We in England have always had a love-hate relationship with the French and one thing that becomes apparent is that the French always put themselves and their country first. In the course of my work, I had dealings with the French on a number of occasions, mainly through Eurocontrol, and one thing that became immediately apparent was that, prior to any meeting, they decided exactly what they wanted, regardless of the interests of the other parties present. If the French did not get exactly what they wanted, there was no agreement, full stop. As none of the other countries present were prepared to take such a hard line, the French invariably got their way.
As a result of my experiences, there have been numerous occasions when I have wished that the English, and particularly our government, would be more like the French!
These thoughts came to mind today when I read an article in the Telegraph entitled
"France shows us how to deal with jihadis". As it says:
"Here are two nations, both Western liberal democracies, both in the
EU, both signatories to the European human rights convention and subject to
the rulings of the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. Both face
threats from Islamist extremists; and yet their approach to dealing with
them is dramatically different."
The article points out that, between 2001 and 2009, we managed to deport just nine
alleged jihadis as compared with the French who managed to remove 129!
Seemingly, it is not the European Court of Human Rights which is the problem, but our own domestic laws. If a deportation order is made in France, it is carried out immediately. Lodging an appeal does not halt the process, whereas here, everything would grinds to an immediate halt. The French adopt the attitude that an appeal can be conducted by the individual's lawyers, there is no need for him to be present, and should the appeal be successful, he can apply for re-admittance. Gallic logic, maybe, but I like it!
There are definitely times when I wished we could be more like the French.
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