Do French voters really need to swim with Anglo-Saxon sharks?
‘The Skibbereen Eagle’s message to the voters of France is…’ It was with such jocular references that my late colleague Arnold Kemp used gently to deflate excited colleagues who were developing ideas above their station. Legend has it that the local paper in Skibbereen, West Cork, once had a habit of dispensing advice to world leaders – it was ‘keeping an eye on the Czar of Russia’ – which they were unlikely to read or take notice of. Arnold’s point is pertinent to the way observers around the world, not least in the US press, are telling the French that what they need is a prolonged dose of a medicine labelled Sarkozy. Most of these commentators subscribe to the neoliberal school of economics, which lauds the so-called Anglo-Saxon ‘free market’ model; they are envious of the French way of life, and believe that what France needs is a good dose of Thatcherism to put it in its place. Now few disagree that all is not well with the French economy – although things are not as bad as is o