Tuesday, January 16, 2007

A bag of fish & pommes frites please mon ami


"On 10 September 1956 French Prime Minister Guy Mollet arrived in London for talks with his British counterpart, Anthony Eden"

Did you read about this yesterday, about the plans that were afoot to unite Britain and France?

Well apparently a "union" was considered in the 1950s, according to secret papers recently unearthed. During the Suez crisis France was really worried, for several reasons but partly because Egypt was funding separatists in Algeria, and because of the troubles in Israel. So the French PM suggested the union with Britain so that they as one state could present a strong unified force in the face of Russia, the US and the two main Middle Eastersn protagonists of the day, Egypt and Israel.

Anyway, it seems that Britain were not totally alien to the idea and France was ready to join the Commonwealth and accept a Queen as head of state. Mon Dieu!

This is of course also very much linked to the later military arm of the WEA (Western European Union) that France and Germany were after for decades during the Cold War and Middle Eastern problems of the 50s, 60s & 70s.

Anyway it never happened and in the end as we know France got in bed with West Germany when they formed the EEC.

What interests me more about this story is of course, as I'm sure you've guessed, the socio-cultural ramifications and possible humorous consequences of such a union.

Brits speaking awful French and the French still refusing to utter a word of L'anglais!
Garlic butter on your fish & pommes frites.
Berets & brollies in the city.
"Coffee & sympathy" just doesn't sound right does it?
Taking the metro or autobus to work...huh?
Buskers only playing accordions, presumably sur la pont de La Thames.

And of course Britain would have exported masses of tea bags and British cars to France to run alongside the equally crappy French cars. At least they had some things in common!

Sacre bleu!

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