Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.

It's not been my experience of the French that they condescend to the British.

They are too polite to insult your compatriots to your face :-) This is from 1997 - and such things tend not to change very fast:

    International News     Electronic Telegraph
    Sunday 9 March 1997

    French pupils taught to denigrate Britain

By Susannah Herbert and Tim Reid

A NEW textbook used in French schools and universities paints Britain as an economically backward nation, full of chauvinist snobs and rapidly approaching social, political and moral disintegration.

La Grande Bretagne Contemporaine, or Contemporary Britain, is a recently published bilingual text portraying the British as a race that "in social matters has taken a gigantic step - towards the past". A flick through the book discloses that its author, Isabelle Ayasch, a fluent English speaker educated at Oxford University and the Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris, left her English alma mater with a rather jaundiced view of British life.

The North of England is "a victim of . . . financial, intellectual and moral poverty . . . and has fallen into a state of almost chronic depression". The Londoner's quality of life is "probably among the worst in Europe". The British press - notwithstanding its reputation for "freedom and subversion" - is "nothing more than a tool of the Establishment".

Mlle Ayasch continues: "In 1997 Britain is, in social terms, back where it was at the peak of the Industrial Revolution . . . except that there is no industrial revolution taking place at the moment. There might not even be one [in the future], because Britain is so divided on the social front that it is prevented from moving forward economically."


Last week one of France's most popular chat shows, Ca se discute, joined the fray. The British, it was opined, are hypocritical, distant, excessively law-abiding and inclined to drink too much. Instead of wit, we have incomprehensible eccentric humour.

Instead of encouraging civilised male-female relations, the British glorify the "boys' night out" and "the pub crawl". Socially, gastronomically and even sexually, the British, implied the show's host, Jean-Luc Delarue, are still stuck in the Stone Age. Euro-sceptic Conservative MPs yesterday denounced the book.


Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner - that I moved to Nice.
by Ted Welch (tedwelch-at-mac-dot-com) on Thu Jan 24th, 2008 at 10:39:42 AM EST
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