Welcome to Yugoslavia

Screen Shot 2015-08-19 at 07.31.48

Boches beware

The old hatreds are stirring

At the end of his book Bismarck Herring: The German Poison, MEP and Parti de Gauche co-leader Jean-Luc Mélenchon, who was a presidential candidate in 2012 (he got 11.1% of the vote), points out that France retains independent military power, with, observes Dalrymple,

the clear implied message that Germany does not.

It was, says Dalrymple,

in the highest degree irresponsible

Screen Shot 2015-08-19 at 08.03.43to cobble together in a monetary union

two large countries – two large blocs of countries – with such different attitudes and interests. One of the justifications trotted out for the European Union is that it brings peace, as if, without it, Slovenia would attack Spain. In fact, by making neither living together nor divorce feasible, it is fostering a conflict such as that of the former Yugoslavia.

Notes on Germany and France

The Germans, Dalrymple explains,

have, or want to have, faith in their currency. The folk memory of inflations is still strong in Germany. Inflation is their bugbear and fiscal rectitude their policy, irrespective of who is in power. The rebuilding of the country and the achievement of monetary stability is their source of national pride. Financial rectitude is visible in their private lives: the Germans use credit cards far less than the French, let alone the British. When the German banks joined in the financial debauchery of the 1990s and 2000s, afraid of missing out, it turned out that they were no good at it. Speculation was not their forte.

Screen Shot 2015-08-19 at 08.11.30As for the French, they

receive good value for their taxation. The country is conspicuously well-administered, as anyone who has driven through it will attest; and, in my experience, French bureaucrats, however much their onerous and Byzantine exactions may be detested, are much more intelligent and efficient than British ones. The French have a faith in their state which is in part justified. Its benefits are obvious every day; its stultifying effects are less evident except to the smaller proportion of the population that attempts something new.

The French duty to cheat the fiscal tyrants

In France there is, Dalrymple discerns,

a cultural predisposition to assume that while private profit is reprehensible, public expenditure paid for by tax is inherently good. This does not preclude a private avidity for money or a belief that cheating or deceiving the taxman is a proper sport, like cycling or swimming.

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