From the New York Times, some epic Brexit worry:
by Sarah Lyall
Shouldn’t there be a law against making fun of the French, peace be upon them? When President Ben-Abbes is in the Elysée palace and has his finger on the nuclear button, the perfidious Albion dogs will no longer dare to emit such impudent japery. Until that blessed day, however, we will just have to content ourselves with the New York Times tut-tutting at English infidel “humor.”
Here are excerpts from the “Political Sketch” by Patrick Kidd that the NYT took such somber objection to:
February 22 2017, 12:01am, the times
Crowds hope Gallic messiah will be mightier than Le Pen
Westminster had a touch of Gallic Blair about it last night as Emmanuel Macron, the young French centrist, addressed a rally of 3,500 adoring fans. … “Don’t boo or hiss at my rallies,” he said. “That is for people without hope.”
Yes, he also sees himself as the Amiens Obama. This was a trademark hopey-changey speech from a fresh-faced candidate. Lots of sunlit uplands here and brighter tomorrows there. Or that was what I could make out from the beams on the faces of his young fans. They had that glow you often see in the presence of a new political messiah.
My masters at school, I will be honest, had not properly prepared me for the task of following an hour-long speech in rapid French. Mr Macron did not ask for directions to la gare once, for example.
Ten years ago he married his French teacher, who is 24 years his senior, which may explain some of these rudimentary gaps in his knowledge. Too much sitting at the back of class sighing at madame and writing poetry rather than learning such essentials as “le oiseau est dans l’arbre”. Still, he struggled by and with the help of a friendly interpreter so did I. …
“I reject accusations of political immaturity or inexperience,” he said. “Their experiences in politics are also their failures.” It was bold and ballsy and the audience loved it.
Boys who went further with their French at school than I did all had one sentence drilled into them for exams. “On ne peut pas nier que sur le plan economique, la politique de l’autruche est vouée à l’échec,” they were taught. “One cannot deny that, on an economic level, the policy of an ostrich is doomed to failure.” Useful, you’ll agree. “Say that in your oral and they’ll be dead impressed with you,” Mr Jenkinson would tell his A-level class.
I didn’t catch whether Mr Macron also deployed this phrase, since he spoke too quickly for my pen (the one belonging to my aunt) but the essence was there. He will not stick his head in the sand at this time of national crisis.
“We must build a new France or submit to our fate,” he said in a stirring conclusion. But what were his actual policies? The manifesto, he said, is coming soon. C’est magnifique, mais ce n’est pas le Blair.