Coffee House

The François Hollande farce is a tragedy for France

3 January 2014

1:24 PM

3 January 2014

1:24 PM

François Hollande seems like the European Left’s answer to George W. Bush, a disaster-prone buffoon who somehow makes it to the top and then wrecks his country. The comparison doesn’t quite work, however: Bush II, for all his flaws, had charm, some good fortune, and some political skill: he was re-elected, remember. Francois Hollande seems to have no redeeming qualities and rotten luck to boot. From its first day, when his plane was struck by lightning en route to Angela Merkel, his presidency has been plagued by disasters. He inspires nothing but contempt and mirth. The polls suggest ‘Monsieur Flanby’ — the nickname comes the popular French pudding — is the most unpopular French President of all time. He goes from awkward gaffe to awkward gaffe, and we all laugh because it is funny.

But the Hollande presidency isn’t just a farce: it’s a tragedy too.France’s manufacturing sector is now performing worse than Greece. Last Spring Hollande promised to bring down France’s rising unemployment, but figures published on Boxing Day revealed that French joblessness has risen again. His incompetence and high-spending policies have reduced the Fifth Republic to the sort of desperately poor shape it was in under Mitterand in the early 1980s — yet in his new year address he still had the nerve to argue that, while he may have to cut taxes taxes a little, austerity was the problem, not the answer.

[Alt-Text]


Jingoistic commentators in Britain might cheer at the misery on the other side of the channel, especially since it puts greater strain on the dysfunctional European Union and as the French rich keep pouring their wealth into London to escape Hollande’s punitive taxes. But France’s possible collapse can’t be something to celebrate, and it may end up giving us more immigration headaches in the longer run.

Hollande’s strategy now seems to be to fight every war going abroad and to ignore his centre-right opponents at home, the struggling l’UMP. He choses instead to pitch himself against the Front National, the rising force in French politics. Presumably his hope is that the public will, when it comes to le crunch, choose him over the far right. But that’s wishful thinking: the polls suggest that the new-look FN of Marine Le Pen, which can no longer be brushed aside as an  ‘extremist’ group even if nasty elements remain (see Daniel Hannan’s brilliant Spectator cover piece this week), will emerge as the clear winner at the next French European elections. Le Pen may even land the presidency in 2017. If that happens, right-thinking pundits everywhere will shriek in horror, but they can hardly blame the French: nothing could be worse than five more years of Flanby.

Subscribe to The Spectator today for a quality of argument not found in any other publication. Get more Spectator for less – just £12 for 12 issues.


Show comments
  • orthotox

    Now, one year and eleven months on, after today’s (15/11/13) massacres, the article rings truer than ever – especially about Le Pen!

    • Pat

      Yes…. Hollande is even less popular that the King Louis 16th, the one that lost his head.

  • M. Wenzl

    Steady on. It’s true that Hollande’s tenure (18 months out of five years so far) has been far from a success; but it has only really been a failure insofar that he is presiding over long-term stagnation, and is not a strong enough statesman to really do anything about it. That’s not surprising given his background. Hollande has no experience of government. His career was built behind the scenes of the Socialist party, as a back-room apparatchik. Ironically enough, this hasn’t helped the fact that he rules at the head of an effective coalition. The Socialist party is united only in name, divided between its pro-globalisation social democrats and anti-globalisation leftist elements. Lots of Hollande’s ministers hate each other. Just taking the finance ministry, Pierre Moscovici and Arnaud Montebourg don’t see eye to eye in the slightest. And to boot, Moscovici doesn’t get on with the PM, Jean-Marc Aryault. In the Senate, the government often relies on the votes of the Communists.. which the 2014 social security budget repeatedly proved are not necessarily forthcoming.

    Hollande is completely torn between two contradictory impulses that are manifest in his party. He can’t proceed with one without frustrating the other and potentially losing internal support. So all he can do is muddle along. Such an approach is a disaster in itself, but so far France has averted any acute crises, rendering Hollande’s presidency a lame duck tenure rather than the out and out catastrophe that this article proclaims.

