the company harvests during the day and sends the shipment with the later ferry at 5pm.

    “If we knew the ferry wasn’t going to sail, we would tell the teams to stop harvesting the potatoes … because we don’t really have any other way of sending them to the UK,” he said.

    He added that the blockade could be a “major disruption”, and potentially lead to lost sales.

  • THE ‘NEW BATTLE OF TRAFALGAR’

    French fishermen have vowed a new “Battle of Trafalgar” as a man in a soldier’s uniform was seen firing a musket towards the blockade around Jersey.

    The row over fishing rights between Britain and France has ramped up as two Royal Navy gunboats were deployed and a French navy vessel speeds towards the Channel Islands.

    Claude La Vaullée, a Norman skipper who has fished off Jersey for 40 years, told Ouest France that he and other fishermen had equipped their vessels to “re-stage the Battle of Trafalgar”.

    And in a bizarre video apparently filmed this morning at Jersey’s famous Elizabeth Castle, a man in a tri-corner hat was seen loading and firing musket at the French boats, reports ITV[2].

    The clip shows the man – who appears to be also wearing a high vis jacket and has been identified as a member of re-enactment group the Jersey Militia – loading his period weapon and blasting towards the coast in a puff of smoke.

  • ‘THREATS ON JERSEY COMPLETELY UNREASONABLE’

    John Healey, Labour’s Shadow Defence Secretary, has called the UK’s move sending gunboats to Jersey “completely unreasonable”.

    “The Navy’s experience in sensitive situations will help reassure residents and protect Britain’s broader national interests,” he said.

    “The British government must now get round the table with French colleagues and authorities in Jersey and sort this issue out.

  • THE SUN EXPLAINS: WHY ARE FRENCH FISHERMEN PROTESTING?

    French fishing crews have descended on Jersey this morning, as part of a row over post-Brexit fishing rights.

    Under the Brexit trade deal, which came into force on January 1, EU fishermen continue to have some rights to fish in UK waters.

    This was part of a transitional period, until 2026.

    However, in accordance with the new rules, EU boats wanting to fish within 12 miles of UK coast need to be licensed and prove they have a history of fishing in those waters in order to carry on operating.

  • WATCH: DON’T MESS WITH US, WARNS ROYAL NAVY ADMIRAL AS HE TELLS FRENCH THEY SHOULD KNOW BETTER

    Don’t mess with us, warns Royal Navy Admiral as he tells French they should know better

  • FRENCH FISHERMEN DEMAND MACRON CUT POWER TO JERSEY

    French fishermen have demanded Emmanuel Macron make good on threats to cut the power to Jersey after the 100 ship blockade broke up after the arrival of the Royal Navy.

    Furious trawlermen raged as the row over fishing rights goes on – and blamed the British for failed talks over access to the waters around the Channel Island.

    The blockade turned ugly following a series of boat rammings and flares being lit, and the row remains at a standstill despite a French delegation meeting with Jersey officials.

    And tensions ratcheted up as two British gunboats – HMS Severn and HMS Tamar – loomed nearby during the blockade, with two French patrol ships also arriving on the scene.

    Frustrated sailors have now echoed a call by French minister Annick Girardin to cut off electricity to Jersey, which is supplied by underwater cables from the French mainland.

    “I wonder why we even went to see them,” fumed Mr Piraud.

    He went on: “We’re calling on Annick Girardin, the Minister of the Sea, to put her threats into action.”

  • ‘DON’T MESS WITH US’

    Rear Admiral Chris Parry today issued a warning to the French as the Jersey fishing “war” became nasty, adding: “I think they know it’s not a good idea to mess with the Navy”.

    Dr Parry, the first Chair of the Government’s Marine Management Organisation, said the two Royal Navy gunships were scrambled to the Channel this morning to “make sure nobody is harmed in any way”.

    He said they were patrolling the area to ensure people “don’t do things they might regret later”.

    Boris Johnson last night dramatically deployed both HMS Tamar and HMS Severn before angry French fishermen set off flares and headed to the island just after 6am today.

    The British boats are armed with 20mm and 30mm cannon, which can fire 700 rounds a minute at a range of 1,300 yards.

