Editorial; Opinion, Leading articles
Liberté, Egalité, Come and Stay; To French anxious about life in post-election France we say: bienvenue à Londres
25 April 2012
Françaises, Français! We know (« nous savons ») that many of you (« beaucoup d’entre vous ») —worried about the big tax rises (« ooh la la! ») being threatened by François Hollande (« Monsieur soixante-quinze pour cent ») if he becomes president, and fearful of the potential impact of his policies on France’s economic health — may be thinking of moving to Britain. This election may feel to you like a wake-up call (« tout à l’heure »). We want you to know we are ready to receive you. In your own language (« lingua franca ») we say: « Bienvenue! »
You would not be the first (« les premiers ») to come. Many thousands of your compatriots (« Françaises, Français! ») have migrated to Britain to enjoy life (« la vie ») among a people who have always welcomed visitors from France. Even if it was at times only after persuasion from Norman archers (« Dum-de-dum-de-dum-de-da … »).
The Huguenots took refuge here. Some of the greatest Britons were born to French parents and grandparents; from Isambard Kingdom Brunel to George Orwell. And your forebears have already prepared for you here a familiar home from home.
We have a Lycée Français in South Kensington.
We have the best French bakeries making the finest croissants and baguettes. Our cinemas show French films. Like you, we have politicians of the left, like George Galloway (« gauche », like George Galloway). We will make you feel at home (« chez vous ») by making our intellectuals always appear in public wearing a white shirt unbuttoned to the waist, just like Bernard-Henri Lévy. We promise not to stop you listening to Johnny Halliday, providing you do it « en privé » (« in your own privy »).
Alors, venez! We, the British, await you, as you would put it, with « bras » wide open. Bienvenue!