  • Rossspeak

    We may well “goat and giggle” at the economic nonsenses dans La Bell France – but be warned – vote MilliBalls and we could well get a dose of French economics here.

  • manonthebus

    The odd thing is that he made no secret of his policies when a candidate for President. Those policies were almost bound to make matters worse. I assumed that he was merely lying and would change his policies as soon as he was elected. Instead, he carried on with them despite plenty of evidence. Perhaps the commenter below is right in saying that France is all but ungovernable. However, France is a large country with a large economy and will be able to recover at some point in the future.

    • Tony_E

      The question France should be asking itself is ‘Can we pay our debts and liabilities?’

  • The_greyhound

    Despite the difference in body shape, this man bears an astonishing resemblance to Ed. Miliband.

  • Tony_E

    Socialism in one country – that was tried in the 80’s. It failed because of the realities of the inefficiencies of state control, the power of Germany (or in reality the Bundersbank) and the constraints of the European Monetary Snake.

    This time the Snake is even harder to bypass – the Euro is doesn’t allow even controlled revaluations of currencies, so France cannot hope to compete unless it is as economically efficient as Germany.

    Socialism is never efficient.

  • Lady Magdalene

    The French got what they voted for.
    I’d like to think they won’t make that mistake again …. but they probably will.
    Mind you, a significant number seem to be learning from their mistakes and are turning to Marine le Pen.

  • marksl

    One needs to keep in focus the direction that the Front National under Marine Le Pen is starting to take. She is changing the FN into a ‘Gaullist Party of the Left’. She and others like to remind everyone that, in her words a few months ago, ‘There was a De Gaulle of the Right, but also a De Gaulle of the Left’.
    De Gaulle was never a conventional conservative, and the social model that he introduced in 1945, while different from the British version (which is Beveridge as implemented by the Attlee Government), is as embedded in the national psyche of France as the NHS and welfare state is in Britain’s.
    De Gaulle and the Free French thinkers were well aware that it was the industrial workers of France, and the paysans, who supported the Resistance and helped Liberation, while the bourgeoisie largely supported Petain. The 1945 social model rewarded the working people for their support, giving them what the Popular Front started in 1936-38 but could not take very far. (Leon Blum, the Popular Front Prime
    Minister, was a strong supporter of De Gaulle and his ideas, after he was freed
    from Vichy detention in 1944.)
    Arguably, the FN is nearer to classic Gaullism than is Nicholas Sarkozy.
    Thus the FN is for the established French social and economic model: Colbertiste direction of the economy and Government involvement in it, and the welfare model that dates from 1945.
    The next few years of political debate in France may offer the curious sight of the FN and PS sharing the same platform, so to speak, in support of the French social model, with a split UMP giving reluctant support to Sarkozy and Alain Juppé and their ‘Anglo-Saxon’ principles.
    On Left-wing Gaullism, see http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaullisme_de_gauche (a useful summary, but not yet updated to discuss the Front National’s potential move towards this political philosophy).

  • http://ajbrenchley.com/namaskar Swanky

    Wrongo, Freddy: George W. Bush was good for his country and also for the sane part of the world. No comparison with some Lefty looney-tune determined to ruin the Best Thing that France has to offer (wine as an export commodity).

    • Tony_E

      I don’t think there is any comparison between Bush and Hollande, but if you think Bush was good for the USA (or the western world) then I would suggest another good look at the legacy of Bush II

      Anyone can create growth if they inflate the money supply. The end result of Bush was the greatest transfer of wealth from the individual to the state in modern history, in the form of currency devaluation, debt increase and market interference.

      Wars have to be paid for – and the rich never pay for them. Coin cropping was the trick of ancient kings to subsidise their adventures – and the trick, as perpetrated by the central banks, has changed very little. As the currency one holds in his hand is constantly devalued by stealth, this is a tax on the asset poor and a driver towards greater inequality. The Rich can simply buy an asset which is not increasing in supply – but the average man cannot invest, while all the time his earnings are chipped away by the loss of value.

