Forget Depp vs. Heard, we want Truss vs. Šefčovič

Welcome to Declassified, a weekly humor column.

The year is 2032 and everyone’s looking back at the events of a decade earlier. Vladimir Putin’s failed war against Ukraine; what proved to be the dying embers of the coronavirus pandemic; the end of crypto (which, by this point in the future, is being spoken about in the same breath as the Sony Walkman and Cabbage Patch Kids).

Brexit, however, is still around (obvs), with Prime Minister Boris Johnson — yes, he’s still British prime minister — breaking away from talks with U.S. President Kylie Jenner to attend an emergency meeting on the Northern Ireland protocol with European Commission President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. At this point, members of Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party have become so red in the face at the indignity of it all that they are visible from space.

Back to the present day and it’s hard to tell the difference between EU-U.K. trade negotiations and trailers from classic zombie films: “A bizarre adventure in fear” (Night of the Living Dead, 1968); “Accept the fact that there’s no escaping the horrible consequences” (Dawn of the Dead, 1978); “the urgency of the situation means we can’t afford to delay any longer” (Liz Truss, 2022).

As far as I can tell, there’s only one way to fix the issues between the British government and the EU … a high-profile, televised court case! But instead of Johnny Depp and Amber Heard (or the supermarket own-brand version of that trial, Coleen Rooney vs. Rebekah Vardy) it’s Liz Truss and Maroš Šefčovič arguing about who did what to whom and about who shit the bed. Spoiler alert, dear reader: Everyone did.

It’s surely a win-win situation (apart from for the people who lose!). Think of the benefits for the EU: forget the Conference on the Future of Europe, which only Guy Verhofstadt’s immediate family has heard of, and enjoy some serious engagement with European citizens through the medium of bitching on TV! The bloc could take advantage of the massive audience to plug all the good things it has done! All those commissioners who don’t seem to do a great deal could be called as character witnesses! Johnson would be forced to take to the stand and admit all the stuff he made up about the EU when he was a journalist in Brussels! There could even be targeted advertising: “Tired of dirty old Russian energy? Want to stop financing Putin’s bloody and senseless war? Then try REPowerEU today!”

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Forget Depp vs. Heard, we want Truss vs. Šefčovič

“Just one more photo and we can change into our matching turtlenecks.”

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Paul Dallison is POLITICO‘s slot news editor.