  • FRENCH BOATS RETREAT FROM JERSEY

    FRENCH fishing boats have finally retreated from Jersey, but warned “next time there will be war” as the Royal Navy was called to the blockade by 100 ships.

    Angry French fishermen set off flares as dozens of boats began steaming in just after 6am as the huge row over post-Brexit fishing rights intensifies.

    Two Royal Navy gunships – HMS Severn and HMS Tamar – dramatically stepped in this morning after being deployed by Boris Johnson following the threat of a French blockade.

    They are armed with a 20mm cannon, which can fire 700 rounds a minute at a range of 1,300 yards.

    Just after 1pm the fishing boats started to retreat away from the island – just 14 miles off the French coast.

  • PM VOWS TO PROTECT JERSEY FROM FRENCH THREATS

    Boris Johnson today vowed to stand by Jersey in the face of French threats and announced Navy gunboats will stay in the area.

    The PM spoke the island’s chief minister John Le Fondré this morning as tensions escalated in a major row over fishing rights.

    This morning dozens of French trawlers descended on the capital St Helier and threatened to blockade its port.

    A No 10 spokesman said: “The chief minister updated the PM on the latest developments with French fishing vessels around Jersey’s coast.

    “The PM reiterated his unequivocal support for Jersey and confirmed that the two Royal Navy Offshore Patrol Vessels would remain in place to monitor the situation as a precautionary measure.”

    “They agreed to stay in touch as the situation develops.”

  • BLOCKADE COULD LEAD TO POTATO SHORTAGE

    Farmers have warned the blockade could lead to a potato shortage as it could cause potential delays in shipments of the Jersey Royals potatoes.

    Nigel Holliday, the commercial director at the Jersey Royal Company told the Telegraph [3]if the ferry from St Helier to Portsmouth is unable to travel it would mean that the orders would have to be cancelled.

    Under normal circumstances, the company harvests during the day and sends the shipment with the later ferry at 5pm.

    “If we knew the ferry wasn’t going to sail, we would tell the teams to stop harvesting the potatoes … because we don’t really have any other way of sending them to the UK,” he said.

    He added that the blockade could be a “major disruption”, and potentially lead to lost sales.

  • ‘I COULDN’T BELIEVE WHAT HE WAS DOING’

    Jonathan Ruff’s boat was bashed in the stern by the French vessel Lasgot as he bravely went out to sea to face the group of 100 “invaders”.

    Dramatic footage obtained by The Sun shows the steel trawler accelerating as it hurtles towards the tiny pleasure boat being skippered by Jonathan.

    A sickening crunching sound of metal against fibreglass is heard before Jonathan manages to pull away and head to the safety of St Helier marina.

    Speaking exclusively to The Sun, Jonathan, said: “I couldn’t believe what he was doing.

    “He deliberately sped up and went straight for me clipping my bow.

    ”If he had hit my engine I would have been in big, big trouble, I could have lost the boat and anything could have happened.”

  • ‘THREATS ON JERSEY COMPLETELY UNREASONABLE’

    John Healey, Labour’s Shadow Defence Secretary, has called the UK’s move sending gunboats to Jersey “completely unreasonable”.

    “The Navy’s experience in sensitive situations will help reassure residents and protect Britain’s broader national interests,” he said.

    “The British government must now get round the table with French colleagues and authorities in Jersey and sort this issue out.” 

  • FRENCH FISHING VESSELS OFF ST HELIERS, JERSEY

  • WHY ARE FRENCH FISHERMEN PROTESTING?

    French fishing crews have descended on Jersey this morning, as part of a row over post-Brexit fishing rights.

    Under the Brexit trade deal, which came into force on January 1, EU fishermen continue to have some rights to fish in UK waters.

    This was part of a transitional period, until 2026.

    However, in accordance with the new rules, EU boats wanting to fish within 12 miles of UK coast need to be licensed and prove they have a history of fishing in those waters in order to carry on operating.

  • CRASH, BANG, SCALLOPS

    This is the dramatic moment a 35ft French trawler deliberately rams into a British boat as the fishing “war” turns nasty in Jersey.

    Jonathan Ruff’s boat was bashed in the stern by the French vessel Lasgot as he bravely went out to sea to face the group of 100 “invaders”.