      Bush, Greenspan & Bernanke should be, in any sane capitalist society, facing jail. Certainly not lauded as men of immense wisdom.

  • Tom Tom

    France will have a new Croix de Feu

  • Daniel Maris

    And Cameron wants us to follow France’s energy policy! You think that would give him pause.

  • Daniel Maris

    Isn’t it odd how all you Speccie journos have all been poring over economic figures during the Christmas break and come up with the same observation of French manufacturing performing worse than Greek…?… hmmm…or did you all get the same e mailed doc from No. 10 and just reproduce it.

    Germany, Sweden and Denmark all take far more tax than the UK and are doing as well as or better than the UK over the last 3.5 years.

    • Andy

      But you forget that neither Germany, Sweden nor Denmark were cursed with that idiot Gordon the Moron Brown and the Fascist Labour Party. If they had been I am sure they would be in as big if not bigger mess.

      • Daniel Maris

        Denmark is currently led by Kinnock’s daughter in law. It’s the happiest country and one of the wealthiest – and has the highest renewables energy production of a major country.

        • http://ajbrenchley.com/namaskar Swanky

          Most if not all ‘renewables’ are underpinned/propped up by conventional energy. I’d be skeptical of that, and I am.

        • Tom Tom

          It is a small by UK standards outside the Euro and without Greenland aan irrelevance

  • lgrundy

    “Jingoistic commentators in Britain might cheer at the misery on the other side of the channel, especially since it puts greater strain on the dysfunctional European Union”
    Great idea. Hip, hip…

    • WalterSEllis

      Faragistas like to pretend that Europe is in an iron grip, with nations prevented from taking their own decision. Yet it is obvious that different EU member states have behaved differently over the years, so that some are prosperous, some are failing and others are more or less in the middle. National governments still take key decisions. France is still France; the UK is still (for now) the UK; and Germany remains Germany. Brussels and the euro may not (to say the least) be in the best of shape these days, but if individual member states are failing, they should look first to their own leaders and their own economies instead of lumping all the blame on Europe.

      On immigration, for example, it is not just British jobs that incomers are looking for, it is the free access to health and welfare that most other EU countries don’t offer. Similarly, a majority of new arrivals down the years have not come from Europe, but from the wider world. In both cases, EU law does not apply.

      • global city

        The Mafia know that they only have to put you into concrete boots in order to achieve their holistic goals.

        There is no plan nor intention to ease off the integration process.

  • black11hawk

    God help us if we end up with Miliband, he strikes me as a clone of Hollande.

  • wobble

    Makes Global Gordon look good though !

    • Wilhelm

      Hmm, the all seeing eye, the sign of the occultish free masons. Brown is a mason, but then, they’re all are.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V9u97-LBgSQ

      • Daniel Maris

        Wilhelm – if you really want to get yourself banned, keep mentioning the Freemasons.

  • swatnan

    George Jr wasn’t as thick as most people make him out to be, but he was a Texan and shot from the hip first, then asked questions. You may recall that infamous incident where Sarko ignored Dave and gave him the brush off. Now Dave’s laughing as France is floored. As for Hollande, he was just a Party hack and had no real experience of elected office, rather like Foot, thinkers but not doers. Both France and Italy and London produced clowns, in Hollande Berlusconni and BoJo, and the ectorate have nobody to blame but themselves. We need more doers in future, and not so much thinkers.

    • http://ajbrenchley.com/namaskar Swanky

      Ever been to Texas? I lived there five years. People tell lies about Texans. It serves their purposes.

  • Curnonsky

    If any American president fits the “buffoon who wrecks his country” sneer it would be the current incumbent, who as we all remember was enthusiastically supported by one Freddy Gray.

    Obama and Hollande won election by using the classic Socialist ruse of promising voters the earth, to be paid for by taxing “the rich”. Only afterwards does it dawn on the fools that they are “the rich”, there is no pie in the sky.

    Meanwhile, Red Ed prepares they exact same ruse here.

    • http://ajbrenchley.com/namaskar Swanky

      Have an imaginary double recommend!

