'Friend or foe': Dear Liz Truss, the jury is not out on France's Emmanuel Macron. He is a natural ally of the UK – Scotsman comment

In times of crisis, it’s good to know who your friends are, assuming you actually have any.

Emmanuel Macron was asked about Liz Truss's claim that the 'jury is out' on whether he is a friend or foe during his visit to Algeria (Picture: Ludovic Marin/AFP via Getty Images)
Emmanuel Macron was asked about Liz Truss's claim that the 'jury is out' on whether he is a friend or foe during his visit to Algeria (Picture: Ludovic Marin/AFP via Getty Images)

As energy bills soar to levels that many will simply be unable to pay, unless the government takes action, the cost-of-living crisis in the UK is only going to get worse.

Furthermore, Russia’s war on Ukraine, which has done so much to drive up oil-and-gas prices, means the UK must increase its military capabilities as part of a defence strategy that, of necessity, relies on support from its Nato allies.

Those allies include the only other western European country with nuclear weapons, France – a country that also has a considerable number of nuclear power stations capable of supplying vast amounts of electricity to Britain.

It is a liberal democracy that, unlike the dictatorial regimes of Vladimir Putin and co, observes the rule of law, while the UK and France share a concern about ruthless people-traffickers involved in sending migrants across our mutual maritime border.

Therefore, The Scotsman would suggest that, of all the countries in the world, this near neighbour should surely be one of the UK’s closest friends and certainly not, in any way at all, a “foe”.

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It was, therefore, concerning to hear Liz Truss (the Foreign Secretary, aka Britain’s “chief diplomat”) say the “jury is out” on being asked whether French President Emmanuel Macron was a “friend or foe”.

Her rival for the Conservative leadership, Rishi Sunak, said “friend”, while even Boris Johnson awoke from his slumbers to say Macron was a “tres bon buddy” of the UK.

Asked about Truss's remark, Macron thought for a while, then said “it's never good to lose your bearings too much in life… if, between us as French and British people, we aren't able to say if we're friends or foes – the term isn't neutral – we're heading towards serious problems”.

He added that the UK was a “friendly, strong, ally nation, regardless of its leaders, and sometimes in spite of and beyond its leaders, or any potential slip-ups they make when playing to the gallery”.

To the woman who would be Prime Minister, we humbly offer some advice: please try to be a bit more diplomatic. And to the French President, we can only say: Cher Macron, The Scotsman est vraiment désolé.

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