Sunday 7 April 2019

The Collected Works of Katya Adler

On the sofa

Back in the mid '70s Richard Dawkins came up with the term 'the Concorde fallacy' to describe the logically erroneous way of thinking that leads you to continue to invest in a project merely to justify past investment in it, rather than assessing the current rationality of investing, irrespective of what has gone before. 

I may have fallen for the Concorde fallacy myself by beginning to transcribe the BBC Europe Editor Katya Adler's contributions to Andrew Marr's paper review this morning and, having gone so far with it, then felling, well, I suppose I'd better spend a few more minutes finishing it all off and then post it. 

Whether you think I should have bothered, well obviously that's for you to decide...


Andrew Marr: Katya, we talk about these things week after week after week almost as if the rest of the European continent doesn't exist at all.
Katya Adler: That's how they feel. 
Andrew Marr: That's how they feel?
Katya Adler: Yes. 
Andrew Marr: There's an interesting story in the Observer suggesting that as Theresa May goes tries to get her extension agreed, she's got an ally in Angela Merkel, presumably against President Macron of France. Would do you make of this?
Katya Adler: I would warn against that because we've heard that before, haven't we? 
Andrew Marr: Right.
Katya Adler: I think...yes, the Observer says that "May thrown a lifeline by Merkel as France and Germany clash over the UK's leaving date". So at the emergency Brexit summit on Wednesday in Brussels all the 27 EU leaders will first listen to Theresa May, she will then as always be asked to leave the room while they discuss what to do about her extension request. Very importantly, they have to have a unanimous decision under EU law. And fireworks are predicted although whether it's a massive display or a regular one, we don't quite know at the moment. So basically, the Prime Minister has asked for another extension ending at the end of June. There are EU leaders at the moment who say, well, you know what, the advantage to that would be it would keep MPs under pressure because if it's a short extension they have to come to a decision and, based on past performance, EU leaders worry this could just go on forever. You have a longer extension and everyone will still go round and round. Donald Tusk...
Andrew Marr: (interrupting) To put it bluntly, they are really fed up with us? 
Katya Adler: They are really fed up with this process. They are not really fed up with the United Kingdom. And I think that's really important to distinguish. And, of course, now people, some leaders are saying might the UK change their mind? But whatever happens, if we leave it is in the EU's interest socially, politically and economically to keep us as close as possible and to keep relations as close as possible. Those who say a longer extension would be a good idea - so you've got Donald Tusk, the president of the European Council. He's calling for this so-called flextension. So it's a longer extension...
Andrew Marr: (interrupting) So we could get out at any point? 
Katya Adler: At any point, once a Brexit deal has been ratified. But then come to Emmanuel Macron who has been saying loud and clear 'do not take any extension for granted because you Theresa May have to come to us with a very clear plan'. Again, I would put a slight health warning on this. 
Jason Groves: That's what he said last time. 
Katya Adler: He said it last time. And I think, just like when the Prime Minister speaks, or Jeremy Corbyn, they are speaking also to their own audiences. So is Emmanuel Macron. 
Andrew Marr: A certain amount of role-playing. 
Katya Adler: There's a certain amount of role-playing, and they have to knock it out once they are in the room together. 

Katya Adler

Katya Adler: I think what's sometimes forgotten in the political debate here is that it's also heard over there. And the papers are read over there, as well. So, for example, Jacob Rees-Mogg, the Conservative MP, tweeted last week that if there is a longer extension, if the UK were to stay in the EU for longer, that we should be very difficult members of the EU. And this does also plays to EU fears. 
Andrew MarrIt's an extraordinary tweet. I think we can possibly see it. I don't know if we can. Can we the Jacob Rees-Mogg tweet? We can't see the Jacob Rees-Mogg tweet. Sorry. 
Katya AdlerThat is part of Emmanuel Macron's argument because he says 'we have enough of this drama and we need to be able topass the EU budget, we need to elect a new European Commission chief, a new European Parliamentary chief, and we don't want the UK at the table playing difficult. 
Andrew Marr: And to be absolutely clear about it, what Jacob Rees-Mogg was saying, if there's a long extension we stay and we're really, really difficult and stroppy. And it seemed to a lot of people that he was saying that in order to put Europeans off agreeing to a long extension in the first place. In other words it was an Exocet-timed tweet for a specific effect.
Katya Adler: Yes, and his tweet was discussed at a meeting of the 27 EU ambassadors on Friday and they have EU lawyers thinking about how to get around it if the UK tried to block the budget for example. 


Andrew Marr: Katya, a quick story about...not the lighter side of Brexit but the effect of Brexit already on all our summer holidays. That's in The People I think.
Katya Adler: It's in The People, yes. 'Summer Brex Get Cheaper'. It's about tour operators who are worrying with all this uncertainty, people understandably are concerned about booking their holidays, what happens if there is suddenly a hard Brexit people won't be able to get any compensation, or could get stuck abroad, what happens if we need visas? There's all sorts of concerns. And also the concern is spread across the rest of the European Union as well, particularly those countries that are popular destinations. Spain, first and foremost. They're not getting the bookings that they're used to. And in general. And this is why the EU wants to come to a conclusion here as well, because all this uncertainty is costly for European businesses, it's worrying for European citizens, and it affects international investment in the whole of the EU as well. 