    • telemachus

      Never ever confuse the meandering psyche of Obama with the dynamic go ahead Ed Miliband
      Remember also the advantage Miliband has in having the charismatic Shadow Chancellor at his right hand

      • starfish

        I have come to the conclusion that your posts are written by a robot

  • zanzamander

    Le Pen may even land the presidency in 2017

    Not likely. You seem to forget that in 2002, dad Le Pen nearly ousted Jacques Chirac who survived only after a deal was concocted between the main parties and desperate last ditch attempt by the media, both French and international, academia, socialites, celebrities and sportsmen/women to bury dad Le Pen once and for all, which then gave him (Chirac) a landslide.

    Same thing will happen again if the daughter even gets a whiff of second round.

    • crosscop

      Oh they will try. But Marine is far more popular than her dad. The opposition tried their “concocted deal” tricks at the recent Brignoles by-election and the FN candidate still won with 53.9% of the vote. And a Muslim atrocity or two ( inevitable) between now and 2017 will send even more votes her way. France is waking up. They will only bury Marine Le Pen “once and for all” by assassinating her.

      • Makroon

        Not only that. Chirac had status and was popular and trusted. And times were relatively good. This time, it will be a different kettle of fish.
        The electorate may refuse to be stitched up.

        • marksl

          Whatever one thinks of Jacques Chirac (‘trusted’ is not exactly the word one would use), he had one ‘atout’ that no one after him will have. He is the last French leader to have served in Government under Charles de Gaulle. Chirac was a young Minister in Georges Pompidou’s cabinet in May 1968; and he played a significant role in the ‘Grenelle’ negotiations with the unions and employers that ended the spate of strikes and got France back to work in June. This ‘model’ of ‘co-gestion’ has existed ever since then. It is not surprising that while Chirac led France it was not overturned. There is no leader on the horizon who seems likely to try – certainly not Marine Le Pen (see my comment higher up).

          • Makroon

            Chirac’s “pecadillos” have been raked over and his reputation trashed, but, at the time, he was trusted.

  • WalterSEllis

    It is difficult to disagree with much of Freddy Gray’s analysis. Francois Hollande clearly lacks the skills and incisiveness needed to rescue his country’s economy and, like a cut-down U.S. President, has decided to risk all instead on foreign adventures.

    Yet we should remember that his predecessor was equally inept and also monumentally unpopular. Nicolas Sarkozy presided over the previous phase of French decline, incurring the scorn of the media, the political establishment and, ultiomately, the electorate. He was also, unlike Hollande, a Flash Harry, the king of bling, who – rather like Blair – ached to be viewed as a global celebrity.

    And let us not let French voters off the hook, or French business leaders. Voters rejected Sarkozy and flocked to the Left, knowing Holland’s agenda, which he did not disguise. Months later, they were consumed with buyer’s remorse, but instead of blaming themselves, blamed him. The manufacturing sector, meanwhile, fell into a state of torpor, with those at the top thinking mainly of themselves and the tax they might have to pay. Hundreds of thousands of French young people moved abroad, most of them to London, while those at the top in banking and business looked around for safe havens that would leave them rich while their companies failed.

    If France is a basket case, it is not all Francois Hollande’s fault. He was the wrong choice, but he was the man they voted for.

    • HookesLaw

      The foreign adventures are pretty small and would not take place but for terrorist events. We of course had to help airlift their troops.

    • Draughtsman

      But is that not true of all elections where there is an unpopular government and/or leader seeking another term of office? Voters are not actually voting for a change of government they just want to see the back of the incumbent. I would aver that many of the French electorate just wanted Sarkozy gone, knew what to expect with Hollande, but voted for him anyway hoping that they would be proven wrong.

      • the viceroy’s gin

        …sounds familiar.

  • HJ777

    The situation in France seems to be rather as if we had elected Michael Foot (or Neil Kinnock) as prime minister.

    • HookesLaw

      Or Miliband

      • Andy

        Good Lord deliver us. . .

      • HJ777

        The very thought makes me shudder, but you were right to point it out.

