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Casual slurs of the day

by Jerome a Paris Thu Mar 16th, 2006 at 07:10:43 AM EST

I got to read the International Herald Tribune in the plane this morning, and my blood boiled a few times from the underlying prejudice and "common wisdom" assumptions in various articles.

Here are a few examples.


Airbus nears a deal with China on assembly lines

Airbus is in the late stages of negotiations to build an assembly line for its A320 passenger plane in China, a landmark deal that would significantly lift its prospects for business there.

(...)

The collaboration between a government-subsidized company from Europe and state-owned aircraft manufacturers in China would be a dramatic example of the new prominence of state enterprises worldwide - a development that has worried some critics in the United States.

(...)

In December, China placed an order for 150 A320s with a list price of close to $10 billion. China and Airbus announced the order during a visit to France by China's prime minister, Wen Jiabao, when Airbus pledged to consider the production line.

Analysts interpreted the announcement as a quid pro quo, showing the lengths to which Airbus has had to go to break into the Chinese market, despite being active there since 1985.

George Behan, a spokesman for Representative Norman Dicks, Democrat of Washington, where Boeing's commercial aircraft division is based, said he saw little surprise in Airbus's moves: "This is Airbus's modus operandi, the way they intend to compete with Boeing internationally."

Boeing has no plans to build a production line in China, but it has still won orders to supply 150 of its 737s to Chinese carriers.

Implicit: Airbus is subsidised, could not compete without transfering vital technology and dirty political quid pro quos, as opposed to a real, private (and American) company like Boeing.

Right.


France says it felt it had to act on Suez

BRUSSELS France has told European regulators that the utility Suez and the state-owned Gaz de France felt compelled to accelerate merger talks, with the explicit encouragement of the French state, after learning that a foreign bidder intended to break up a company that France felt could become a European champion, according to people familiar with the French position and internal documents the European Commission received from Paris.

(...)

"The French response is a bit thin," said one official, who requested anonymity because the case is still ongoing.

(...)

"France knows how to work the system," McCreevy said in a recent interview. "But countries shouldn't come to Brussels and sign up to the internal market and then do the opposite. It is hypocritical."

The inquiry heightens a showdown between France and the EU's executive, which is trying to assert itself in the face of a recent bout of Europe-wide economic nationalism.

But the commission's powers to censure France remain limited, especially if it is determined that France broke the spirit of the single market, but not the letter of the law.

(...)

"Defending national champions in the short term generally leads in the long term to relegating them to the second division," he told the European Parliament. "We don't need any national champions - what we need are world champions based in Europe."

Again that "spirit of the law" stuff. What comes out is resentment that France does stuff that is legal, but does not fit with the narrative of "reform" or "market". Who can seriously argue that EDF and a merged GDF-Suez will be second-division players?

So, the problem is really - and I am sorry if I sound again like an arrogant Frenchman - that the French are not doing things "as they should be", they don't bow to the "common wisdom" of the markets, and yet they are successful at it and get away with it. Worse, they are unrepentant. France proves that the ideology is just that - fluff.


French ski resort's lure leaves locals bruised

CHAMONIX, France Mickael Colombin says many of his childhood friends cannot afford property in their hometown near Chamonix, an Alpine ski resort at the foot of Mont Blanc. They say wealthy investors, particularly from Britain, are to blame.

(...)

Ill feelings in Chamonix have been directed chiefly at the British, whose economy will have grown 9.8 percent more than the French economy from 2000 to 2006, according to estimates by Eurostat, the statistics company.

The French feel left out because English has become the lingua franca of the town's population of 10,000. The British are the largest contingent of foreign tourists.

While these local grievances about higher real estate prices are always to some extent silly (someone is selling and cashing in on the higher prices), the tone of that article is really contemptuous. How dare the French be unhappy that people don't speak French in a French city? How dare they complain when it's their own inferior growth that's to blame?

I'm pretty sure that Chamonix real estate, like income growth, only concerns a small fraction of the English (and even of the chamonix residents) these days, but no - generalisations must be made about the whole population.

In order not to sound too shrilly Anglo-bashing, I'll flag another, mush more interesting article in the same paper.


Muslim, French - and proud to be both

"Our communities are maturing; they are beginning to act like Europeans. Here you have Muslims appealing to European institutions not to be discriminated against."

