Monday, October 30, 2006

What France Needs

This is the cover of the European edition of The Economist this week. Thanks to the EURSOC blog for the tipoff. I wonder if the circulation of The Economist has gone up in Paris. J'espere que oui...

43 comments:

Henry Krinkle said...

I'd rather have Segolene for both political and er...'aesthetic' reasons...

Tom Paine said...

France doesn't need her any more than we do, but neither she nor anyone like her is available. Loads of Kinnocks though, everywhere you look. Spendthrift windbags are never hard to find in politics.

AnyonebutBlair said...

Good for the Economist. I'm a subscriber but can find it too Blairite for my taste....Maybe they have a rogue sub-ed in Paris?

The Druid said...

Wot no handbag?

Peter Hitchens said...

They got what they needed out of her and the rest of you so called conservatives.
Total surrender.

Johnny Norfolk said...

Shame many British people don't realise how great she is.

I would also add the byline

'Its what Britain needs'

Man in a shed said...

She's what everywhere needs !

nadders said...

What nuLab need more like

Anonymous said...

Well, they're welcome to her.

Serf said...

The Economist has become far too wet over recent years. This cover however, makes up for so much in one go.

I thought I was a Thatcherite 20 years ago. The phrase, you don't know what you've got till its gone is so relevant here. Seeing what we have had since, my respect for her continues to grow.

David Lindsay said...

What, the Single European Act, the Anglo-Irish Agreement, the Exchange Rate Mechanism, the Police and Criminal Evidence Act, the replacement of O-levels with GCSEs, the destruction of the stockades of working-class male employment (and thus of paternal authority, especially over teenage boys, in those communities), the misdefinition of liberty as the "freedom" to do absolutely anything one pleases, and the maxims that "greed is good" and that "there is no such thing as society" (by definition including the society that is the family, and the society that is the nation)? Is THAT what France needs?

If anything it is Britain that needs a de Gaulle, who stood up for France against German occupation, Soviet infiltration, American domination, and the anti-French unbalancing of the EEC through British admission. He was right on all four counts. We need someone like that, who will stand up for Britain against all comers. Thatcher was no more such a figure than Blair is, or than Cameron would be.

Anonymous said...

Moi, j'espere que oui aussi - et nous avons besoin d'elle en Grande Bretagne aussi...!!!

youdontknowme said...

They only need Thatcher for the unions. They need someone like Richard the Lionheart for the rioters

CityUnslicker said...

David Lindsay,

There is little point in putting only one side of any argument; especially the male employment issue you can't even elucidate clearly your argument.

However, as counter-points to your valid laudation of de Gaulle. He also reduced legal rights for all in the 5th republic, set in train massive tax rises to pay for his interventionist largesse and withdrew from NATO (explain to me the long-term beneift of that?), covered up the Paris massacre of 1961 and did a Blair in Algeria. He also opposed the Vietnam war, which the French had started in the first place with a re-invasion of Vietbam after 1945.

The man thought he stood up for France even as he sowed the seeds of her fall.

We have another de Gaulle, I hope he leaves us soon

Anonymous said...

"Where there is b*llocks, let me bring merde...."

Anonymous said...

Ian is this more self-publicity? I like the suit but the wig.....

Anonymous said...

Get that chip off your should David!!

What France needs is a sense of humour. That's all. They've got everything else. Nice shops, proper sevice,no idiots hanging around with nothing to do, decent wine, weather, fashion...........................

The Druid said...

Jeremy cj: Has it not occured to you that there are 'no idiots hanging around with nothing to do' becuase they are busy rioting, as they are right now?

France is a basket case. Whereas there is nothing wrong with the UK that five years of proper Conservative government can't fix.

Anonymous said...

just on a side note: when you click on a picture shouldn't the window show an enlarged version? otherwise why have a new window that shows the same picture in the same size?

hmmm.......

Bryan Appleyard said...

I was the first hack through the Channel Tunnel when the two sides broke through. It was just after the fall of Thatcher and at the start of the rise of Paul Gascoigne. 'Thatcher est morte,' I cried as I emerged on the French side, 'Connaissez-vous Gazza?'
'Welcome to France,' they replied in perfect, unaccented English.
I really don't think they need us and compare Gazza to Henry and Zidane if you dare.

Sam Tarran said...

France may need a Thatcher, but do the French people want her?

Anonymous said...

That's Sophie Pedder, the Paris correspondent, for you. I enjoy reading The Economist but it's like a scratched record: France needs market reforms.

That's fine in principal but for many, a dose of Madame Thatcher would taste worse than a can of Carling. Turkies don't vote for Christmas and the French are dependent on the State, from the hordes of workers whose job status is guaranteed (post, telecoms, rail, civil servants) to those hooked on the payouts, benefits and special tax breaks.