        Of course, we haven’t yet had the opportunity to reject Miliband at the ballot box…

        • Nicholas chuzzlewit

          There are enough idiots in Britain to elect a fool like Miliband and he will make Hollande and his lunacies look like a case study in sensible moderation. Be afraid, be very afraid.

  • DavidL

    M Hollande may be a buffoon (OK, he is) but France has been heading over the precipice for decades. And while the French centre/right may have talked about reform, they have never been able to deliver it, and ended up pandering to the French belief that the lessons of economic history don’t apply to them.

    • Alexsandr

      France is ungovernable. If you pass unpopular measures those affected will riot. So the government is in permanent paralysis.
      However, a weak France just should strengthen our resolve to trade out of the EU, which must surely be heading for more recession.

      • Makroon

        Ha-ha, but despite all the gloom, the geniuses in the bond market have French yields 0.5% lower than the US and UK – explain that one.

        • greggf

          More deflation, makroon!

        • weejonnie

          Because it is expected that UK interest rates will rise soon – to ensure that the growth doesn’t become a bubble or that inflation will rise due to increasing demand.

      • greggf

        Factions are developing everywhere Alex, at least in France they can render stupid government policies impotent, whereas in Britain stupid policies persist……

    • Holly

      How very true.

    • the viceroy’s gin

      …sounds familiar.

    • telemachus

      Absolutely
      See my post to Nico Mustard below
      The haughty French thought they could survive by dint of being French and having the Germans kowtow
      Just like they created the 1933 regime by insisting on unjustified reparations
      Well Merkel saw the trap and is now seeing them off
      We can use the opportunity to create first an Anglo German hegemony of Europe and then a British dominance of a Federal Europe

      • Colonel Mustard

        Back to that tired old ‘Nico’ business, eh? You must be desperate to resort to that online lefty ploy and no-one has ever called me ‘Nico’ in my long life. The gravy line lost its attraction unlike the gravy train so many of your comrades enjoy at taxpayers expense and the mustard was too hot and got right up your nose. You will have to consult the Big Red Lefty Book of Online Slime again to see what else you can come up with to try to assert your bogus moral superiority.

        But once again we see the hypocrisy and double standards so typically consistent of you leftist filth. On the one hand you bray about others imaginary xenophobia and then you demonstrate the genuine article with your own subjective stereotype of the French.

        But to blame 1933’s Germany on the French is repulsive even for you. We know you like the communist dictators and their methods but should have guessed your admiration for state-sponsored coercion and oppression probably extended to national socialism as well.

        • telemachus

          I would single out Andre Tardieu particularly
          If the French had agreed to relax the straightjacket of reparations in the late 20’s the NatSocs would never have gained traction in the Weimar Sepublic

          • Colonel Mustard

            So, you admit that it was merely a contributing factor rather than as originally asserted that the French “created the 1933 regime”.

            • telemachus

              No
              As the French created the terror
              So they created the broth( not gravy) in which National Socialism grew to fruition

    • Pip

      Historically the French favour Socialist Governments so to be fair to them, they deserve all they are getting and are going to get as a result of their fondness for such.

      • crosscop

        If it had been left to the real French, Sarkozy would have won the election. The Muslim block vote won it for Hollande.

  • greggf

    Hollande has nothing going for him.
    Most of his “career” to the top appears unseemly and opportunistic following Jospin’s ignominious defeat by Le Pen in 2002 ; from his time in Lille as PS chief, his treatment of the mother of his children, the inimical relationship with other PS luminaries including Martine Aubry, his dubious trade with the French Greens and his affair with that serial mistress Trierweller – not to mention his scholastic gurnings!

    However he has had “amazing successes” with North African hostage releases but suspicion lingers about the ransoms paid. But are these “successes” engineered as Hollande’s “Observatory Affair” moment, copying Mitterrand’s own plot to retrieve his political career at a similar low ebb with some headlines about an attempt on his life?

