Insights from the UK and beyond
Vive la difference?
Young French people are coming to live and work in London in record numbers, it seems, to the extent there’s now even an area named after them, in the manner of Little Italy or Kangaroo Valley. The fact that it’s rather rudely called Frog Alley should not diminish the importance of this significant milestone.
Going in the other direction, large numbers of Brits living in France have been standing in municipal elections — nay, encouraged to stand — in the areas where they have a significant presence. Welcomed with open arms, some of the reports said.
We’ve moved our Eurostar terminal from the unfortunately named Waterloo, so now French passengers don’t have to arrive to a smug display of British triumphalism, while President Sarkozy has been playing mood music about the importance of closer ties with the old enemy.
A recent poll even found that our national characters are converging. The French and the British were voted rudest and second-rudest people in Europe.
But how far can all this go? Have we been distant neighbours for too long or is it simply pie in the sky to think the British and the French will ever love each other?