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The Guardian puff for Brown that I flagged is by Ashley Seager, "economics correspondent". Seager has a longer piece up toady that purports to be an economic analysis of French events:

The French go marching into the past.

He (I suppose it's a he) makes a couple of fair points -- structural unemployment over the last two decades, "insider-outsider" situation -- but otherwise comes out with all the clichés and the CW, including, of course, the two polls mentioned by the Economist leader and since repeated throughout the press. (I would love to know how many of them have actually seen these polls or could give a reference to them).

Here are some pearls:

Once on the inside, which is where all the protesting youths want to be, jobs are very comfortable, with a 35-hour week and lots of computers and other capital to work with. These are typically the people who defend the French "social model", looking down on what they see as Britain and America's "Anglo-Saxon" model with its "hire-and-fire" jobs market and long working hours. In fact, Britain's average work week is 37 hours, according to the ONS, the government statistician - that is little different to France's.

That's a fairly astounding paragraph. The truth is that we do hear often that the French economy doesn't work because the French are slackers, while the economies that are "taking up the challenge of globalisation" are the ones where people work more. Well, now we know it's not the working week that causes the problem. And how about that preemptive strike in the middle: no one in the English-language press ever talks about an "Anglo-Saxon model", or makes out the US and the UK are the ones to follow -- no, it's young French protestors who made up the "models" meme, and, what's more, they are of course (being sneering frogs), "looking down" on poor, honest Americano-British ways of doing things.

Anyway, we understand that these pampered French kids are on the inside track and they want things to stay like that. So it's strange to read, lower down:

It is depressing that the very group that M de Villepin is trying to help are the ones protesting loudest.

Jaw drops. If these are inside trackers, why is Villepin "trying to help" them?

There's lots more. All the usual stuff about unemployment figures. A big piece about all the French working in London (only the ones in financial services, though ;)).

Ignorance or deliberate bias. Ashley Seager, in any case, is a Brown mole. The level of attack on France is quite astonishing. And to him must be added Jon Henley, who does a hit job full of all the stereotypes in this Comment is Free piece that keeps changing title and URL (possibly because Comment Is Free is a mess).

All this to say that I think the Guardian is taking a serious Blairo-Brownite slide to the right and lining up on the push-France-out-of-the-driving-seat in Europe effort.

(Sorry I've no time to write more now... ;))

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Apr 10th, 2006 at 01:31:16 PM EST

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