    • Tom Tom

      The Enarques have destroyed France

  • http://twitter.com/TheAgedP The Aged P

    Oh Mr Gray….I guess we know who the disaster prone buffoon at the Speccie is…

  • HookesLaw

    Typical of the idiot Gray to seek to ridicule Bush.

    • post_x_it

      Dubya was quite capable of opening himself up to the ridicule of pseudo-intellectual snobs by mangling his language and pulling bewildered faces in public. However, other than the Iraq debacle, one cannot conceivably say that he “wrecked his country”, and history will almost certainly be kinder to him than to the eloquent smoothies who came before and after him.

      • starfish

        Yes
        The ineptitude of Carter, the smarmy duplicity of Clinton (on whom the rise of Al Quaida and militant islam and the attack on New York can be squarely laid) and the current idiot in the White House are certainly no shining examples of presidential effectiveness. It does make you wonder why the BBC thinks they are so brilliant yet try to rubbish the real achievements of Reagan and George Bush senior
        One would almost think it was a political agenda

        • Andy

          Yes but Clinton was far too busy trying to get laid.

  • http://www.facebook.com/martin.adamson.75 Martin Adamson

    And George W Bush delivered rates of economic growth and unemployment that European leaders have not seen since the 1950s.

    • telemachus

      George Bush was a weak warmonger led by the nose by revisionist Blair

      • Colonel Mustard

        That would be the same Tony “Things Can Only Get Better” Blair you voted for three times. The current Michael Foot, bring back 1968 love-in fools no-one. You might like to forget your crimes against the country but many won’t.

        • telemachus

          The one value Blair had was that he facilitated Gordon’s magnificent engineering of the biggest economic boom for a century

          • Colonel Mustard

            As always. Sideways, slithering, to avoid the direct challenge and to retort, retreating, with another repetitive boast from your very limited and very tedious script.

          • Pip

            You are either a complete fool or a wannabe comedian, either way you are a bore.

            • telemachus

              Neither fool nor comedian
              But the world needs bores
              They get things done
              They care and are reasonable

          • MikeBrighton

            Engineering is the wrong word, deception or illusion may be better

          • global city

            That was one giant credit card splurge…. until we found out that Wonga was operating the payback scheme!

        • Tom Tom

          Just posted a reply listing Wolfowitz, Perle, Rumsfeld, Cheney and the words led by – 10 words in all and Disqus has sucked it in

        • Pip

          I wont forget and I suspect million upon millions will never forget what Blair and New Labour did to the UK, one only has to open their eyes and look around the country to see the evidence of their treason and criminality

          • telemachus

            The evidence I see is of a massive school building and hospital building program
            It is sad that the stewardship of these 2 great institutions has led you to your current disillusion
            But credit where credit issue please

            • global city

              Oh, yeah….. PFI, or as it was known, the second wonga loan that does not appear on the acounts book that we’ve laready wrecked!

              • Tom Tom

                PFI started under Lamont and exploded under Brown as Off-Sheet Financing which appeared neither on Governmentr nor Bank B/S but hidden in SIVs in tax havens

            • Colonel Mustard

              School buildings in which children were not taught to read and write properly and hospital buildings in which the elderly were murdered by Burnham’s determination to put party political propaganda before care. A fine irony for you to boast about that. Never mind credit. I’d like to see them get their just and long overdue desserts – especially Burnham.

            • Tom Tom

              Sadly they are cheaply built industrial warehouses unsuited for schooling or health care which will have huge TCO issues for taxpayers

          • Tom Tom

            You can revel in that but he has done it and it will not be undone. He has made facts on the ground

      • Pip

        George W Bush Jnr was a warmonger and a fraud but he was led by the nose by his Father who in turn through whatever means is open to debate, convinced warmonger Blair to take to UK into an illegal war justified by lies.

        • Tom Tom

          Cheney, Wolfowitz and the Chickenhawks

  • sir_graphus

    Hollande’s campaigned on a platform of living in pre-crash la-la land. The voters went for it. They might also have been mighty tired of the pompous would-be Napoleon incumbent. I can’t blame them for that, at least.
    But it’s no surprise Hollande’s policies and reality are colliding.