That said, I watched "I'm Alright Jack" the film with Peter Sellers in it and was suprised how much it reminds me of France at times, or at least parts of France like the bossy unions. But many parts of France are doing rather well, it has many excellent companies and many public services are superior to those in the UK - and my tax bill's the same as it was in the UK.

But France's revolutionary past suggests that any reformer needs to take the electorate with them, divide-and-rule Thatcherism would probably only lead to massive protests, riots and waning public support for the government.

Kit said...

Attacks on the welfare state, crushing trade unions, f*cking over the poor, cutting spending in health and education, bleeding the NHS dry, undermining workers' rights...

Yes, the world does definatly needs another Thatcher.

*puke*

griswold said...

David Lindasy - Where were you living in 1979 - on your mother's lap?

james higham said...

France would never tolerate a Maggie - they're into a revolutionary hiccup style of forward motion, anxiously glancing above them to see if anyone else is more pre-eminent and about them to see if anyone is noticing.

garypowell said...

The Druid
Good point, New Labour have not screwed everything up. However I would allow at least 10 lucky years, to make things even a bit sensible here.

This would involve getting DC elected ASAP then swiftly stabbing him in the back as soon as he gos anywhere near his recycling bin or our pay cheques.

Putting France right would take an act of GOD involving the eradication of its entire population along with its past 200 odd years of national socialist insanity.

Politicians are not know for even consistantly putting their shoes on the right feet. Getting other people killed in unnessery wars, maybe.

So if I was French waiting for a saviour, I would start praying even more. Failing this just go on a 24/7 riot its all most of France's immigrants and working classes have left to do anyway.

Vienna Woods said...

david lindsay wrote,

"If anything it is Britain that needs a de Gaulle, who stood up for France against German occupation"

I honestly believed that he was hiding in the UK for most of the 2nd World War, only to emerge later as a self elected hero (for what?). It never ceases to amaze me that the "Three" powers made France a 4th partner when Austria was divided up. It beggars belief!

no longer anonymous said...

"Attacks on the welfare state, crushing trade unions, f*cking over the poor, cutting spending in health and education, bleeding the NHS dry, undermining workers' rights..."

The welfare state, state education and state healthcare are funded by coercive taxation. Why should I be compelled to fund services that I don't wish to use?

As for workers rights, what you mean is the government making it more expensive to hire people and do business.

How about the government restricts itself to defending the realm and letting the rest of us get on with our lives without you meddling statists (left or right) poking your noses in everywhere?

Anonymous said...

Common sense for the French. Don't be stupide.

Anonymous said...

Well it would put me off the Economist for life. Enough to bring my dinner up (especially when the effect is doubled by having her in front of the French flag !)

Peter Hitchens said...

Ive been to france
Not only was it shit it was closed.

verity said...

Vienna Woods - And what on earth possessed them to give France a seat in the Security Council?

No Longer Anonymous - I'll drink to that. In fact, I am.

Shotgun said...

griswold said...

David Lindasy - Where were you living in 1979 - on your mother's lap?


This is why I refuse to get into these discussions with the mongs griswold...they seem to either coveniently forget what the UK was like pre-Thatcher, or are too young to know and believe the shite they are peddled by the likes of Bliar, who was a paid up Tory Thatcherite in 1980.

We needed Thatcher, we need Thatcher now, France needs Thatcher, and Europe needs a Thatcher. France and the whole EU down need a Thatcher. Five years of her or her like and the books might be signed off and the French might be able to get some cajones and ween themselves off EU handouts and the welfare state.

Phantom of the Labour Party said...

“Wondering Labour Party, so lost, so helpless, yearning for my guidance…”

www.phantomofthelabourparty.blogspot.com

permanentexpat said...

I remember, in the 80s, watching a TV discussion in Germany where one of the guests was the then Bundeskanzler, Helmut Schmidt. The topic was 'Europe', then, as now, an utter shambles.
Schmidt said: "What Europe needs a strongman...& we have one...but she's not interested."

PJ said...

France will never submit to another Thatcher, for a number of reasons. Politicians there blame the EU or the United States, apparently with success, for everything that goes wrong, so there's no real faith in the ability of the political class to change anything. France has far less of a liberal economic tradition than Britain did, even in the 1970's, and is far less exposed to American ideas, whose importance in Thatcherism cannot be overestimated. The French middle classes are not facing rapidly falling living standards in the way that the British middle classes were between 1973 and 1979. France and the French are not facing a Soviet threat the way Britain was in the 1970's - the issue of unilateral nuclear disarmament helped solidify support for Mrs Thatcher. And most importantly of course, French governments have a way of caving in to protestors at the first sign of resistance. For all those reasons, and doubtless others, it is most unlikely that there will ever be a Mme Thatcher without some seismic shift in France. The Economist has been pushing the line that France (and for that matter every country in Europe except Britain) needs Thatcher-style reforms for a decade or more, but the French think that slow decline, indecisive defeat and a comfortable life is more attractive than the transient but pervasive pains of Thatcherism.