On a personal level, Boubakeur refuses to say whether he feels Muslim first and then French, or vice versa.

"I am completely Muslim and I am completely French," he says. "There is perfect harmony."

If a day comes when such questions of identity are no longer asked, he adds, "we will have come a long way."

But one good article does not undo all the underlying assumptions that pierce throughout the paper elsewhere.


Display:
Re: Airbus/Boeing -- the IHT is apparently forgetting the news that French state-controlled nuclear company Areva is about to lose out to Westinghouse for a huge Chinese civil nuclear contract because Westinghouse agreed to transfer technology that Areva would not.

  • Airbus gives technology transfer = bad
  • Westinghouse gives tech transfer = good?

I'm also intrigued to see that it's a politician (or surrogate) that the IHT reports as speaking for Boeing. Why would that be, I wonder?
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Mar 16th, 2006 at 07:55:47 AM EST
Moreover:

  • France transfers civilian aircraft technology = bad
  • US transfers civilian nuclear technology = good

I am not going to take any more US admin pronouncements on nuclear issues seriously any more.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Mar 16th, 2006 at 07:59:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And there, Areva deserves a good kick in the butt. What is their PR operation in Washington doing ?

Given the stink on the Dubai port deal, Areva could get the US Congress to kill the Westinghouse deal just by pushing a few buttons. They should give a call to Lou Dobbs :>
by Francois in Paris on Thu Mar 16th, 2006 at 11:03:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Dubai Port Deal:  
bait and switch ?
--  looks like Carlyle (one of the Bush Family cluster of corporations) is discreetoy sniffing at the ports:
Private equity firm The Carlyle Group established a team to acquire public-purpose facilities such as ports a day after a United Arab Emirates company said it would transfer newly acquired operations at American ports to a U.S. organization.

    D.C.-based Carlyle Group announced an eight-person team would invest in public-purpose infrastructure projects such as ports, transportation and water facilities, airports, bridges and stadiums. The team will begin work March 13.

    The new infrastructure team had been planned for six months, but the Carlyle Group decided Thursday to launch it.

    DP World, a company owned by the United Arab Emirates, acquired a British company that manages operations at six U.S. ports, but the House Appropriations Committee voted 62-2 on March 8 to prevent it from taking control of the ports.

    DP World will transfer the operations to a "U.S. entity," Sen. John Warner, R-Va., said Thursday.

    The Carlyle Group, however, doesn't want to be that entity, says spokesman Chris Ullman. "We have zero interest in that deal, and we will continue to have no interest."  [and if elected I will not serve...  don't you throw me in that briar patch Brer Fox!"]

    Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., and others in Congress are considering legislation that would block any foreign company from operating ports and other key U.S. infrastructure. If that legislation is approved, it could give The Carlyle Group and other private equity firms opportunities to buy foreign-owned operations at a discount.

    The new public infrastructure investment group is co-headed by Robert Dove, former executive vice president at Bechtel Enterprises, and Barry Gold, former managing director and co-head of the structured finance group at Citigroup/Salomon Smith Barney.

I am waiting for the financial opeds to denounce this blatant "protectionism".

Any bets that the Dubai proposal was intended purely for this purpose, to stir up such a fuss that the reaction would hand the ports on a plate to a true-blue US crony outfit like Halliburton or Carlyle?  And yes, that's Bechtel as in Big Dig.

The difference between theory and practise in practise ...

by DeAnander (de_at_daclarke_dot_org) on Thu Mar 16th, 2006 at 07:47:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hey, it's America, brother! Gotta make a quick buck if you can.

by Francois in Paris on Fri Mar 17th, 2006 at 05:53:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The Republicans have always announced whacky ideas on nuclear technology and defense.  Remember Star Wars (the program, not the movie)?  You've got to hand it to the Reaganites: At least they were creative when they were proposing bullshit, and at least we were able to get a good laugh out of it.  The Bushees, on the other hand, are just frightening.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Fri Mar 17th, 2006 at 09:45:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, I didn't want to overdo it...

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu Mar 16th, 2006 at 08:36:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Jerome, stop reading these right-wing papers.  You're going to give yourself a heart attack one of these days.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Fri Mar 17th, 2006 at 09:47:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And of course Boeing is massively subsidised through the military side of the business.

