Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Deluded Frogs and the Vimto Cordiale

French Annual Surrender Rehearsal
I've looked on the internet for reaction to the announcemet of our military shacking up with France and, apart from the odd "it's only because we're broke" comment, it seems to have been pretty widely accepted. In fact the only bigotted response I found was the following in the Daily Telegraph:

If proof were still needed of the essential asymmetry in French-British relations, you need only compare reactions on either side of the Channel to the Sarkozy-Cameron agreement, which proposes that the French and the British military co‑operate to form a joint expeditionary force.

Beneath the diplomatic veneer, les Anglais are up in arms: the names Napoleon, Pétain, Exocet and Jacques Chirac are fiercely lobbed about. To sum it up, the French are unreliable, devious, and let others actually win their wars for them, while making a lot of noise on the sidelines. And that’s only in the last century or so; before that, they were the Hereditary Enemy.

The D-Day shindig has been bad news for Sarkozy. Meanwhile, we French, frankly, couldn’t be less bovvered. It’s a clear case of “you obsess about us; we hardly think about you”. Yes, of course, you can find historians and admirals to recall the infamous Mers-el-Kebir incident, when, on July 3, 1940, most of the French fleet was sunk by the British Navy rather than run the risk of seeing it join Nazi forces, at the cost of 1,297 French lives. 

The French are famous for being deluded. They think we obsess about Napoleon, Petain and Delors? I fear most people, especially those who have wasted a few years in comprehensive schools, probably think Napoleon, Petain and Delors are a French boy band in the Eurovision Song Contest.

They think they are the only ones who can cook. They think they still produce the best wine. They think they still produce the best cheese. Wrong, wrong, wrong.

And what thanks do we get for saving them in numerous world wars? "You sank our fleet and cost us 1,297 French lives". It would be rude to mention what happened to the Jews who found themselves under Petain in Vichy France. But I'm going to:

In total, the Vichy government helped in the deportation of 76,000 Jews, although this number varies depending on the account, to German extermination camps; only 2,500 survived the war.
From the Jewish Virtual Library.

I think it was the Americans who coined the phrase 'Cheese Eating Surrender Monkeys'. I wonder why?

But I'm still looking forward to a week in Paris in the New Year. And probably a couple of weeks in the Vendee in the summer. If they'll let me in!

We wouldn't get on so well, us and the French, if we didn't have a pop at each other occasionally.


e.f. bartlam said...

Don't forget about how y'all successfully conspired with the Zulu to have the last legitimate heir of Napoleon murdered in South conniving.

Gregg said...

Yes, we wear sack cloth and ashes and self-flagellate daily over our guilt for Empire.

In reality our success at Empire is another thing the Frogs are jealous about!!

On a serious note my candy corn arrived today. Very good it is too.

e.f. bartlam said...

Only Empire Envy could explain the temptation of a nation to get in a scrap over a misquitos nest like Fashoda.

I didn't eat the first candy-corn this Halloween...course you can get 'em for pennies a pound round here now that Trick or Treat is over.