Casual Observer said...

Segolene Royal is a bit better looking than Buggins Brown...

Anonymous said...

L'Euro est fini. The new countries are not being allowed in as promised. The old ones are about to collapse out. She tried to stop it all.

She is being proved right by history. No wonder so many of her own people hate her so. At least the French can see that she was right and they were wrong. How long will it take the British to undo the Euro-damage they've inflicted on themselves? If only we had listened to Maggie, ne'est-ce pas?

Serf said...

no idiots hanging around with nothing to do,

That's because they keep their millions of (mostly immigrant) unemployed well out of the way. That way they can pretend that everything is OK.

David Lindsay said...

A reply to everything that everyone has said in response to my comment would understandably be rejected on grounds of length. But did Margaret Thatcher, or did she not, sign the Single European Act?

Did she, or did she not, sign the Anglo-Irish Agreement, as well as attempt to reintroduce devolution in Northern Ireland at one time, causing integrationist PPSes to resign? Did she, or did she not, take Britain into the ERM? (And don't give me the "she was bullied" line. Margaret Thatcher was bullied? Pull the other one!)

Did she, or did she not, bring in the Police and Criminal Evidence Act? Did she, or did she not, replace O-levels with GCSEs? Did she, or did she, not, effect the destruction of the stockades of working-class male employment, and thus of paternal authority (especially over teenage boys), in those communities?

(How much elucidation does cityunslicker need? If you take away the economic clout of teenage boys' and young men's fathers, and you dismantle the institutions through which they exercise their authority, then you rob them of their power over their hot-headed sons. And we all know what happens next. This is not about class: if the same thing were done to the patriarchal figures of upper-middle-class families in the Home Counties, then the same consequences would result.)

Did she, or did she not, at least indulge and tacitly encourage the misdefinition of liberty as the "freedom" to do absolutely anything one pleases, and the maxim that "greed is good"? And did she, or did she not, actually say that "there is no such thing as society", by definition including the society that is the family, and the society that is the nation?

So one could go on, and on, and on. Is not Political Correctness a recognisably 1980s phenomenon? Are not Thatcher's arguments against pits, steelworks, shipyards and factories directly applicable to farms?

Indeed, did she not continue to subsidise farmers (as I'm very glad that she did), along with fee-paying schools, mortgage-holders and nuclear power (a good idea now, I might add), all for purely political rather than economic reasons, and thus contrary to her own ostensible ideology? Did she not, contrary to that same ideology, decline to privatise the Royal Mail "because it's Royal" (as, again, I'm very glad that she did)?

Did not welfare dependency increase to previously unimaginable proportions on her watch? Was not the provision of local services subjected to an unprecendented degree of central government micromanagement?

Did she not practically invite in the Argentine forces and then find that a Navy which she had starved of resources effectively had to function as if independent of political (i.e., her) control (a sort of coup), or else the Falklands would be Argentine to this day?

Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. Get over her!

Voyager said...

What France needs to do is discover why it is the only country to have had a Republican Revolution and ended up with an Emperor not once, but twice; and how it restored a Monarchy, and ended up with an Imperial Presidency residing in a Palace.

Something is clearly strange about the French and if they ever discover what it is before they are all praising Allah each Friday, their neighbours would be interested to know

Anonymous said...

Isn't that what Angela Merkel is for ?

David Lindsay said...

Glass houses, Voyager: if the number of British Muslisms in the White British ethnic group alone increases by a mere fifty per cent per year (and it is doing so by a lot more than that), then there will be 23 million Muslims in that group alone by 2100. Meanwhile, just how many other people are there going to be in Britain by then, and just how old will they all be?

France is not naturally a republican country at all. It is scarcely fifty years since de Gaulle seriously considered restoring the monarchy, on the British model.

But instead, they have to make do with obsessive popluar interest in the British and Monagasque Royal Families, and with prostrating themselves to a succession of absolute monarchs: de Gaulle himself, Pompidou, Giscard d'Estaing (with his hereditary title, and his and his wife's insistence on being served a course ahead of everyone else because they were so much posher), Mitterand (a fifth cousin or something of The Queen's), Chirac, whoever succeds Chirac, and so on.

That's the trouble with France: whereas Britain is a republic which functions as such precisely by having a monarchy (a trick shared with 15 daughters-turned-sisters), France is a republic longing to be a monarchy.