Bitesized Blighty: February 7, 2020

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  • A stand-off between the UK and the EU overfishing rights has triggered alarm in the City of London that Boris Johnson’s approach to trade negotiations with Brussels risks sacrificing its access to the bloc. Recent signals from the EU suggesting its demands for continued access to British fishing waters might be played off against financial services has spooked the sector. In a speech on Monday, Mr Johnson laid out plans for a deal that could deprive the UK financial services sector of access to the EU market, while also resurrecting the threat of a no-deal Brexit.
  • The launch of a 50p coin to mark Britain’s exit from the EU prompted calls for its boycott on the grounds that its slogan “Peace, prosperity and friendship with all nations” was poorly punctuated. The Oxford Comma (a punctuation mark that appears before the words “and” or “or” at the end of a list) is more frequent in the US than the UK, although common sense dictates that the Oxford comma should be used to avoid ambiguity. For example: “I would like to thank my parents, Sinead O’Connor and the Pope”. Oxford Comma or not, the words fall flat, not coming close to the highly effective “Take Back Control” and “Get Brexit Done” slogans pioneered by the Leave campaign.
  • The EU’s final words to the UK as it departed the union after nearly half a century were “thank you, goodbye, and good riddance”. The misspoken farewell, spoken by the Croatian ambassador to her UK counterpart Tim Barrow last week, perhaps sums up 47 years of the Britons being lost in translation in Brussels. Irena Andrassy was chairing the UK’s final envoys as a member state and assumed “good riddance” was akin to “good luck”, although cynics may argue that the goodbye was a barb in disguise.  

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