    Dramatic footage obtained by The Sun shows the steel trawler accelerating as it hurtles towards the tiny pleasure boat being skippered by Jonathan.

    A sickening crunching sound of metal against fibreglass is heard before Jonathan manages to pull away and head to the safety of St Helier marina.

    The patriotic property developer said he was just “sticking up for the island” after angry French fishermen began steaming in just after 6am.

  • FRENCH FISHING BOATS CONTINUE TO PROTEST OFF THE PORT OF SAINT HELIER

  • POLICE PATROL BOATS SENT TO JERSEY AS TENSIONS RISE

    France has despatched two patrol boats to Jersey as tensions continued to rise in the dispute over post-Brexit fishing rights.

    Agence France-Presse reported the two police vessels had been sent after Britain deployed a pair of Royal Navy vessels to the Channel Island.

    Earlier, dozens of French fishing boats gathered off Jersey’s capital, St Helier, amid fears they were preparing to blockade the harbour.

    Jersey’s external relations minister, Ian Gorst, said he would be speaking to the French fishermen in an attempt to defuse the worsening row.

    “It’s important that we respond to threats, but the answer to this solution is to continue to talk and diplomacy,” he told BBC News.

    HMS Severn and HMS Tamar have been deployed by the UK Government to “monitor the situation”.

  • WATCH: 35FT FRENCH TRAWLER DELIBERATELY RAMS BRITISH BOAT

    This is the moment a 35ft French trawler deliberately rams a British boat, as the fishing “war” turns nasty in Jersey.

    Jonathan Ruff’s boat was bashed in the stern by the French vessel Lasgot as he bravely went out to sea to face the group of 100 “invaders”.

    Dramatic moment 35ft French trawler deliberately RAMS Brit boat as ‘invasion’ turns nasty off Jersey

    More on this, here.

References

  1. ^ Telegraph  (www.telegraph.co.uk)
  2. ^ ITV (www.itv.com)
  3. ^ Telegraph  (www.telegraph.co.uk)

Nothing says ‘easiest trade deal in history’ quite like gunboats deployed to Jersey | Mark Steel

How dare the French assault poor little Jersey[1], whose only industries are fish, potatoes and international tax fiddling?

So send the gunboats, however many we need, because people are ANGRY about whelks. We can only hope they stay just as committed when this is resolved, and spend every day calling phone-ins to yell: “I WANT TO TALK ABOUT SCALLOPS! THEY NEED TO BE ROUNDER, AND MORE SQUISHY.”

When you see those adverts in which a young man from Blyth is “Made by the Marines[2]”, this is the sort of thing they’re talking about. Once they’re signed up, their life can begin as they do something exceptional, vital and historic, and sit outside Jersey in case a trawler from Normandy[3] catches a herring.

This is all because of[4] an argument about who can catch which fish, following Brexit. That makes sense, as we were promised Brexit was going to be the easiest trade deal in the world. And that’s worked out perfectly. Because sending gunboats to Jersey is always a sign of a deal having gone through easily. When the plumber fixes your radiators, you don’t want one of those complicated deals where he does the job and you pay him. It’s much easier if you have to send a gunboat to his house because the French have threatened to dynamite his garden shed.

The French government has threatened to turn off Jersey’s electricity, as if all Jersey’s power comes from an extension cable that reaches to Cherbourg. So the Telegraph reported that[5] “a government source said, ‘even the German occupation left the lights on’.” 

Congratulations. It was only ever going to be 30 seconds into this conflict until the war was mentioned, and this government source nipped in first. Because that’s the rule in Britain – any problem with anything European has to refer to the war. If the World Vegetable Society announced French beetroots are the juiciest in the world, 120 backbench MPs would be on daytime television saying: “This is an insult to all those who fought on D-Day. We stood alone in 1940 and that’s why we’re firing one French beetroot an hour out of a canon off the cliffs of Dover.”

By the weekend, dozens of people aged 70 will have been interviewed on the news, saying: “My generation was bravely born five years after the war ended, and despite this courage, we still have to sit by while French people are allowed to fish. Is it any wonder we don’t like Pakistanis?”

