Overrated: Emmanuel Macron

Standpoint, June 2016 On May 8, the French city of Orléans celebrated, as it does every year, its liberation by Joan of Arc and her army in 1429. Many politicians have tried, for decades, to take over St Joan’s mantle by speaking at the event. This year a new candidate appeared — not a right-wing leader or an eccentric Catholic, but Emmanuel Macron, the French … Continue reading Overrated: Emmanuel Macron

Why Brexit Could Be A Blessing For Europe

Standpoint, April 2016 I am a Eurosceptic. I have never understood the idea of a political community without sovereignty or accountability. I have always found bizarre the idea that political representation can be independent of history, tradition and language. I have always frowned upon the prose of Jean Monnet, who condemned nation-states as essentially harmful and triggers of war. I was shocked by the aftermath … Continue reading Why Brexit Could Be A Blessing For Europe

After Paris, Who Will Speak For France?

Standpoint, January/February 2016 On Friday November 13, we were watching our favourite TV series when my father-in-law called, in a panic. It was 11pm. Was I in Paris? No. Great — because something terrible was happening. An attack? Again? Le Monde’s website was down. I turned to the BBC, where I learned about the whole thing, then to a French news channel. It was devastating. My … Continue reading After Paris, Who Will Speak For France?

From Jargon To Incantation

Standpoint, November 2015 Roger Scruton has a striking sense of timing. He was in Paris during les événements of May 1968. His last novel, The Disappeared, dealt with sex trafficking in a northern city in England just as the child abuse cases in Rotherham and Oxfordshire were making headlines. His latest book, Fools, Frauds and Firebrands: Thinkers of the New Left, appears at the very moment when the Labour … Continue reading From Jargon To Incantation

Conservative, Moi? Jamais De La Vie!

Standpoint, July/August 2015 The British general election had an astonishing outcome in the eyes of the French public. Not because the Tories won, not because UKIP lost, not because the SNP broke through, but because unsuccessful British political leaders tend to do something utterly surprising when they lose: they resign. I come from a country where unsuccessful political leaders, when they lose, say they are … Continue reading Conservative, Moi? Jamais De La Vie!

Clowns To The Left Of Me

Standpoint, June 2015   How the British Think would make a strange title for a book — at least that is what my friends in Britain tell me. But when it comes to investigating the French way of life, an exploration of French thought is more justified. Thinking, it seems, is part of France’s history and one of the characteristics the French are famous for. In … Continue reading Clowns To The Left Of Me

Left Foot Forward

Standpoint, June 2015 Which newspaper wouldn’t dream of earning almost 30 million euros in a few weeks and to go from a 30,000 weekly circulation to more than 1 million? That is what is happening to Charlie Hebdo, the satirical weekly which was the target of the terrible Islamist attack in Paris in January, in which 12 people died, including 11 staff and contributors. The outrage … Continue reading Left Foot Forward

Paris Blue

Standpoint, May 2015 Paris in April. I hadn’t been there since mid-January, just after the terrible attacks on Charlie Hebdo and the kosher supermarket, followed by the big march. I was struck, as ever, by the bad manners and the dirtiness, beginning with the Gare du Nord. (Do you remember the John Lewis managing director lashing out last October? He was right.) You never get used to … Continue reading Paris Blue