    • HookesLaw

      Its one thing to say that the incumbant is not perfect. Its inexcusable however to vote to let in someone far worse. Thats what the French did with Sarkozy and the witty commentators were happy to be the ones belittling Sarkozy back then.

      And of course this is what the nutjobs want to do here in 2015.

      • Hexhamgeezer

        Exactly. Vote for Cameron because he’s rubbish, whereas Milliband is total cr@p and Clegg is a bit more rubbish than dave.

        I can see millions enthused by that one.

      • Makroon

        Sarkozy was an abject failure. He talked a lot but did virtually nothing to reform France.

        • Tom Tom

          He was a crook of Hungarian gypsy extraction on the take from Ghadaffi and tied to Charles Pasqua who was heavily into the Canadian Mafia and Corsican families. In addition his stepfather in law was Frank Wisner, Jr whose father founded the CIA and who “helped” Sarkozy into power as an analogue to Bush/Cheney France has Sarkozy/Pasqua

      • Tom Tom

        it is another to spell “incumbent”

    • telemachus

      But Society is becoming more equal and the ordinary French are happier

      • James Lovelace

        ” Society is becoming more equal and the ordinary French are happier”

        Would that be the “ordinary French” muslims, who torched another 1000 cars this New Year’s Eve? Shops do not sell incendiary liquids for about 2 weeks around NYE, to stop the cars being torched. Alcohol cannot be bought near the Champs Elysee on NYE. No other country in the west has these problems. So let the happy “ordinary French” stay there.

        When Chinese friends stayed with me last year, they hated their trip to France, describing the immigrants in Paris as “threatening”. They didn’t feel at all threatened in London.

        • telemachus

          No-one said the French were not as truculent as they have always been by nature
          Just that they were happier as they are

          • Colonel Mustard

            How do you know they are happy, diminutive Giant Ego-Man? Have you travelled the length and breadth of France in your Big Red Happy Clappy Hot Air Balloon and asked each and every one of them? Or are you relying on some “report” from a Common Purpose think tank again?

      • Colonel Mustard

        Define “more equal”? Do you mean giving vociferous minority groups disproportionate influence and power over public life as has happened here? Do you mean the kind of “equality” that lets the police selectively target hate crime according to the race and religion of the perpetrators and victims?

        Do you mean the equality of taxpayer funded quango bosses and third sector fake charity bosses earning more than the PM?

        Do you mean the “equality” that when the Tories screw up the BBC never let us forget it but when Labour are in the frame there is no story? That kind of “equality”.

        No, of course you mean it in the “All animals are equal but some are ‘more equal’ than others” way that adheres to your ideology like dog poo on a shoe sole and stinks just as bad.

        You are full of it. And it isn’t “equality”.

        • Holly

          He means that many of the rich have fled, and the rest are more ‘equally’ poor.
          Moronic, socialism for you.

        • telemachus

          Thin insipid tasteless gravy

          • Colonel Mustard

            Tired. You don’t seem to understand the difference between gravy and mustard. Mustard gets right up your nose and you continue to reveal it.

            And you didn’t answer the questions. Which stand. Unsurprisingly because you have no answers. You people are all about power and telling others what to do. Never about honesty, truth, accountability, admitting your mistakes and crimes, or answering questions.

            • telemachus

              Crimes? Crimes?
              You mean rescue from climes of greed and self serving hedonism visited on the population before 1997 and now being reintroduced
              To answer the underlying question here, as you the Great Nico instruct, I think you have to look at the true reason for the ongoing decline of French fortunes
              It has nothing to do with the leadership
              It is rooted in the spineless haughty nature of the French character
              In the same way that the fortunes of our UK GDP currently is rooted in the Grit inherent in the British character and has not been hindered too much by Osborne’s mismanagement of our economy from the minute he took control and turned off growth by axing capital investment

              • telemachus

                The role of the leadership here and in France is the distribution of the fruits of National effort

                • global city

                  Nah, it is the destruction of the capacity of the national effort

                • Tom Tom

                  France has the most corrupt self-servingf elite in Europe

              • Colonel Mustard

                Crimes? Crimes? Yes. Crimes.