Another interesting bit is context however:

George Behan, a spokesman for Representative Norman Dicks, Democrat of Washington, where Boeing's commercial aircraft division is based, said he saw little surprise in Airbus's moves: "This is Airbus's modus operandi, the way they intend to compete with Boeing internationally."

I checked the article and there is none. This is actually quite a neutral statement in of itself. You can even read it as a coded complaint that Boeing is being hamstrung in international markets by US "technology transfer" paranoia.

And it is that "tech transfer" paranoia that is the centre of this IHT article. I'd just like to note that the advanced alloys they mention have been developed in several university departments containing PhD candidates from China. Not all of them go back home later, but plenty do. Anyone who thinks these are "real secrets" properly kept under wraps is indulging in fantasy thinking, as usual.

by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Thu Mar 16th, 2006 at 08:56:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Boeing does a lot in China : from their website  :

Historically, industrial collaboration has included:

  • Two MD-90 Trunk liner assembled in Shanghai, with China as prime contractor (contract 1992, last delivery 2000)
  • Thirty five MD-80 airplanes assembled in Shanghai from kits (1985 - 1994)
  • B-737 Classic vertical fins and horizontal stabilizers built in Xi'an (1982 -1999)
  • MD-80/90 nose sections, landing gear doors, horizontal stabilizers subcontracts (1979 - 1999)
  • B-737, B-747 machined parts (1980-1992) 757 horizontal stabilizers, vertical fin and tail sections built by Chengdu

And that's only a small part of activities in China.
Boeing has a own website in China..( for some reason seems not to work here in Belgium)
Since years there is a steel-hard concurrence between the two in the very big Chinese market. (Airbus-EADS took already the largest chunk of the helicopter market).
So everything will be used ....journalists are spoiled far beyond our dreams to write nice pieces.

The struggle of man against tyranny is the struggle of memory against forgetting.(Kundera)
by Elco B (elcob at scarlet dot be) on Thu Mar 16th, 2006 at 09:26:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I saw that one in LA DEPECHE and I came to the very same conclusions too.
by Lupin on Fri Mar 17th, 2006 at 01:59:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
is that the British property buying is not a function of better wages from a booming economy so much as the fracking property boom. We get it here in the North of England too you know. Some low level banker sells his 3 bedroom shack in the centre of London and moves his family out to the provinces. From the sale of his shack in the bubble of London he has enough money to buy: A small mansion out here in the provinces, a holiday home in Chamonix and a couple of new BMWs...
by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Thu Mar 16th, 2006 at 08:59:03 AM EST
And a one bedroom crash pad near work in London to aid the commuting cycle. (Wish I'd pressed preview then instead of post.)
by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Thu Mar 16th, 2006 at 08:59:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The over-valued British pound also helps with the Chamonix retreat.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Mar 16th, 2006 at 09:06:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I can't figure out holiday homes, especially foreign ones. How do they spend enough time there to make it worthwhile?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Mar 16th, 2006 at 09:08:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's a status thing, and an "investment".

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Mar 16th, 2006 at 09:19:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You mean it's a status thing. Figures. I'm not good at status. We - horror of horrors - only have one car. And it's a Fiat Punto.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Mar 16th, 2006 at 09:20:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What year?

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu Mar 16th, 2006 at 09:21:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
2005. But in my defence it's replacing the '98 we had until then. And it's an efficient diesel model.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Mar 16th, 2006 at 09:23:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I replied to your question "How do they spend enough time etc?", it got lost far below.

Answer: Ryanair.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Mar 16th, 2006 at 09:39:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I mean practically: spending weekends at the stables screws over my life enough. Unless you're semi-retired how much time can most people spend in these places? They only have a month a year holidays.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Mar 16th, 2006 at 09:54:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, some are older, and retired or semi-retired. Some have played the British property boom and sold enough to retire early on. Some can apparently afford to take long weekends. In some cases, as Metatone suggests, the earner spends less time at the holiday home while the other or others spend more.

But cheap, frequent flights and the opening up of former airstrips that become airports, is the oil in the gears of all this machinery.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Mar 16th, 2006 at 10:03:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That could be amusing in ten years time.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Mar 16th, 2006 at 10:03:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You mean Chamonix will get less popular with British tourists when Colman and Sam move there in 10 years time?

