Emmanuel Macron has just given Britain a masterclass in diplomacy. His announcement that the Bayeux Tapestry will be loaned to the UK has already created a significant stir. Just imagine what it will be like when the 950-year-old artefact actually arrives.
In contrast, British politicians involved in the Brexit process have been calling our European allies “the enemy” (Philip Hammond), telling them to “go whistle” (Boris Johnson) and warning against trying to “administer punishment beatings” in the style of “some World War Two movie” (Boris, again).
If you’re trying to reach an agreement with someone, it’s a good idea to at least pretend you like them. It’s really that simple.
Macron’s generosity will win France friends and, consequently, influence. China does the same with pandas; when Macron visited Beijing, he took a presidential cavalry corps horse.
Should the UK carry on like this, Macron is likely to let us know. Remember his marked swerve away from Donald Trump to embrace Angela Merkel instead?
This is a politician who knows the power of symbolism.
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