                There was no rescue. From anything. The whole socialist construct that everything is terribly unfair and must be put right is a sham. They have been at it since the turn of the last century and every time it engines government there is disaster, from Lenin to Hollande’s Sauce.

                And part of that sham is to attribute achievement to disaster and paper over the mistakes and crimes, as you do, or to blame anyone else, as you do.

                As much a sham as your own boasted xenophilia laid waste by your nasty comment about the French ‘character’.

                You represent the truly nasty party that coasts along under the pretence of its own hyper-inflated opinions of itself, just as you do. You should try being honest, just for once. It would save England so much more pain and misery in the pursuit of a long lost cause by the most dishonest means.

          • global city

            Ah, gruel…the staple of Socialist societies!

      • Hugh

        Any chance of some evidence to back those assertions? A poll by Ipsos Mori in December found the French the least optimistic of 20 nationalities about their country’s prospects and in the bottom five on their personal prospects, so I suspect you’re just making it up – as ever.
        http://www.ipsos-mori.com/researchpublications/researcharchive/3313/Britons-less-likely-to-say-theyre-materialistic-than-most-other-countries.aspx

        • telemachus

          Despite the poor ratings of Hollande himself the poll in Le Figaro last month showed the well being ratings of Parisians was greater than under Sarkosi

          • Colonel Mustard

            What desperate tripe. Even for you.

          • Hugh

            So, Parisians are doing better and everyone else worse: that sounds like more inequality to me.

            • Nicholas chuzzlewit

              Well that is Socialism for you. Animal Farm refers.

          • Hugh

            Also, any chance of a link to that poll?

          • James Allen

            Those same “well-being” stats place most African countries ahead of Europe and North America. Are you suggesting we should return to a similar state of ‘pre-development’? Either stop trolling or get serious!

      • Lussac

        Sorry to break into this little discussion but from evidence around here in this part of France you are very, very wrong. GPs are handing out happy pills like they’re going out of fashion, disillusionment and depression are rife and there is an underlying feeling that the country is in fact ungovernable. It says something when the local youth coming out of education aspire to be “functionaries” (working for the state) as it’s an easy ride and almost a job for life. Ambition has been beaten out of the young by the state, if there is any attempt to change even the smallest things in working conditions there are strikes and in some cases even riots.

        • Nicholas chuzzlewit

          You have just described his/ their idea of paradise.

        • telemachus

          You speak as a typical disillusioned expat
          The indigenous majority, but clearly not in your probably plutocratic neighbourhood, are happier
          See below

          • Colonel Mustard

            You speak as a typically brainwashed socialist. In every comment. Boring.

            It is high time for you to put an end to your sitting in this place, which you have dishonoured by your contempt of all honesty, and defiled by your practice of every lie. You Fabians are a fractious crew, and enemies to all good government.

            In the name of God, go!

            • Nicholas chuzzlewit

              Happy new year Colonel and more power to your elbow sir! One small point, a prerequisite for brainwashing is the ownership of a brain and as Team Telemachus does not possess such an item it cannot be applied here.

              • telemachus

                I recommend you read about networks and corporate intelligence

                • Nicholas chuzzlewit

                  I can only repeat the Colonel’s advice in the face of you persistent defilement and disrespect for this site with your mindless socialist proaganda and left wing filth.
                  “in the name of God, Go”.

      • global city

        Is that the line being farmed out to the useful idiots of the European Left?

        Do people want some prosperity or the chance to revel in the ‘equality’ of nobody having anything…. which is all you crypto-Marxists have to offer?

      • James Allen

        You must be smoking some mighty fine grass, telemuchus

  • Wombeloid

    Uh, and the Kindle farce isn’t a tragedy for the Spectator? Why isn’t the 4 Jan issue on Amazon?

    • Count Dooku

      Get an iPad and stop complaining.

Close
Can't find your Web ID? Click here