Another “government source” said: “I’m disappointed the EU has resorted to threats, rather than use the treaty to discuss the matter.” Yes, that is disappointing. Why would anyone, in a discussion between Britain and the EU, want to issue threats rather than discuss things nicely?

The French should learn to discuss matters with us calmly, the way we always did, and publish headlines in newspapers such as: “MY GRANDDAD FOUGHT AT AGINCOURT AGAINST THESE ARSEHOLES SO LET’S MAKE THEM SIT IN THE DARK.”

Jacob Rees-Mogg even declared that fish were happier for being British, which I’m sure they are, but hopefully it’s even better than that and soon he’ll announce they all went to Eton, not some scuzzy public school like Westminster. And he’ll report that a regiment of mackerel issued a statement that, “By God, we shall do our duty to the Queen and drift without fear or lassitude into British nets, carpe diem.”

The argument appears to be that French fishing boats haven’t been given the licenses they were promised to fish around Jersey. And those that have been given a license have also been given huge documents packed with restrictions. But since Brexit, each lorry-load of British fish must also go through seven stages of extra bureaucracy, before heading to Europe. And each lorry must be accompanied with seven extra pages of forms.

So all those years, when the anti-EU campaigners were moaning about the red tape our businesses had to deal with, what they must have meant is there wasn’t enough of it. They must have been thinking: “Why are fishermen allowed to catch fish without filling in thousands of extra forms? We demand a separate form for every single cockle.”

Since Brexit, lorries of British fish have had to go rotten while waiting for the extra forms to be completed, because the British government protects our British forms, that have kept this country going for thousands of years.

What we could have done, to protect our fishing industry, is use the amount wasted on a useless Track and Trace system and spread it among the fishermen. It was around £30bn that got lost, so for that money they could have nets made of silk, hand-woven by mountain people of the Andes, and placed in ice in which each cube has been personally blessed by the Dalai Lama. They could have each mackerel moulded into the shape of a historical figure, such as Abraham Lincoln or Jennifer Lopez, by a specialist fish sculptor.

But that’s not as much fun as sending gunboats, especially as Emanuel Macron and the French government are capable of being knobs as well, so this could escalate gloriously. One war between Britain and France lasted 100 years and no one can remember how that started, so this one could last longer than that if we play it right.

This is where we are in the world now. When superpowers went to the brink of annihilation in 1962, it was around the matter of whether a Soviet ally should place nuclear weapons in Cuba, a few miles from Florida. When Britain and France go to war, it’s because of a row about who gets the scallops.

References

  1. ^ Jersey (www.independent.co.uk)
  2. ^ Marines (www.independent.co.uk)
  3. ^ Normandy (www.independent.co.uk)
  4. ^ all because of (www.independent.co.uk)
  5. ^ reported that (www.telegraph.co.uk)

Brexit Britain’s ‘war on France’ is a perfect storm in a teacup

The British and French stand-off on the seas round Jersey [1]is, at first glance, a row over logbooks, lobsters, licences and sea snails.

But it is the result of a perfect storm of British, French and European politics and, inevitably, Brexit. 

The technicalities of fishing licences in the 12 miles around Jersey’s coasts are vitally important for French fishermen[2]

They blockaded Jersey’s main port, after accusing the Channel Island government of not granting enough licences and imposing unfair conditions on them. 

But such disputes rarely lead to Royal Navy and French gunboats eyeing each other across the waves[3] unless it suits politicians on both sides.

So how did it come to this? The UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA), which came into force on December 31 last year, sets out the new post-Brexit fishing rules.

Under the deal struck on Christmas Eve, EU boats can continue to operate in UK territorial waters if they can prove historical fishing activity in the area.

Access is granted by the issuing of fishing licences but France is angry about how the new rules are being implemented and has accused Britain of dragging its feet. 

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Larger French boats with positioning technology have been granted licences, but smaller boats do not typically carry the electronic equipment that would allow them to prove they fished the UK’s coast from 2012-2016. 

In late April, French fishermen blockaded ports to prevent UK-landed fish arriving in Europe in protest. UK-EU talks are continuing to agree on an alternative way of proving past fishing activity. 

While this continues to be an issue in the waters around Jersey, the situation is more complicated. 

