Socialist France has fallen into a triple dip recession this morning, Francois Hollande marks his first anniversary of being sworn in with his economy shrinking by 0.2% in the first quarter this year. One thing you won’t be hearing this side of the channel today is any more talk from Ed Miliband of a “united front” with France’s enterprise-destroying tax-obsessed corruption hit growth killer. Nothing of last summer’s Hollibande agreement for a “different way forward”, or Ed’s ill-fated praise for the French leader’s “determination to create jobs and growth”. Come 2015, don’t say they didn’t warn you…
During the Cold War no one was keener on deterring the Soviet Union than Guido; Trident, Pershing and Cruise missiles meant that the Red Army stayed in Russia. That deployment and the threatened development of the Strategic Defense Initiative bankrupted the USSR and ran up the US deficit, prompting Ronald Reagan to quip that he didn’t worry about the deficit, it was “big enough to look after itself”.
Britain’s ageing sea-based Trident fleet is up for replacement and the price tag is expected to be £100 billion of borrowed money. With no super-power enemy threatening the defence of the realm this is an expensive bit of willy-waving in an age of austerity. Even conservative US military strategists question the logic of the UK spending a third of the defence budget on a Cold War era system at the expense of conventional forces. Trident will cost every man, woman and child in Britain £1,400 that will have to be borrowed.
The French manage to have a modest nuclear deterrent without paying the Yanks billions they can’t afford; the Force de Frappe and the Force Océanique Stratégique. Surely Britain can as well?
Britain is capable of building, without U.S. assistance, cruise-type missiles which can be air-launched and modifying Astute class attack submarines with sea-launched cruise missiles. This would have a number of advantages; it would be a truly independent deterrent unlike Trident (which is only in theory independent), it would cost a fraction of what it will cost to upgrade Trident and it would be entirely British built rather than an expensive import. Obviously this new, smart, fearsome combined all-British defence system would be a Highly Independent, Lethal Defence Arsenal – HILDA. She would go on and on defending Britain for the rest of the century…
François Hollande is at an all-time low after the Socialist government’s “Monsieur Propre” (Mr Clean), Jérôme Cahuzac, admitted to having a “bank account abroad” for the past two decades. The former budget minister with responsibility for cracking down on tax dodgers admitted to holding €600,000 in an illegal offshore bank account at UBS Switzerland. Hollande is now facing questions about exactly what he knew and when. Scandals are arguably the least of Hollande’s worries. His flagship 75% top rate of tax has been ruled unconstitutional, wealth creators and film stars alike are fleeing his tax tyranny. This week his new supertax on companies has been shunned by business leaders, and even the left-wing press are abandoning him. As unemployment hits a 16-year high, Hollande’s approval rating is at a record low for any leader so early into his mandate. France is suffering from the disastrous consequences of electing the socialist president.
Where is Ed Miliband in all this? Last summer Ed was welcomed onto the steps of the Elysee Palace by his new best friend, declaring:
“What President Hollande is seeking to do in France and what he is seeking to do in leading the debate in Europe is find that different way forward. We are in agreement in seeking that new way that needs to be found and I think can be found.”
As is plain for all to see, Hollande’s “different way forward” is dragging his country to her knees. Even Ed knows this, notice how he doesn’t seem to talk about his old pal François so much any more? France should serve as a warning to us all of what would happen under Monsieur Millibande…
Jean Michel Jarre, the only French global rock star, has been into Downing Street to discuss moving to London to escape Francois Hollande’s tax hikes. The French President wants confiscatory 75% tax rates for high earners.
In secrecy Jarre recently visited Number 10 to discuss his “defection”. The news that Downing Street is involved in discussions with another high profile tax exile from France will cause outrage in the Elysee Palace. Gerard Depardieu’s planned flight from Paris to a small village less than half a mile across the Belgian border caused an uproar and French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault went so far as to call him “pathetic.”
Depardieu countered that “I am leaving because you believe that success, creation, talent, anything different must be sanctioned”. Cinema legends such as Brigitte Bardot and Catherine Denueve quickly jumped in with statements of support for Depardieu. The rock star’s move comes shortly after Bernard Arnault, CEO of luxury giant LVMH and France’s richest man, national hero Johnny Hallyday and actor Alain Delon have also left France for tax reasons. London estate agents report French investment bankers, private equity financiers and high paid entrepreneurs making inquiries.
When Hollande announced his 75% tax rate plan Cameron joked that he would “roll out the red carpet” for French tax exiles to the expressed annoyance of the Elysee Palace. French ministers widely criticised Cameron. The news that it was not mere rhetoric and Downing Street would literally welcome French rock star tax exiles onto the red carpet at No. 10 will infuriate President Hollande…
UPDATE: Downing Street were at lunchtime knocking down this story, by late afternoon they changed their synthesiser tune and said Jarre was indeed in talks to move his technology company to the government sponsored Tech City in London. Where the taxes are lower…
Guido’s Downing Street source says “He’s been into No. 10 to talk to us about defection – it’s like a crappy old spy movie…” The channel replacing the Berlin Wall, with French capitalists fleeing socialist France for freedom…
It turns out President Hollande was all mouth and no trousers last week as he tried to mock Team GB’s medal haul:
“We don’t talk of money, we talk of gold. The British have rolled out a red carpet for French athletes to win medals. I thank them very much for that, but the competition is not over. We will put the French medals into the Europe pot, so that the British will be happy to be European.”
