Letter: A French fashion worth following

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The Independent Online
Sir: It is not surprising that we feel anger when French farmers and fishermen burn our lamb and our flag, and destroy cod caught by the British. But this behaviour reflects the determination of France as a country to take care of its own interests within the EC. In comparison, Britain appears barely street-wise. There is also the matter of the long-term view, seemingly non-existent this side of the Channel.

Instead of feeling anger, we should perhaps make use of French know-how in this respect by using France as a touchstone for certain decisions. For instance, would France have allowed Japanese cars to be manufactured there under terms in which all-important research and development took place in Japan - thus undermining established companies, turning France into an assembly line and imperilling its future industrial capacity (letter, 20 March)?

Would France have closed some of its richest coal seams and purchased electricity from England under draconian let-out clauses? If a French company, such as our BAe, was in danger of relocating its corporate jet business in the United States with the loss of hundreds of jobs, would not the French government move heaven and earth to keep it in France (Business and City, 26 March)?

With a successful North Sea service industry such as ours, would France approve a Budget decision killing the goose that laid the golden egg? The decision to disallow exploration costs to be offset against tax is predicted to cause a two-thirds reduction in British research, with bleak prospects for the future (letter, 24 March).

Undoubtedly the answer to some of these questions would be Non, for we have only to look at the millions poured into the new fashion premises in Paris to see how France has both eyes on her long-term business prospects within the EC. Is it not time we learnt French fashion: to take a longer view ourselves?

Yours faithfully,




28 March