Jersey is a self-governing British Crown Dependency. It has responsibility for its own fishing rules but can, as it did in this row, call on UK assistance. 

However, the UK is responsible for Jersey’s international relations; the Channel Island is bound by the TCA negotiated by London and Brussels, and so are the French. 

France and the European Commission have accused the Jersey government of adding new unilateral conditions on top of the requirement to prove historical fishing activity. 

These include restrictions on where in the waters the boats can fish, for how long and with what machinery.

Paris brands this “unacceptable”, and Brussels says it breaks TCA rules that require such conditions to be pre-notified, and shared by local fishermen as well as EU ones. 

British sources indicate that the decision on rules for Jersey’s water is the island’s responsibility, but Brussels is determined to place the issue firmly on Boris Johnson’s lap, and deal with it at UK-EU level. 

Downing Street sources insist that Jersey has acted within the rules of the TCA, even if the government has not imposed the same conditions on French boats in the UK’s territorial waters. 

The timing of this latest battle with Brussels and the French is good for Mr Johnson. 

On the day of local elections, the Prime Minister can bask in the glory of phony war[5] which will do the Conservatives no harm at all.

With elections in Scotland, a disheartened Scottish fishing industry and the independence debate in full swing, the timing is perfect to show that Mr Johnson is willing to fight for “our” fishermen. 

A demonstration of Global Britain ruling the waves may go some way to repairing the damage of the Brexit talks, which left UK fishermen convinced the Prime Minister had betrayed them at the last. 

“Boris has found his Falklands,” one EU diplomat joked shortly before the French fishermen left just before lunchtime.

Emmanuel Macron also knows the value of a good fight. French fishermen are furious with their president after their share of the catch in UK waters was cut in the Brexit negotiations. 

Their anger has mounted because they believe Britain is dragging its feet in granting fishing licences. 

As in Britain, fishermen represent a small sliver of the economy but carry a huge political and emotional weight. It is said that when French fishermen move, the government trembles. 

Another consideration is that French fishermen in the Channel hail from Northern France, which is a stronghold for Marine Le Pen.  

Ms Le Pen will be Mr Macron’s main rival in next year’s presidential elections. No one expects her to beat Mr Macron but she will make it to the second round of the presidential elections and with increased support from the last elections. 

Ms Le Pen will only benefit from this contretemps, and Mr Macron must be seen to do something. 

Perhaps this is why he dispatched a small portion of the fleet, and why his Minister of the Sea threatened to cut off Jersey’s power supply[7]. That dramatic threat has also been criticised in some British quarters as breaching the rules of the TCA. 

The early days of the new Brexit arrangements have been rocky and turbulent. That was always to be expected so soon after the divorce, but UK-EU relations have been particularly bad. 

The implementation of the Northern Ireland Protocol was always going to be controversial, but Britain stands accused of breaking international law for the second time in a matter of months. 

The European Commission’s hysterical over-reaction to the UK’s vaccination success and AstraZeneca’s supply failure was to threaten a vaccine export ban against Britain and to impose a hard border on the island of Ireland. 

The wounds of Brexit are still raw, and the temptation to exploit teething problems for short term political gain remains for the UK, France and the European Commission. 

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The imperative is still there for the EU to prove that Brexit was a historical mistake which no member state should ever dream of repeating. 

And there is also pressure on the British Government to prove that the freedoms won by Brexit will prove to be worth the economic cost in trade friction with the EU, which remains the UK’s major trading partner. 

But there is also an incentive for both the UK and the EU to get the trade deal working properly, and without such tension. 

There were, until recently, signs of detente after the European Parliament ratified the Brexit trade deal in April. The UK finally agreed to give the EU’s ambassador in London full diplomatic credentials shortly afterwards.

The row over Jersey looks set to be funnelled into the dispute resolution process in the trade deal.

That is likely to mean discussions, and lots of them, in meeting with EU officials in the bloodless committee rooms of Brussels and London that are the first port of call in any dispute. 

While any persisting row could ultimately result in tariffs, a compromise is far more likely to be quietly found. 

The political capital of the hijinks on the high seas will be safely pocketed by then – and the perfect storm of the so-called “war with France” will be kept firmly in its teacup.