Or just that rising oil prices will change the economics of a 3 day trip to the Alps from Stansted?  ;-)

by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Thu Mar 16th, 2006 at 10:31:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The economics would change immediately if airline fuel were taxed. But don't we expect an oil crunch within 10 years as production becomes clearly unable to meet demand?

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Mar 16th, 2006 at 10:34:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
even though you had been reading me for a bit of time already?! I am really, really disappointed ;-)

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu Mar 16th, 2006 at 09:45:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm looking forward to selling it to the emergency services in a few years when small vehicles that run off biodiesel will be at a premium for them.

Otherwise I'll remove the engine block and use it as a horse-drawn cart.

More seriously, I'd love not to own a car. You should see the public transport around here: unless you're going in or out of the city centre you're screwed.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Mar 16th, 2006 at 09:52:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I also mean it with the "investment". The British housing bubble has been fuelled in part by "buy to let" and buying property to re-sell it later for a higher price. As they ran out of real estate, they are exporting their bubble.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Mar 16th, 2006 at 09:22:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Same thing happens here, though they're buying in Spain and Croatia and places like that mostly.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Thu Mar 16th, 2006 at 09:24:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The new member states are so-called "emerging markets". The poor sods will soon be unable to afford their own homes as they will be flooded with cash by Sunday-driving real-estate speculators from the UK.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Mar 16th, 2006 at 09:25:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You think you snark, but there are entire reality TV series devoted to following this process on British daytime TV.
by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Thu Mar 16th, 2006 at 09:29:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You think I snark.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Mar 16th, 2006 at 09:31:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I know you not snark.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Mar 16th, 2006 at 09:41:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
US too, whole channels devoted to the process ....

alohapolitics.com
by Keone Michaels on Thu Mar 16th, 2006 at 11:28:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not too long ago I lived in my own 2 floor house, earning 10 times the salary of a Minister. My meals were prepared by a housemaid who'd also clean up the place ... taking a taxi would cost me a penny.

Now I have no revenue save that which I ocasionally make on websites, a small studio flat, and an old rusty bicycle.

But one day I'll be rich and famous ... and they'll all pay, by god they will pay.

by Alex in Toulouse on Thu Mar 16th, 2006 at 02:52:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
They will. But you'll still be taxed on it.
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Mar 16th, 2006 at 05:04:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hm, well the answers to this are numerous:

  1. The lesser working partner virtually lives there (says something about the relationship perhaps.)

  2. They don't, it's just conspicuous consumption.

  3. It's essentially just property speculation, with some fringe benefits.

  4. If you are of the odd psychology that is happy to go to your own place in Chamonix, but would have to stay in an expensive hotel otherwise, then taking a family of 4 to the holiday home for 2 holidays a year pretty much saves the entire mortgage then and there compared to the hotel rooms.

Now all of these are absurd in one way or another, but they are all reasons I've heard from real people for holiday homes in far off places.
by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Thu Mar 16th, 2006 at 09:22:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
2. Here (France) they do spend time here, thanks to the boom in cheap, frequent flights.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Mar 16th, 2006 at 09:45:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ryanair?
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Mar 16th, 2006 at 09:36:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Depends how much vacation time you have. Some people also prefer having a nice personal home away from home rather than renting an anonymous furnished apartment each time.
by MarekNYC on Thu Mar 16th, 2006 at 10:49:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Right. It has nothing really to do with GDP growth, everything to do with property speculation. (With the proviso that asset price bubbles fuel GDP growth, of course...)

I have to exercise restraint when some fellow-countryman of mine whom I happen to meet down here tells me the story (yet again, yawn) of how he sold his semi-detached in Willesden and bought a farmhouse here and did it up lovely and got a seafront apartment on the Costa del Sol and Ryanair tickets are cheaper than the in-flight coffee (aaargh!!!! stop!!!!). All this with the excited, self-satisfied air of someone who has been an extra-smart investor and has won some fucking great new open-economy Margaret Thatcher Memorial wheelbarrow race. And I'm talking about the nice ones...

It's not silly to complain about this, Jérôme. Yes, some local people have been happy to sell property for a good price, but there are lots of local people who are on the wrong side of a rising market. Many properties in desirable parts of France are now on the international market, flogged by international agencies at international prices, which bear no reasonable relation to the normal cost of living and the incomes of most local people.

