Category Archives: Hollande, François

Catapulted from clerk to field marshal

screen-shot-2017-02-12-at-17-58-07Dalrymple writes that he has always felt a little sorry for François Hollande. (This is doubtless, Dalrymple concedes, pure sentimentality.) The French president is like a clerk who has been promoted, suddenly and against his will, to field marshal in some war that looks like it is about to have a catastrophic dénouement. Dalrymple instinctively sympathises with people who are despised by everyone.

Ik heb altijd een beetje medelijden gehad met François Hollande (ongetwijfeld pure sentimentaliteit), omdat hij me altijd wat leek op een klerk uit een of ander postkantoor die ineens en tegen zijn wil gepromoot wordt tot veldmaarschalk te midden een oorlog die catastrofaal aan het verlopen is. Ik heb een instinctieve sympathie voor mensen die worden veracht door iedereen.


Hazards of the terrorist profession

In France, writes Dalrymple, one of them is that

the countries to which former dual citizens might be deported should their French citizenship be withdrawn might not welcome them, to say the least.

François Hollande’s amendment makes it possible to withdraw French citizenship from those holding dual citizenship who are convicted of terrorist offences. The amendment imposes a duty on those who wish to retain their dual nationality that is, Dalrymple points out,

not very onerous,


not to be a terrorist.

It might be useful, Dalrymple dares suggest, to draw a distinction between

a man with dual nationality


a man with dual nationality who commits atrocities against one of the two nations to which he owes allegiance.


We have this right, you see, to kill large numbers of people without having the threat of deportation hanging over us


The Islamists’ cyclopean view of life

The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (1958)

The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (1958)

Luckily, says Dalrymple, Western countries

are not given to lasting expressions of unanimity, the deliberate preservation of our peaceful divisions being what the struggle with Muslim fundamentalism is all about.

Dalrymple writes that the Muslim fundamentalists,

like other would-be dictators, have a cyclopean view of life, and believe that everyone else is blind. Their stupidity is matched only by their arrogance.


it does not follow that our governments’ policies should be incoherent and vacillating.

François Hollande, who had not previously

seemed à la hauteur of his position, appearing more like the deputy head of a lycée in Limoges than a head of state,

promised that French nationality would be withdrawn from convicted terrorists with dual nationality, French and other, even if they were born in France. The problem is that

there is always the possibility of a miscarriage of justice.

Dalrymple says of Muslim terrorism:

I do not pretend to have the answer to the problem. I suspect that it will require long attrition rather than a final showdown. I am optimistic about the long run because of the extreme intellectual weakness of Islam in the modern world (far greater than that of Marxism, which at least produced some interesting historians), but pessimistic about the short.

Cowards these attackers were not

Screen Shot 2015-11-15 at 16.51.34François Hollande, the French president, called the November 2015 Paris attacks cowardly. Dalrymple comments:

If there was one thing the attackers were not (alas, if only they had been), it was cowardly.

The attackers were, writes Dalrymple,

evil, their ideas were deeply stupid, and they were brutal: but a man who knows that he is going to die in committing an act, no matter how atrocious, is not a coward.

Screen Shot 2015-11-15 at 16.59.16With

the accuracy of a drone, the president honed in on the one vice that the attackers did not manifest.

This establishes, Dalrymple writes,

Screen Shot 2015-11-15 at 16.52.34that bravery is not by itself a virtue, that in order for it to be a virtue it has to be exercised in pursuit of a worthwhile goal.

Barack Obama, the US president, referred to the values we all share. Dalrymple says:

Either he was using the word ‘we’ in some coded fashion, in spite of having just referred to the whole of humanity, or he failed to notice that the attacks were the direct consequence of the obvious fact that we—that is to say the whole of humanity—do not share the same values. If we shared the same values, politics would be reduced to arguments about administration.

Screen Shot 2015-11-15 at 16.53.19Bono, the Irish pop star, said that the attacks were an attack on music. Dalrymple:

Bono might as well have said that this was an attack on restaurants, or on Cambodian cuisine.

The Guardian, the London newspaper, said the vast majority of Muslims abhorred the attacks. Dalrymple:

I do not exclude the possibility that this is so, but we do not know, and can probably never know, that it is so: for if Elizabeth I had ‘no desire to make windows into men’s souls’, we have no ability to do so, certainly on this question. But the Guardian wanted it to be so, and therefore, to its own satisfaction, it was so. This is a kind of magical thinking that persists in a supremely scientific age, and is dangerous because completely ineffective.

Screen Shot 2015-11-15 at 17.04.00


Houellebeckian auguries

Michel Houellebecq: 'looks like a man who has crawled out of a giant ashtray after a prolonged alcoholic binge in clothes that have not been washed for weeks. This does not mean he approves of the world he inhabits: it is simply that he can conceive of no other, at least for Western man, and if anyone thinks otherwise he is deceiving himself. Grunge is reality; everything else is veneer.

