France’s poison is London’s meat – and bread, come to think of it

French elections are coming in thick and fast, and only the thick will fail to get out fast.

For, in a world where even Darwinism is but a theory, there exists one immutable law of nature: when socialists take over, people flee. Admittedly, some run away even from reasonably laissez-faire governments as well, but there’s a difference.

Most economic escapees from decent lands are guilty of some impropriety, usually of the tax variety. However, those who run away from socialists tend to be honest, decent people who all suffer from the same phobia: they hate being robbed by their government.

Britain taxes middle-class people at over 50 percent, and over 40 percent of our economy (closer to 75 percent in the Celtic fringe and the North) is socialist – or public-sector if this is the term you prefer. It says a lot for France that so many of her citizens regard as an oasis of freedom even our overtaxed, overregulated land run by self-serving politicians with learning difficulties.

London is already the seventh largest French city in the world, what with approximately 300,000 Gauls making it their home. Ashford, comfortably sitting on the Eurostar line between London and Folkestone boasts a large French population as well. Most of them work across the Channel, which they obtusely call La Manche, ignoring the waterway’s real name. The Channel to them isn’t English; good job their taxes are.

I don’t know if London can accommodate a million Frenchmen, but if it can it’ll have to, soon. For Hollande’s socialists have just won a 300-seat majority in the National Assembly, thereby finding themselves in total control of both the executive and legislative power. More important, they’ll now grab control of people’s money, which, in common with all socialists, they regard as their own.

It’s a mistake to think that economic and military disasters are some kind of force majeure, a confluence of historical circumstances rendering any human agency helpless. Taxing circumstances do arise periodically, and they do create critical situations. But such situations only become national and international catastrophes when the wrong people are in charge at the time.

Had Louis XIV, rather than Louis XVI, been in charge in 1789, the French revolution wouldn’t have happened. Nicholas I wouldn’t have suffered the fate of his grandson Nicholas II in 1917. Bismarck wouldn’t have let Weimar disintegrate into a breeding ground for Nazism. Unlike Blair, Churchill wouldn’t have acted as America’s poodle in Iraq. And if today’s Western governments were run by statesmen rather than spivs, the world in general and Europe in particular wouldn’t be running the risk of implosion.

In any self-respecting country someone like François Hollande would be satisfying his political ambitions by ranting off a soapbox somewhere in the Bois de Boulogne, with half a dozen derelicts in attendance. The rants would be regularly interrupted by either les flics or by muscular chaps wearing white coats and bearing straightjackets.

It takes a madman even to conceive the policies Hollande is about to implement, especially at present. An economy groaning under the weight of debt, taxation and regulation needs a breath of fresh air. It needs to get rid of the suffocating yoke around its neck by getting the government off its back.

What does François propose instead? A top tax bracket of 75 percent (in fact, closer to 100 percent when all taxes are taken into account), the lowering of the pension age from 62 to 60 and introducing a tax on all financial transactions. This in a country that’s on the verge of needing a bailout, Greek style.

Last Friday, Angela Merkel gave François a piece of her mind, chapter and verse. But France isn’t Greece, not yet anyway. Merkel can’t even try to whip her into shape to the same extent, though I must admit to having a persistent fantasy of Angela in a shiny PVC outfit, brandishing a cat-o’-nine-tails: ‘You’ve been a bad boy, François, but I have just ze remedy…’

That means Hollande will try to put his policies into effect, grabbing a catastrophe out of the jaws of a crisis. Anticipating such an outcome, the French began overworking London estate agents the moment François was elected president. What then was a vigorous trickle will now become a stampede. The French will be competing for London properties against Russian Mafiosi and Arab Springers. They’ll put their educated minds to work in the City. French will become the dominant language on the 22 Bus. And I for one am rubbing my hands gleefully.

For I share the French national obsession with food, and whenever the French move into a neighbourhood the food improves. There’s a superb butcher not far from where I live, listing Gordon Ramsey among the regular patrons. Unfortunately, I’ve never seen Gordon there, but each time I join the queue, two thirds of those in it are French. But for them, the butcher might not have survived. Now he’s thriving. The same goes for our local bakery, which is becoming indistinguishable from a boulangerie somewhere in the Sixth.

This, I realise, is a shamefully narrow, not to say solipsistic, perspective. We could broaden it though, if you insist. If the French blackmail the Germans into introducing a tax on financial transactions, where do you think most of those transactions will be made? I’ll give you a multiple choice: A) Frankfurt, B) Paris, C) the moon, D) London. You got it in one. And if their top tax bracket is twice as high as ours, it’s a safe bet that most economically virile Frenchmen will end up in the Royal Borough.

Will the last one of them leaving Paris please turn off all the lights? Before long France won’t be able to afford the electricity bill.

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