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Hollande, Cameron and the 21st arrondissement

7 May 2012

10:18 AM

7 May 2012

10:18 AM

While David Cameron has good cause to be glad of Sarkozy’s
defeat, he has even better cause to be nervous about this trend of lefty nerds being elected. Much of the Cameroon’s re-election hopes are pinned on the idea that their boss will trounce the
geeky Ed Miliband. Nowadays, the argument goes, these ex-special advisers who have no charisma and alarming leftist policies just don’t win modern elections. But, as Ben Brogan argued in the
Telegraph last week, the French may well be about
to prove that even dullards can get elected — if the incumbent fails to deliver the change he promised. At least Hollande says he’ll balance the books by 2015, which is more than
Osborne is planning to do.
 
That said, there are more selfish reasons for Britain to welcome a Hollande presidency. Yesterday, I passed a well-attended polling station in South Kensington and saw, inside, a Hollande poster
(pictured, just above the smaller guy’s head). Odd, I thought — until I worked out the reasons why the members of the 21st arrondissement (as South Ken is known in Paris) may quite like to see him win. His 75 per cent tax
will deliver an immediate economic stimulus — to the Eurostar offices, selling first-class one-way tickets to the top taxpayers of Paris, thereby jacking up South Ken property prices even
more. London, home to some 300,000 French, can hope to claim the lion’s share of these tax refugees, especially if they can apply for non-dom status.

Also, if you’re a Brit, then you can hope that Hollande will dissolve the Merkozy axis, making EU stitch-ups harder and accelerating the breakup of the union. This would accelerate the
inevitable renegotiation of Britain’s EU membership, and a new settlement closer to that deemed acceptable by the public.

Now, it could well be that Hollande’s tax rise is ruled unconstitutional and the EU ties the new president’s hands in a way that make him fiscally neutral. But it could also be that the
biggest taxpayers in France won’t hang around much to find out.


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