  1. "EU leaders worry this could just go on forever". Usual KA BS. They are quite happy to see Brexit discredited. They are quite happy to continue receiving our billions. They are quite happy to see our economy lose investment because of uncertainty. The only problem they have with a long extension is that May will be replaced by a Leaver as Conservative Leader, who then becomes PM and pursues a real Leave strategy.

    If I am proved wrong and they kick us out with no deal, I of course will be only too happy but it ain't gonna happen. Macron is just spouting stuff Blair tells him to say. Interesting how Marr and Adler NEVER, but NEVER mention the Blair-Macron hook-up.

  2. Thank you for putting up the transcript anyway. At least I now know the name of the chap in the middle. I spent about five minutes wondering why it is beyond the BBC to put the names of speakers along the bottom of the screen. Not everyone sits glued to the spot from the beginning to the end of a programme. They drift in and out, tuning in at different points and it's useless to put up the name of a speaker once as they begin but nevermore.

    One thing that struck me about Marr this morning was his focus on trying to get people to talk about revocation. He was like a dog with a bone. Why is he so insistent upon it? BBC agenda being forced into the discussion despite the interviewees' lack of interest.

    1. Yes the stepping stones from Brexit to EU are: undermine morale of Brexiters, support May's deal over no deal, ensure parliamentary deadlock, engineer a Rigged Rerun of the Referendum and then Revoke on the back of the corrupt second referendum "result".

      All the BBC reporters and presenters know this is how it is to be done.

  3. Ha, I agree entirely about the captioning of the name of guests. 'Newsnight' is, if anything, even worse.

    Plus you've given me the chance to post a transcript of Paddy O'Connell's questions to Baronesses Deech (Leave) and Wheatcroft (Remain) this morning. Paddy had a few bones he kept on pushing too and Baroness Deech was especially uninterested in one of them:

    (To Baroness Deech) To you Baroness Deech, how upset are you at the pace of events in the Lords?

    (To Baroness Deech, interrupting) Yeah, I know all that. (To Baroness Wheatcroft) Let me just turn to this week with you Patience Wheatcroft. Do you think that this bill will pass the Lords tomorrow and get Royal Assent in time for Theresa May to request a parliamentary-approved delay?

    (To Baroness Wheatcroft) OK, but just for our listener exhausted by the process you're briefing us the it will pass the Lords on Monday?

    (To Baroness Deech) Back to you. I cut you off rudely Baroness Deech. There's a letter signed by 80 Labour MPs insisting that Jeremy Corbyn puts a further referendum in his negotiations with the Conservatives. Do you think it's now a done deal that we should brace for a third referendum?

    (To Baroness Deech, interrupting) OK, well that's not really the topic at the moment, is it? I mean, that's disputed. And the Prime Minister's talking to him. I'm asking you both whether or not the chances have increased for a new referendum. (To Baroness Wheatcroft) And I wonder Patience Wheatcroft if you'd like to come in at this point?

    (To both) That's what you both want. Can you tell us what the...(To Baroness Deech) no, I beg your...I meant...I agree that you don't want a...(To both) I think you've both outlined what you don't want. (To Baroness Deech) You want to leave cleanly and (to Baroness Wheatcroft) you want another referendum, here with me Baroness Wheatcroft?

    (To both) So I know that's what you both...I've found out what you want. So can you tell us what are the signs in Parliament now? (To Baroness Deech) Ruth Deech, although you don't want a further referendum will you go back to my question? I'm wondering...I'm asking if you concede that there is a push within Labour to make this a Corbyn red line. That's the point I'm asking. Even though you don't want a further referendum, can you think that is what is being spoken about this weekend and on Monday?

    (To Baroness Wheatcroft) OK, let me ask you if you look forward to European elections? All the papers today seem to say that the Tory Party will be eviscerated and that you should fear the rise of a Brexit party, so you'll be linked into European elections that will nutcracker the Conservative Party?

    (To Baroness Wheatcroft, interrupting) Infiltrated?

    (To both) Finally, to you both, if you can be brief. We noticed a change of tone in the Lords. It's a grumpier place. (To Baroness Deech) Did you spot that Baroness Deech? Or is that just media tittle-tattle?

    (To both) OK, thank you both. I hope you feel you've had equal time briefing us on the week ahead.

  4. That's a right muddle of meandering questioning in an attempt to push something he wanted to force into the discussion that ended up with him talking more than the guests until he ran out of time so it was pointless anyway.

    Baroness Beech was in fine brisk form this morning on the phone and taking no nonsense. Patience Wheatcroft was among BBC remainer friends in the BBC studio.

  5. Sounds like you now accept Paddy O'Conman is just as bad as all the other biased BBC presenters! :)

    BTW - what do you think of The Bay - is that Morecambophobically biased? Or does it get your thumbs up?

    1. It's not my sort of thing. And I've seen Morecambe, so that's my only other possible reason for watching it gone! :)


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