School head calls naughty sixth form into his study and tells why he said `Non' to les Rosbifs

LIONEL JOSPIN, the Headmaster, invited the Sixth Form (the unruly British press) into his study yesterday to explain why he could not put beef back on the menu in his school canteen.

The French Prime Minister's reputation as a politician depends on what the French press call "la methode Jospin". The Jospin method is a head- masterly mixture of charm, mild bullying and a willingness to argue any subject to death, or at least to sleep.

Mr Jospin is wary of journalists and rarely wastes his methode on them. This was the first time British correspondents had been invited to the Prime Minister's gilded office since he took office two and a half years ago.

Mr Jospin says that he does not care about the apoplectic reaction of the British press and public to his decision last week to continue the French embargo on British beef exports.

It is clear, however, that he does care, a little. As we sat in a polite circle and drank coffee, he said that it did not worry him at all that a "certain British newspaper" had pictured him as a cow, divided diagramatically into prime cuts of beef. He laughed merrily at this example of "l'humeur Britannique".

Mr Jospin had armed himself with a cutting from the "pas tres Francais" Evening Standard - stable-mate of the frogophobic Daily Mail, no less - which offered aid and comfort to his position. "I see that in London there are school canteens which refuse to take British beef," he said, triumphantly.

It might be possible, on the basis of new scientific evidence, or with new tests for BSE now under development, to resume negotiations "in a few months" and avert a lengthy legal battle in the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg. He revealed he had once suggested that separate arrangements could be made for "grass-fed", top-quality Scottish beef but this had been rejected by Britain. His comments caused a political storm in Britain.

Mr Jospin explained that an independent committee of French scientists had decided - for a second time - that even carefully controlled British beef imports would be risky.

Once that happened, he said, he would have been "crucified by French public opinion" if he had lifted he ban. "Quite honestly, given the choice, I prefer to be crucified by the British press," Mr Jospin said.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: 3D Creative Designer

Up to £35k DOE: Guru Careers: A Junior / Mid-Level 3D Creative Designer is nee...

Recruitment Genius: Piece Dyed Coordinator

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This award winning UK textile innovator specia...

Recruitment Genius: Piece Dyed Administrator

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This award winning UK textile innovator specia...

Recruitment Genius: Pre-Sales Consultant / Presales Engineer / Sales Engineer

£55000 - £75000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Software House that produces ...

Day In a Page

Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

The haunting of Shirley Jackson

Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen