Another corking piece of ill-thought through prejudice - this time from the UK Daily Mail

I guess a lot of people will have seen this article,

in which The Mail claims Sarkozy took an impatient and sneery swipe at Britain, in saying the UK has no industry.

While I must confess that I'm not sure whether Britain has less industry than France or not (it might depend how one defines industry, including whether one includes agriculture), I was very unimpressed with the article. The reason for this is that the DM clearly don't have any French speakers, or they would have been able to clearly see that, Sarko wasn't (this time) doing anything of the sort, he was only pointing out how his 1.5% rise in TVA wouldn't hurt purchasing power.

His argument was that the extra TVA, as it wouldn't go on food, would go on consumer goods, many of which are imported. So not only would buying French protect the consumer (guess he had to get that one in), but in areas, such as computers, where there are no french products, there is nonetheless competition in the market that should have a downward pressure on the prices which would counteract the TVA rise. A journalist said "well TVA rises in Germany and the UK DID hurt peoples' spending power" - Sarkozy replied that as the UK doesn't have any industry, the UK people didn't have the same options (a bit irrelevant considering his main point was about competition in consumer goods which, he said, are all imported).

Now whether Sarko was right or wrong about the UK's proportion of industry, my point is that he wasn't, this time, sneering at all - he was just saying that his economic argument wouldn't apply in the UK - a device many politicians use in interviews (your argument doesn't work because your context is different). The Daily Mail jumped on the phrase and took it out of context. I'm sure Sarko probably doesn't like the Brits much (ref his comments on our being an island and therefore not understanding Europe - a low-brow piece of prejudice worthy of print in the same type of publication!). However, I think The Mail are stirring up unnecessary tension. It would be better to focus on real questions like whether or not the Euro will fail and/or whether that would help or hinder the UK...

Serves me right, I guess, for taking a glance at the DM, it's often full of rubbish like that...

DM for quizzes! In my day it was an encyclopaedia, even a children's one, but any newspaper for anything factual...

You can dispute all you like! But that won't change anything. I am NOT INTERESTED! Not if I don't know them, not if I do know them and not if they are "celebrities"! Not interested! I wouldn't want my private life in the papers, and I don't want to read about anybody elses!

Like I said - Factual and gossip-free - that is what I want. I don't believe that I am the only one!

Actually there is no market for that, but I dispute that you are not interested in who is sleeping with whom. Everyone is interested. Maybe they are not interested about about people they do not know but its very interesting when you do know them, right?

Sometimes, perhaps, the old adage that a leopard does not change its spots bears some truth. Nigel Dacre is the core of this, there have been moderate editors in the past but the DM was then just a shadow of what it is and what is doing right now. Owners want to sell papers, so this is their way of doing it. Hateful, yes. Would I close it down? No. I believe that the entire spectrum of view must be allowed in the public sphere but that critique in any direction such as some of us allow ourselves here has to be part of that. Otherwise we can consign that big word democracy directly to the rubbish bin.

Think so!


Great work

The Mail has always been and probably always will be a nasty piece of work, dedicated to division between the british, the Europeans and uncritical admiration for example, for Hitler in the 1930s, tight wing regimes throughout the post war world and of course for Thatcher, Keith Joseph and others of this ilk. As a tabloid they need to have a human interest side to ramp up their readership and to that extent I applaud their work in individual human and personal issues. But they make Britain a country hateful to others and to recent emigrants to it. I am not a dictator so I could not see it banned but I contend that it is the single most evil piece of British media of the last 100 years and I wish that the whole place would have an unfortunate gas explosion. Nigel Dacre needs to realise the unhappiness and tragedy that he has directly caused in his reign of terror as editor. I have direct and harrowing evidence of which I speak.

Have I made myself clear enough?

Right Finn. Wikipedia does the meaning of the original notion, which was ironically French, no justice rather preferring the simple definitions that satisfied for most of the 20th century. OK, the so-called Marxist-Leninst version which bears little resemblance to any of Dr Marx's work at all or any interpretation thereof and as for Ulyanov's about turn when he came to power... He actually did say it was not socialism, wrote it as well but let's forget all of that because you are quite right. It would keep us busy for some years I guess. What France has is some of the central planning traits of the Soviet Union and other monopolistic systems including, to a certain extent, ancient Athens and Rome. The likes of Sarko feed on that because no doubt he is intelligent enough to know when he is on to a good thing. So he tells us it is not socialism but in our best interest, so he'll tax us a bit more and so on. Then he warns us that if socialists take office then it will be worse. There we could call in the cleverest accountants to see if economic hairs are worth splitting to see where the balance changes. It is a political seesaw with roughly equal bodies either side balanced somewhere between to two. If they both fall off and get back on the wrong/opposite sides they will still seesaw as before.