Michel Houellebecq: ‘looks like a man who has crawled out of a giant ashtray after a prolonged alcoholic binge in clothes that have not been washed for weeks. This does not mean he approves of the world he inhabits: it is simply that he can conceive of no other, at least for Western man, and if anyone thinks otherwise he is deceiving himself. Grunge is reality; everything else is veneer’

Hollande looks like the deputy head of a 1950s school geography department

Screen Shot 2015-01-11 at 08.27.52TEACHER: Economic growth is the best way of tackling unemployment.

PUPIL: Thank you, sir. That that had never occurred to me. I had thought the solution was to give everyone a job whether or not any productive work was attached to it. The Soviet Union never suffered from idle hands, I believe, sir.

The faintly disgusting slipperiness of the British prime minister

Screen Shot 2014-03-03 at 00.39.04

David Cameron: trail of slime

Physiognomy, writes Dalrymple,

is an inexact science, but it is not so inexact that you cannot read the bemused feebleness [on being confronted with the Ukraine débâcle] on the faces of people such as Van Rompuy, Hollande, and Cameron, the latter so moistly smooth and characterless that it looks as though it would disappear leaving a trail of slime if caught in the rain.

Socialist concubinage

Screen Shot 2014-02-02 at 12.12.23A doctor writes

Overdose consequent upon discovery of infidelity is not uncommon.

If it is an important part of morality that one should not cause avoidable distress to others, then the patient’s onetime inamorato has behaved badly. Human relations cannot be emptied of their moral significance, nor can law replace, account for, or regulate that significance.

‘Millions dead, freedom unknown and nothing to show for it’

That is socialism, says Dalrymple. Milksop, Western, populist, vote-grubbing, ‘democratic’ socialism, of the type practised by Harold Wilson or François Hollande, entails, Dalrymple points out, the — at first mild — ‘replacement of the impersonal allocation by price, by allocation by political influence’. As for full-throttled socialism, as practised, for instance, by the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, it is theoretical fantasy and absurdity. It can only be imposed, Dalrymple notes, by force. The result in socialist countries was (is, in the case of North Korea and Cuba) ‘disastrous’. It has been murderous and very often genocidal, for socialism, as Michael Wharton famously described it, is like ‘a great road, stretching to infinity across a barren, waterless waste. Along it trudge half the peoples of the world, bowed, manacled, parched, exhausted. By the verges lie the gaunt wrecks of crashed and burnt-out nations; and skeletons picked clean by vultures and bleached by a pitiless sun’. Socialism, Wharton wrote, involves ‘the death of freedom, the enslavement of the masses, the withering of art and culture, the restless, ruthless hunt for scapegoats, the aggressive folie de grandeur of dictators’. Only a tiny number of fantasists deny that socialism was and is like this. But these fantasists, traitors and apologists for tyranny — the foremost example is the disgusting Alger Hiss — whether they be spies, fellow travellers or sympathisers, these ‘enemies of the open society’, have wielded, and continue to wield, very great power inside the Western establishment, indeed in one sense they are the Western establishment.

France, Germany and the European racket

Screen Shot 2015-04-18 at 09.42.27In the minds of the European political class, writes Dalrymple, populations are ignorant and stupid and electorates are

just a bloody nuisance, getting in the way of proper policy. That is why the class is so attached to European institutions, in which powerful apparatchiks who know best can take no notice of the dummy parliament and do not have to face the humiliating ritual of elections.

Forced European unity, writes Dalrymple,

conjured from no popular sentiment by a combination of bureaucratic mediocrity and gaseous utopianism, is more likely to lead to conflict than to prevent it.

How so? Dalrymple explains. François Hollande, the French president,

wants increased government spending to avoid the reduction in public sector employment, wages and social protections that would be brought about by liberalisation of the labour market. Thanks to the currency union (to which the population of neither France nor Germany consented), French wishes can be met by one of only two methods: either the Germans pay for the deficits of other countries or accept a high rate of inflation.

Hollande was elected on a programme that could not but have brought him into conflict with Germany, says Dalrymple.

But without the monetary union, there would have been no such possible conflict: Hollande could have followed his own policy (albeit at the cost of constant devaluation and the eventual impoverishment of his country) without bothering Germany.


the overweening ambition of the European political class has resuscitated conflict between old enemies where none need have existed.

Dalrymple adds:

This is not to say that either the French or the German political élites have fallen out of love with the European project, far from it. The question is Humpty Dumpty’s: ‘which is to be master — that’s all’. It has proved rather a dangerous one in Europe down the ages.