Sixteen Team GB golds later and the cat seems to have got Hollande’s tongue - Britain now has double the number of golds won by the French and are miles ahead of them in the overall medal table.
Boris twisted the knife this morning, delivering the sort of line that Dave dreams of being able to say:
“Well, M le Président, mettez-ça dans votre pipe et fumez-le! Bien je jamais,eh!”
Glamorous thirty-something French housing minister Cécile Duflot was subjected to leers and wolf-whistles from her male colleagues as she gave a speech in Paris yesterday. When sexy Cécile stood up to speak wearing a skimpy floral summer dress the men around her couldn’t contain their excitement, showering her with lecherous cat calls. Heckler-in-chief Patrick Balkany insisted that he was “only admiring her looks“, but that Duflot had probably “put on that dress so that we wouldn’t listen to what she was saying“. Ooh la la…
Cameron’s offer to “roll out the red carpet” for French tax exiles fleeing French socialism provoked screams from French politicians, most poignantly expressed above by media mogul Laurent Joffrin, the epic champagne socialist son of the extremely wealthy, castle-owning, yacht sailing and oil company directing Jean-Pierre Mouchard. No surprise that he is telling the readers of the French Observer to “F**k Cameron”, they fear losing enormous amounts of 75% higher rate taxes to be brought in by the newly elected socialist Parliament. Vive la 30% difference!
Guido shorted €uros last night as soon as the Kiwis got to their desks and the currency markets opened. French Socialist Francois Hollande looks set to become President of France and the Dutch government has fallen apart. International investors are not going to look at that kindly, Guido also has a sense that the election of a left-wing president in France who actually implements a left-wing agenda would frighten the bond markets. Hollande will probably tack to the centre once in office, he is after all only a politician making election promises. If however he sticks to the left-wing agenda that his rhetoric promises, the big macro-hedge funds will take the view that French bonds can join the PIIGS (Portugese, Irish, Italian and Spanish bonds) on the sell list. In government Hollande has to choose between his rhetoric and the reality of the bond markets.
The ECB has already dangerously leveraged up support for the PIIGs via Long Term Refinancing Operations (LTRO). Leveraging up the ECB’s capital base has allowed it to put nearly €1 trillion of PIIG sovereign debt on its books, at a massive leverage ratio of nearly 40 to 1. If the ECB were a marked-to-market hedge fund instead of a Central Bank we would say it was investing recklessly, a mere 2.5% market move against it would wipe out all of its capital. The market doesn’t move it against it because it massively intervenes to support its own position.
If however the German Bundesbank decides that the ECB can’t go on literally doubling the chips on the table – up 106% since last year – the €uro as is could be too big to save. That is why all Osborne’s Treasury’s protestations about the IMF always getting its money back count for little. The US and China want to see Germany bet everything on the €uro before they join the rescue party. German politicians – including those of the left-of-centre SPD – expect Hollande to govern from the centre whatever he says on the hustings. British left-wingers hoping for a left-wing surge on the continent sparked by Hollande should be careful what they wish for, it would trigger the end of the €uro. If Hollande abandoned Sarkozy’s deficit reduction programme Germany would probably seek alternative arrangements – a hard-€uro Fiscal Union made up of Northern Europeans who run their affairs like the Germans and a looser soft-€uro of Southern Europeans who overspend. The dream of a united continent of Europe with one currency would be over…
If you ever get done for your taxes then Harry Redknapp provided the get out of jail free card with his successful “I can’t read or write and I’m too rich to bother dodging tax” defence. French socialist letch Dominic Strauss Khan’s is trying an equally ambitious line in his latest sex scandal. In reference to paid-for-orgy allegations, his lawyer, Henri Leclerk, said on his behalf:
“He could easily not have known, because as you can imagine, at these kinds of parties you’re not always dressed, and I challenge you to distinguish a naked prostitute from any other naked woman.”
It remains to be seen if a jury will be asked to accept that challenge live in court…
Maggie and Mandela | Charles Moore
Mandela was Christ-Like | Peter Oborne
Maggie Personally Donated £20,000 to Mandela Foundation | Bono
Why Environmentalists Should Favour Fracking | CPS
Balls Gag Falls Flat | Asa Bennett
Mandela the Thatcherite | John Pilger
Balls’ Heckling Hypocrisy | Isabel Hardman
Gordon Dinner Raises Just $350 | Trending Central
Labour Need Darling to Replace Balls | Peter Oborne
Osborne Will Have to Push Harder Than This | Fraser Nelson
No, Cameron Did Not Make Hang Mandela Posters | Buzzfeed
Nelson Mandela on Margaret Thatcher, July 1990…
“She is an enemy of apartheid… We have much to thank her for.”