All the stuff you never knew you needed to know about life in rural France.....and all the stuff the books and magazines won't tell you.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Don't laugh at me, Argentina...but, on the other hand, why not?

The sinking of the Belgrano - Falklands WarImage by via Flickr
The rumbling sound you may be hearing  is not an earthquake about to engulf the lowlands of Scotland, but my father revolving in his grave.

The two Dear Leaders of France and the U.K., Sarkozy and Cameron, have signed a military co operation pact, creating a joint task force which is supposed to make economies of scale and improvements in efficiency while at the same time preserving the sovereign interests of each nation.

President Sarkozy, as always, went straight to the point.
"If you, my British friends, have to face a major crisis, could you imagine France simply sitting there, its arms crossed, saying that it's none of our business?"

Damn right I can.

To be fair to Sarkozy, I think he personally would be willing to push France into action...he is, as his party belatedly found out, not your typical French politician.
But can you imagine the reactions of a more typically 'French' French President?



And, to think the unthinkable....Le Pen?

Since the latter hasn't forgiven the English for burning Joan of Arc, he probably hasn't forgiven the U.K. for Mers el Kebir either, so he wouldn't be authorising the French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle to sail for the Falklands any time soon. Not that he could anyway...the thing spends more time undergoing repairs in dry dock than it does in the water.

Father...who went through the entire Second World War.... had an unchanging view of the French military....

'Buggers let us down in 1914...buggers let us down in 1940...'

A view not ameliorated by learning that the rockets doing so much damage to the Falklands expeditionary forces had been sold to Argentina by the French.

Now, all this may be conflicts long ago and far away and brave men on the ground are usually betrayed by the  politicians far from the firing line, but I think father has something about which to rumble.

Both countries' military hardwear is obsolete, broken or not fit for are the supply systems which support them.

One look at the U.K. Ministry of Defence's purchasing system would give a respectable Victorian counting house clerk a case of the screaming habdabs...and it ought to give us one too.
Their French equivalents keep their methods quiet...and have every reason to do so given the incestuous link between political party funding and big business in France.

So, given the chronic shortage of money...since banks and even butter come before guns....and the refusal to shake up both Defence Ministries...the two bright sparks have conjured up this wizard scheme to pretend to their countries that they are capable of defending national interests by joining forces.

So two broken reeds are suddenly going to form one strong tree?
I don't think so.
Another case of smoke and mirrors to deceive the electorate.

It would better behove Cameron and Sarkozy to declare the exact nature of the national interests to protect which they send their young people into danger.

France still sends troops to shore up the dictatorships of their ex African colonies.....whose value to France is not immediately obvious, but whose value to French politicians is......valuable.

The U.K. sends its troops wherever the U.S. directs....the value to the U.K. of such action is negligible, even counter productive but the value of such policies to U.K. politicians seems to be fat contracts with Carlisle on  retirement and access to the speaking tour circuit.

Were they to consult their people...the ones who have democratic rights for a few minutes in a polling booth every so often....they might find a distinctively different idea of national interests.

A first class education system....
A health service which works.....
Cutting the fat from public systems....all the tiers of management, the consultants, the Quangos....
A police service which serves people not politicians.....
Action, not 'initiatives' on the curse of drug use....
Proper care with dignity for elderly people.....

Supporting African dictators and U.S. politicians would not rank highly, I feel.

November 11th will soon be upon us again, when we remember what are called the 'sacrifices' made by the armed forces in all the declared and undeclared conflicts since 1918.

Perhaps we should be remembering rather that these men and women were 'sacrificed' by the politicians of the time and we should honour their memory, not only by wearing poppies, contributing to charities and attending services but by demanding honesty of current politicians.

After all, we're still waiting for the fulfillment of Lloyd George's  wish that the U.K. should be a country fit for heroes to live in.....only ninety two years on.
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  1. Veterans of the Second World War must soemtimes wonder what has become of their beloved Britain. But perhaps it was ever thus as each generation looks on in bewilderment at the new generation. I do wonder, though, what the hell we're doing in Afghanistan. Don't get me started!

