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Anorak | La Mefiance Cordiale

La Mefiance Cordiale

by | 5th, April 2004

‘JULIAN Barnes once said that if someone had set out to create a nation of people more calculated to get up the noses of the English, then you could not have done better than the French.

Johnny Halliday – the greatest living Frenchman?

So, it is good to see that 100 years after the signing of the entente cordiale that cross-channel rivalry and distrust is as strong today as ever.

A poll carried out by the Guardian and the French paper Liberation discovered that, although nearly three-quarters of us have visited France, less than one in 10 feel any affinity with the country.

Compare that with, for instance, the 24% who admire America or the 25% who feel positive towards Ireland.

What is more, we don’t trust the French, although not as much as they distrust us.

None of this exactly comes as a surprise, particularly at a time when Anglo-French relations have been damaged by a disagreement over the Iraq war.

But what is truly shocking is that in the poll 60% of Britons could not name a single living Frenchman without being prompted – despite, for instance, the current English footballer of the year being a Frenchman.

‘This will no doubt confirm the French view, held by 56%, that we are insular,’ says the Guardian.

Or – more likely – just very thick.’



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