Interesting thought Finn except that there is no socialist ideology that advocates high taxation/social security/etc which it returns to people as France does. Indeed, all real socialist notions whether Marx, Proudhon, Gramsci and so on also advocate reducing bureaucracy and putting decision making and 'social action' such as running communities in the hands of people. That would mean less professional functionaries and less flexibility for taking money from people to administer back to them (rather a good way of making jobs that are unnecessary in order to command loyalty of a large public service and nothing more). So the system looks like some of the idiosyncratic methods of the Soviet Union which was simply a monopolistic apparatus for maintaining itself, especially the privileged hegemony. But that was never any form of socialism anybody who believes in a social communal state would believe in. As for the prevalent hostile attitude to capitalism and business which you rightly mention, that is something schizophrenic about France that nobody can really figure out. This country has amongst its own citizens and others living here a fair share of the world's richest people and loves them excessively. That is beyond a simple contradiction, it is there and very politely nobody mentions it. So the hostile attitude is more of a show than a display of intent and possibly that is as it will always be.

Second that ;-)

Excuse me Emily, but there is little that is even remotely 'socialist' in France apart from that word used for a couple of political parties. There is a strong whiff of monopoly capitalism through centralism (government and its bureaucracy) that has echos of either Sovietism (that was never any kind of socialism and Lenin is quotable on that point in his life time!) or fascism (which used the word socialism but not what it means) where the state basically runs the entire shop and who it employs is free agent to walk over everybody else, except the very rich among the rich who pull the real strings and pay almost none of the taxes the people at base pay, etc. I talk to French people who know that, some voted for UMP last time, but they do have a problem with change although they know they need it. Perhaps only radical action works, but then who wants back to 'off with their heads' time? So France is wandering about like a political headless chicken and if Hollande wins let's all bring this up again (perhaps in that sense too) in a year and a half's time when we have had a year of nothing noticeable happening.

Yes, in a very compact nutshell, yes.

Absolutely true, no doubt whatsoever about such things. There is good and bad in the British press too, but then don't most countries have that and condemn those who are brave and honest as oppositional (rather than sensationalist) or polemic?

Well said, Finn.

Must admit that I would be much more likely to buy a newspaper if it just "stated the facts". I do NOT want someobdy else's opinion on what has happened, and I don't want their opinion on why it happened. I just want to know what happened!

AND - I don't consider who is sleeping with who - or who is leaving their wife/husband - to be news at all! I don't care! I think that their PRIVATE life should be just that.... private.

Maybe there is a market for a FACTUAL, gossip-free newspaper!!!

Yes Finn, but it is the way the Daily Mail does it which only just stays on the right side of the line of mild xenophobia. Mind you, having only read things forwarded to me by outraged friends, it seems that its near racism extends to the UK given what they say about Alex Salmond... It is the way they do it, the Telegraph is far more sobre in its presentation which given it is also rather anti-European and no lover of the French is fine. That is more the point than the inaccurate content.

One of the all time greats of British programing.

From Yes, Minister, another seemingly apropos line:

Freedom of information. We should always tell the press freely and frankly anything that they could easily find out some other way.

A Daily Mirror report:

THOUSANDS of dying people are being sent letters urging them to consider getting a job, it has been revealed. The Department for Work and Pensions writes to everyone claiming the new Employment Support Allowance suggesting that they see a personal advisor to “help you move towards work”. That includes those whose families have specifically told officials that they have less than six months left to live. Ministers have admitted that 1,000 terminally ill people were sent the letters in just three months in a written answer to MPs. The shocking figure comes after David Cameron railroaded his brutal welfare reforms which will take cash from disabled children and cancer sufferers through Parliament.

We all used to knock the Mirror that was worse than the Mail in my time. That is a story that is actually correct in substance but not built up into a big number either. The Mail did not appear to have reported that thus far. They are busier 'exposing' all the 'layabout disabled' (as they have all but called them) as benefit cheats.

Emma and Emily, actually I think they play up to a particular audience and there is no malign intent in fact. That is half of the problem, the people who run it from the top think they are justified because nobody has done anything serious enough direction Press Complaints Council that it is fine. But then Murdoch's lot did all of that for years until the Mail took their place.