If it seems to some people that I'm Brit-bashing, that's all right. I am.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Mar 16th, 2006 at 09:35:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm all for more Brit bashing if that's what it takes to spur social justice and saner economics. The British swallowed a lot of neo-lib propaganda over the years, it might take a bash or two to help them choke it up.

(Posted from the People's Republic of South Yorkshire.)

by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Thu Mar 16th, 2006 at 09:59:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Heimlich Manoeuvre you mean?  nice image.

This is the globalisation of gentrification.  I'm pretty sure Mike Davis has things to say about it...  It's a real problem in S America as well.  Old gringos wanting to live cheap on their US pension take over large tracts of land and build expat enclaves -- in the process bringing their habitual huge environmental footprint to bear on the limited resources of the region...  

And all made possible by cheap, cheap, cheeeeap air travel.  Sometimes I think the possible downsides of a peak oil event don't look so bad as the possible downsides of no peak oil event...

The difference between theory and practise in practise ...

by DeAnander (de_at_daclarke_dot_org) on Thu Mar 16th, 2006 at 07:42:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As far as I can tell the locals there have been complaining about that problem for a long time - it really doesn't make a difference for them whether it is vacation homes for people from Paris and Geneva or London. God knows there's no shortage of the former in Chamonix. It's only an hour drive from Geneva so when you're there it's filled with Genevan plates. Of course most Geneva residents, even foreigners, can at least get by in French.  Back when I lived in the area the Brits in the French ski resorts tended towards the loud, drunk, young type on discount package vacations, like the Scandinavians. The high end Brits tended to go to Switzerland (nicer village, but the skiing is better in France, though Chamonix functions more on the model of the old Swiss resorts than the French alpine ski factories like Trois Vallees or Tignes/Val d'Isere... hmmh, now I really want to go skiing)
by MarekNYC on Thu Mar 16th, 2006 at 10:58:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
a government-subsidized company

Are loans that are re-paid subsidies?

...and what issue was that again on which the WTO ruled against the USA?

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Thu Mar 16th, 2006 at 09:26:32 AM EST
They are subsidies is the conditions are more favourable than the market would provide, right? But only the difference in value would count as subsidy (and anyone who's shopped around for loans or mortgages knows that the difference can be quite big).

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Mar 16th, 2006 at 09:31:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
They ARE subsidies as they don't have to repay the loans if the airplane fails, which has definite value to the borrower Airbus, even if it hasn't had any cost to governments in the end up to now.

But describing Airbus as subsidized as opposed to Boeing which is implicitly not is annoying - and of course false. The French have no qualms about subsidies or "economic nationalism" and don't hide it. Others have qualms and hide it - but they do it as well.

But again, simply flaunting (or not being ashamed of) the fact that they are going against "common wisdom" of the markets is simply not tolerable...

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Thu Mar 16th, 2006 at 09:44:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It is widely believed that Ryanair got their new fleet at about half the "ticket price" by doing some clever negotiations when demand for new aircraft was at rock bottom. Boeing was desperate to keep its production lines running and Ryanair at one stage was their larges single customer.

The effect of this of course was effectively Boeing "dumping" their plane in Europe, contrary to WTO. The commercial secrecy of the deal between Boeing and non-quoted company conceals the truth but it seems quite likely that the planes were sold below cost. Ryanair now has a very fuel-efficient fleet which of course it fills with passengers. It recovers its costs by selling its outrageously expensive refreshments and charging for virtually everything it can - its latest trick is to charge £5 per item of baggage checked in to go in the hold.

Boeing got a subsidy from the US government through the back door from those military orders, Ryanair got planes at probably below cost which Boeing was able to do because of the US subsidy so the US government is indirectly subsidising Ryanair's silly fares. I have friends in Turin and have paid £10 or even zero plus airport duties (around £24 according to Ryanair). The train trips at either end add up to more than the air element!!!

I am not sure about the alpine holiday homes but it is as cheap for people to move to northern France to commute to London compared to living in the south-east of England. House prices in the Pas de Calais are so much lower that it becomes economic for people to commute on the Eurostar either daily or weekly and using hotels or company apartments for four nights (commute Monday morning, stay Monday to Thursday nights and commute home on Friday afternoon)

by Londonbear on Fri Mar 17th, 2006 at 09:24:18 PM EST


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