Sunday, March 26, 2006

Chirac's Nationalism

Chirac's storming out of a European Council of Ministers meeting in response to the horror of a Frenchman addressing the summit in English has to mark a new low for the defence of the French language. While the political reasons for Chirac to play the Franophone card while under siege at home are fairly clear one thing still shocks me.

How can Chirac do that with a straight face? As a well educated and intelligent man surely he can't really get angry enough to storm out of a meeting because the head of a multinational group uses a language he easily undestands and has interpreted?

Managing to pretend that he was serious in this stunt is surely an argument for broadening the Oscars. Best Head of State.


The A. said...

Though, by tradition, people do address the Council in their mother tongue. And "Je vais m'exprimer en anglais parce que c'est la langue des affaires" is a shade confrontational - if one is a head of state and this is the response one gets then leaving the room might be a decent way of saying shut-the-fuck-up.

Matthew Sinclair said...

Don't you think walking out of a summit should be confined to a serious disagreement on something important? Besides, if one Frenchman decides to address the Council in English why does that insult the French?

I doubt this was Chirac's concern to defend the traditions of the Council. Do you think he'd have done the same if an Englishman had spoken French? Do you think Blair would have walked out?

It all just looks childish and does far more to demean his position than the businessman ever could have.

Dave Cole said...

Probably Chirac playing to the crowd back at home, je crois.