In all, a cause for some satisfaction over here. They have their 1789 and 1968, farmers who manure roads, fishermen who plan to "invade" Guernsey today if prevented from fishing there. We have, our more patriotic newspapers remind us, the milder British customs of compromise, gradualism, John Major. As the Prime Minister said of the truckers' blockade last Wednesday, while visiting Sainsbury's, "I'm delighted ... the days of strikes like that in this country have long since gone. They occur elsewhere."
Then again, we have had the odd recent outbreak of the French Disease. Those road protestors, like a rash along bypass routes. Hunt saboteurs. Land-occupying New Levellers in Wandsworth, with their talk of the English Civil War, the one experts on British consensus never quite get round to mentioning. And then there was that poll tax business in Trafalgar Square ... Actually, when it comes to it, we can throw a paving stone with the best of them. And, strangely, as in France, it seems to have an influence: the poll tax went; hunting may follow; last week, the Chancellor abandoned 110 new road schemes. As they might say on the barricades, "Chacun a son coup".