  2. Dumdad...what are we doing in Afghanistan?
    Licking American arse...that's what.

  3. I shook my head when I heard the news of this... wonderful in spirit and ethos but in practise? This is not going to work. Two sisters cannot wear the same dress to the same ball. Not without ripping it and each other to shreds...

  4. Well said, my Father has joined yours in creating the rumble, my Grand-dad, who lost his life out here in 1915, also I think.

    Mr Sarkozy is afraid of the populace and has worries about his safety. I read a little of what is said and hear also from our French friends, but then politics is not an easy subject for our mixed conversation. They had a choice of who they have now got, and our lovely, fragrant Segolene.. No, our neighbours preferred Mr. Sarkozy so now they have to live with the policies he has created, as do the voters in the UK with the Cameron/Clegg partnership.

    I also see that in the USA there is a 'Tea Party' party that would like to return the US to its original (Victorian??) ideals... One wonders what gives them the idea that life can return to the past..

  5. Steve,no. I agree, it won't. Not least because it has been agreed that all French troops participating should speak English.....

    Trisha, you're right, there's no return to the past and I worry that our societies seem to have run out of ideals, no guts.

  6. Lloyd George must be spinning a bit too considering your last comment regarding him. 92 years!
    How do you demand honesty of politicians? Is anyone even capable of that anymore?
    I despair.

  7. Clippy Mat, I can remember honest ones....either the press disposed of them by ridicule or their own parties by gerrymandering.

  8. The only worse allies than the French are the Italians.

  9. mrwriteon , ah yes...the sunburned armpit brigade....

  10. Ooh, Fly, you said 'arse'!! Another superlative post from the Queen of Superlative posting. I can't see how this can work. The French will just shrug their shoulders and the English will just talk loudly to them. I sent you an e-mail. Will you let me know you got it?

  11. Excellent post.

    By coincidence, I was staying at Lloyd George's family home last week - reading in the room he died in even! Probably sleeping in a room he'd shagged in - and not with his wife either!

    There's a boy, as they say in Wales

  12. P(V)LiF, first, what a shame that the 'living the dreamers' made writing your blog no longer a pleasure to you.
    Curse the lot of them. It was a super blog.

    Yes, I said 'arse'! I'm getting quite sprightly in my old age...I said 'Niq ta mere' recently, too - but both only in comments!

    Of course it won't work...and as for putting the nuclear testing site in France! All their unions need is a nuclear testing site to blockade!
    Thank you, I received your e mail and replied.

  13. Mark, Blogger has swallowed your may regurgitate it later.

    Sleeping in Lloyd George's room there was a 'no good boyo' in 'respectable' terms, but not bad for a small town Welsh solicitor in terms of where he ended up!

  14. We're all shaking our heads in wonder at this 'initiative'. How anyone came up with in the first place is a mystery. It just seems so, on the face of it, obviously impossible.

    Who was it who said you should believe in one impossible thing every day?

    I agree with your observation on shaking up the workings of the MofD. That's more obvious, but apparently more impossible than an impossible initiative with the French.

    Strange times.

  15. What would de Gaulle have to say on the subject?

  16. Sarah, I think thinking the impossible was the White Queen in...I think...Alice through the Looking Glass...who suggested believing six impossible things before breakfast shortly before turning into a sheep....
    If only that would happen to politicians.

    nodamnblog...easy peasy...

  17. Well, all I can manage after the recent spate of elections is to think that most Americans are brain dead...

    I agree that America should never have gotten involved in Iraq or Afganistan.

    Unfortunately, Obama is no likely a lame duck president whose policies, including the attempt at healthcare reform, will eventually be undone...

    I wish I had another country or two to run off to right about now...

  18. e..that's just what I'm doing...
    Though I was never convinced by Obama...he's too like Blair...

  19. I also heaved a sigh at the image of Sarko and Dave, side by side, entente bloody cordiale and all that twaddle. I can't stand Cameron and am a bit surprised that I dislike him even more than I do Sarko (for whom I do have a tiny bit of sympathy). The thing is that are there ever any genuine political figures any more - the decent ones will no doubt be led astray by their mandarins?

    I just continue to live in my little bubble here.

  20. French Fancy, when you see what's outside it....then vive the bubble!