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Cheated French warn Britain against EU divorce... and beef with jam


The French press reacted to David Cameron’s EU referendum speech on Wednesday with a generous helping of hostility, a touch of ‘rosbif’ ridicule, and a great deal of concern.

In demonstrating the seriousness of the PM’s perilous move, journalists provided their readers with an array of wondrous metaphors. Murder, divorce, religious sacrifice… Who would have thought European politics could be so exciting?


Russian roulette


The prize for the most theatrical metaphor goes to Breton daily Ouest-France, whose journalist Laurent Marchand clearly has a penchant for 1930s gangster movies. “It’s as though Cameron just laid down a gun, loaded with one bullet only, on the EU-member table. Aimed, in principle, at the future of the union,” he wrote. “But it could backfire.”


Western shoot-out

Southern daily Le Midi Libre also ran with the gun theme, this time in a Western setting: “Cameron was the first to shoot. But did he shoot himself in the foot?”


Failing polygamous marriage


The west coast’s Charente Libre meanwhile chose to think of the relationship between the UK and the EU as a rocky marriage (presumably making France a polygamous Daddy figure…). “Either you do what you have to do to keep me, or I’ll divorce you… in five years,” read the article, headlined “Divorce English style”.



Walking a tightrope


Some were less theatrical, with business daily Les Echos depicting Cameron walking a tightrope between two pools of sharks. On one side, his eurosceptic backbenchers and on the other, his European colleagues. “Walking a tightrope isn’t without its risks,” the paper warned.


Drifting away


Catholic daily La Croix offered marine-related advice to its island-dwelling neighbours. “Do not let slip your moorings,” it concluded somberly, seemingly untickled by its own pun.


Inedible dinner


This being a chance to counter-bash the bash-happy UK, the metaphor frenzy couldn’t go without the mention of food. Eastern daily L’Alsace chose to target Britain’s number one dish, but then forgot to do its research…


“Cameron’s Europe looks a lot like his compatriots’ favourite dish – beef and jam. Tasty for an English stomach, but indigestible for those who dream of a strengthened Europe; robust in the face of today’s global complications…” Good effort L’Asace, but were you thinking of lamb and mint sauce? Turkey and cranberry sauce? … A jam sandwich??


Religious offering

Finally, national daily Le Monde chose to liken the move to a religious offering to the high gods (i.e.: his backbenchers). “Cameron is sacrificing the first pillar of continental diplomacy at the altar of domestic politics,” said the article, which appeared, along with all the others, to have been written in all seriousness…

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I live in the UK, having read Stu and Suzie's comments, I wonder if there is another country out there that is pretending to be the UK. We should be told. There are people here who think that it is still 1957 and that we should retun to that corrupt, overpriced and restrictive world. Modern Britain is not like that, nor was historic Britain. Our wealth and fortunes have always been built on engaging with the wider world and Being open to foreigners. the UK is an alliance of a number of countries with very different viewpoints. I love the accusation that the EU is in democratic, I am trying to remember, can anyone name an EU country where members of the upper house are unelected and appointed by the Government for life?
Great Britain existed long before the European Union did, and will continue to exist with or without the European Union as a nation. The British are a versatile people and they will continue on, with new ideas and perhaps begin a new union with North America and Australia in the very near future. Just look at what has happened to IrelanmGreece,Portugal,Spain and Italy, does anyone in their right minds want to be part of this bunch of losers? I thnk not!
Why is it when someone challenges or wants to see change in the EU they are branded right wing. Lets not forget it was the tories who took Britain into Europe. The Uk is the second biggest contributor and also Germanys biggest trading partner. As such it has a right to seek changes. Core issues need to be addresed: Why do we need two EU parliaments, Why doesnt France a rich country give up the CAP funds it recieves in favour of poorer countries. France recieves the largest share of subsity. How can that be right? Why do we not have elections for the EU president. I think the hysteria at Cammerons remarks is more abt the realisation by the French in particular that the whole thing is likely to collapse. The Dutch the Swedes the Finns all net contributers will start as is already happening questioning the type of EU that has been created.
Cameron is between a rock and a hard place. Britain is naturally Euro-sceptic and the emergence of new party UKIP run by the scourge of Brussels Nigel Farage overtaking the Liberal Democrats to become the third party in the opinion polls and making a split in the Conservative Party a real possibility, would make a shoo-in for Milliband's Labour Party at the next General Election. Cameron has to do two things - heal the rift between his Euro-sceptic party members and the centre-left and neutralise the UKIP threat. Voting for UKIP would give Cameron a bloody nose but would guarantee a Labour government for the foreseeable future - Mutually Assured Destruction by the centre-right and right wing of the country. Make no mistake, Cameron wants to be in Europe but he has to guarantee survival first.
UK has dramatically changed in the last 15 years, the last Labour Government open door policy for immigration has been the biggest mistake. In Cities, towns and villages are over run by Eastern Europeans, so bad now schools have 28 different languages cater for. Hospitals cannot cope, patients waiting 10 to 12 hours in ambulances and outside Emergence wards before being treated. While the hospitals treat people who just arrived in the country and never paid into the system. Housing is just the same, immigrants arrive and go to the top of the list and in some cases get multi pound houses, all paid for by the British tax payer. Immigrants now get more benefits than pensioners, who have paid into the system all their lives. Muslims now patrol the streets, telling Christians to leave the area as it is now Muslim. The British people think this because the European Union!
I don't think anyone in Europe has Europe in their mind. they all want to take as much as they can and give as little as back. in many country's that have bean bailed out many people do not still pay tax and hide their wealth. the masters in Bruxelles still spend to much money on themselves , they work in the new Versailles and pay for anything that make themselves more respected. they just waste our money. and make lots of silly laws about idiotic things . maybe the English are right and it is better to be away from Bruxelles and their rules that tye us down
To be honest British people are not European in their mind. They see Europe from the top a hill. From the beginning no one told British citizen that they are going to build a new country, "Europe" they went to form a wider market that s it. I think the game is compromised. Britain will never allow Europe to be a country. America is already sneaking to make England the crusher of a new power " Europe" from inside. The project "Europe" as a country will die in the egg. I think Cameron is just preparing his re-election. Britain will remain in Europe as America want.
Mon dieu.... Hard pressed populations often shift to the right in times of economic turmoil, and this this is a desparate measure totry and steal back votes from the xenophobic & anti-Europe UK Independence Party. If Scotland goes independent in the near future (probable) the UK parliament will lose a lot of labou seats, condemning England to perpetual conservative government. If it also leaves Europe following a referendum (also probable), it will become a hellish place to live. I am glad I have an Irish/European passport, but my apologies to my fellow Europeans for the catasrophic stupidity and greed of our politicians who squandered the boom years and bmade Ireland an economic basket case wholly dependent on european bail-outs...