Feature

United Kingdom: Why we let the Frogs insult us

The French are furious about Britain’s refusal to support the doomed European plan for fiscal union, and they are letting fly with all manner of insults, said Boris Johnson at The Telegraph.

Boris JohnsonThe Telegraph

Remember the Monty Python scene where the French knight screams at King Arthur, “I fart in your general direction”? That’s about the level of discourse Britain is hearing from France these days, said Boris Johnson. The French are furious about Britain’s refusal to support the doomed European plan for fiscal union, and they are letting fly with all manner of insults.

But don’t worry. It’s not personal. President Nicolas Sarkozy is simply boosting his re-election chances with “an ever-popular tirade against les rosbifs and their appalling belief in free markets,” while French pundits trot out their familiar barbs about our unappetizing food and male politicians who are “not the marrying kind.” In return, Prime Minister David Cameron gets to lead us all in “a good old orgy of gratuitous Frog-bashing” in which we deplore the Continentals as “a bunch of garlic-breathing Strauss-Kahns.”

But this “pantomime xenophobia” between our two nations is just a game. At bottom, we English “secretly love and admire” the French, and they enjoy our company so much that hundreds of thousands of them now live among us, making London “the sixth or seventh biggest French city on earth.” So let them rail. “Ever since the Battle of Waterloo it has not been meant very seriously.”

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