Bill English is on a quick European visit, currently in England. The joint May / English statement is full of the usual platitudes – a “new and exciting chapter” apparently. It’s true that England will be looking for new trade partners in the aftermath of Brexit (if it ever goes ahead). This may turn out to be good news for NZ, no doubt English will be keen to claim credit if it is.
The usual media suspects are digging pretty deep to try and find anything supportive to say about the visit. Apparently – Bill English attracts attention for all the right reasons in United Kingdom. The attention? Reporters asking for interviews (pretty unusual I know). And the reasons are? Reasons! Or something. About Brexit again apparently. OK.
In other coverage – Waning Kiwi rights in UK a sore spot. Real reporting of a real issue comes along with the deepest delve yet in search of positive spin –
Before her promotion to Prime Minister, Ms May, as Home Secretary, was responsible for constant crack-downs on Kiwi visa rights in the UK.
When asked how she justified chipping away at Kiwi rights, she replied: “We welcome the brightest and best to come to the UK, but it’s also important in the UK that we do ensure we get that control.”
It’s a major sore spot between New Zealand and the UK.
But a cheeky wink from Mr English when it was raised publicly suggests he didn’t much mind the awkwardness.
A “cheeky wink”? What a lovable scruff he is – right? Unfortunately English’s actual words paint a different picture –
“Much as we’d like them to pay more attention to us I don’t expect that we should push Ms May’s goodwill too hard on that.”
Sounds like someone has been put firmly in their place. Ouch.
PM Bill English's winky face 😉said it all when UK PM Theresa May was asked about her clampdown on Kiwi rights https://t.co/shcVtCuRU2
— Tova O'Brien (@TovaOBrien) January 14, 2017