French author slams 'vulgar, aggressive, unprincipled, consumerist' Britons
By IAN SPARKS
10th September 2006
Britain has been branded a nation of "vulgar, aggressive, unprincipled, consumerist zombies" in a scathing new book by a French academic.
In a savage tirade of abuse that rips the 'entente cordiale' to shreds, author Agnes Poirier unleashes a savage attack on our culture, lifestyle and politics.
Even by French standards of Brit-bashing, the stream of insults is impressive.
But it is made all the more extraordinary considering Miss Poirier has a British boyfriend and has lived in Britain for a decade.
But despite claiming to 'love' the British people, she gives no clue as to what it is she actually likes about us.
Instead, the London-based journalist and author fires off a barrage of slurs that covers everything from our culture, cooking, countryside, education system and even our general level of intelligence.
She claims the book called The English Model, A French Illusion is a warning to French readers that they could become like us if France continues to follow our Anglo-Saxon free market ideas and globalisation (which have made the British richer than the French)
She said: "This is a wake-up call to French voters. France's two main presidential candidates Nicolas Sarkozy and Segolene Royal are Blairites who would import British policies if elected.
"This book is for all those who think that would be good."
Miss Poirier begins with a venomous deluge of abuse aimed at the British character, saying: "They have no understanding of philosophy, beauty or art. They do not even have any intellectuals.
"It is a kingdom of narrowly educated specialists on the one hand and those lacking general culture on the other.
"This makes for boring conversation. People talk only about what they know about or else limit themselves to comments on the weather, the property market or the cost of educating children."
She said that our countryside resembled an "immense theme park" and our children were ravaged by an epidemic of obesity thanks to the fast food culture.
She claims that while France continues to be chivalrous, manners are all but forgotten in Britain, where we mocked French president Jacques Chirac for kissing the hand of German chancellor Angela Merkel.
She added bitterly: "Over there, customs are characterised less by gallantry and more by virility, cruelty and aggressiveness".
Miss Poirier said that Tony Blair and David Cameron were surrounded by the same little core of former university friends who lived in Notting Hill, west London, and always went to the same restaurants.
She added: "It has been a long time since they were separated by convictions and for a good reason: in their eyes, conviction is outmoded. Principles only create antagonism. And antagonism is bad for these new politicians."
She said we British were not interested in art or culture unless it sells and is 'cool' and 'sexy'.
She said that while in France the minister of culture is fourth in rank in the government, Britain lumps its culture ministry with sport.
France needed to be reject the corporate chains that have strangled Britain's high streets and made them all look the same, she said, and she warned French readers: "Let us prepare for the spread of evil.
"We'll walk around the streets of France like consumerist zombies.
"We won't know if we are in Nantes or Amiens because all the streets will look the same.
"We in France enjoy contemplating our neighbours, like cakes in the windows of a French patisserie. Such richness is priceless compared to global uniformity.
"As our British friends say in French, vive la diffirence."
Comments by Daily Mail readers -
It's always very dangerous to make sweeping generalisations about a nation, but since the occasion invites it, let it be said that at least the British, by and large, don't take their dogs outside and have them defecate in the middle of the pavement for everybody to walk in... and what can we say about a nation that sees nothing wrong with trudging through excrement on its daily round?
- Helene, France
Having been educated at one of France's elite Grandes Ecoles I can quite assure Ms Poirier that very few French have an appreciation of philospohy either and they certainly don't possess any intellectually amonst their current living intelligencia. Serious case of the pot calling the kettle black.
- Mark, Sevenoaks, Kent
I absolutely agree, the British way of life is/has been decimated....by Europe
- Norm, Newcastle