Monday, 19 December 2011
The media panicked a little when Silvio Berlusconi finally stepped down... "who will fill his clown sized shoes?!" they cried... Step forward Nicolas Sarkozy... In a week which saw Cameron tell the Sarkozy-Merkel coalition to stick it people finally started asking two important questions... "Did Cameron really do what he said he was going to do?!" and "I've got a hunch the French don't really like us, is this true?"
Of course... before I continue I would like to state that not everyone in France hates Britain... I'm pretty sure there are some Anglophiles among them and vice-versa with Francophiles living among us and in fact I have some very close French friends... but it really seems as though Monsieur Sarkozy has taken a dislike to our Premiere.
This turn of events that saw Cameron likened to a petulant child and Merkel seemingly begin to re-think her allegiance with a man destined to court controversy by declaring Britain was still an important member of the EU. Sure Cameron may have put a spanner in the works, but the German government has a history of thinking before acting in recent times, and while they may in secret be fuming, they have refused to be drawn into the slagging match that has ensued with the French government. In fact, if reports are true, Merkel called Cameron days later to discuss strategies.
But what I don't get is the sudden sense of shock that washed across the British public and media at the fact that maybe, just maybe Sarkozy doesn't like us... that our impeccable friendship over the years has suddenly been tarnished, that our greatest ally has suddenly declared a war of words on us. Oh and on a sub-note why do the BBC feel it so necessary to pronounce his name with such a forced French accent, especially when the name originates from Hungary.
In fact I can only think of one time in since 1066 that we've actually had a purple patch. It seems that Guy Mollet, the French Prime minister during 1956 was a rather big Anglophile. France was experiencing hard times with Nasser privatising the Suez Canal and supporting the rebels in Algeria. After secret files were made available it seems, impressed by Britain's help during the World War and the combined effort to re-take the Suez, Mollet suggested the unthinkable and Sarkozy's worst nightmare - a union between Great Britain and France. Anthony Eden laughed this idea off, but the later suggestion of joining the Commonwealth where the Queen would be come the head of state was seriously entertained by both parties... but obviously it never went through and France ended up joining the EEC with Germany a year later while Eden refused to do anything but watch... a decision which still has repercussions to this day.
Apart from this it seems we have never seen eye to eye with our cross channel neighbours - Cross English Channel may I say ;) ... So President Sarkozy doesn't like us (a man caught on tape calling the Israeli number 1 a liar)... The French finance minister said people would rather be French than English in a business sense at the moment and the French Prime Minister - Francois Fillon, while on a trip to Brasil, effectively said... France... why should we be downgraded?! Look at Britain... they are really poor... apparently he was misquoted.... but at the end of all this... I have to say this is nothing compared to history.
It is rare neighbours get on well in a country sense. There is usually a sense of bitterness... and the last 1000 years have been no different for Britain and France. We have done nothing but argue and fight... so why the fuck people are so shocked now is beyond me. They invaded us in 1066... then later we invaded them. Agincourt, Waterloo, Napoleon Vs Wellington, The Hundred Years War, The Seven Years war and when the American's finally declared their independence they only went and gave them a fucking statue. An iconic statue that stands on the gateway to New York that stands as a permanent reminder as to just how much the French didn't like what we stood for. There have been plenty more squabbles and wars, but they don't get on with us on the battlefield and they tend not to think the same way on Monarchy, Politics, Food and about everything that Britain has an opinion on... in short... we have not a lot in common, in fact it seems that in a cultural and political sense we are each others antithesis...
It seems that, as Hitler once tried to copy the 'achievements' of Napoleon, Sarkozy wants to emulate the controversy of Chirac. Ahhhh Jacque Chirac... a man who asked Tony Blair what Leo would think of Britain invading Iraq, a man who said you can't trust the Brits cause they cook badly, and slagged our beef off! Chirac had about as much time for Blair as Sarkozy has for Cameron, but in my opinion Sarkozy has a lot to learn ... Chirac was by far the better agitator...
I think that we can draw two hopes from this blog... number one... that the maxim involving people - throwing stones - and glass houses is soon taken on... and that number two... that if Mr Sarkozy is replaced by the leader of the opposition - Francois Hollande, a man who wants to re-negotiate the treaty Sarkozy so wants to sign- that our two nations can start to find a few things in common and get along a bit better to work towards a better future. I just hope no-one mentions our cooking or their agricultural subsidies.
Written by @roywoodhouse
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Posted by Roy Woodhouse at 22:49