Bon-Phwooaarr: Female French MP in Sexism Scandal

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 Red Carpet Leads to French Anglo-Saxonism

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!

Left-Wing Hollande Would Trigger €urogeddon

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…

DSK’s Naked Hooker Test

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…

The Other Dave and Nick Relationship

Sarkozy and Dave’s bromance peaked on a balcony in Benghazi, but hit a new low when the half-pint refused to shake hands after Dave’s veto before Christmas. Well blink and you would have missed their forced man-love in Brussels this afternoon:

Given that Sarkozy claimed last night that the UK “has no industry“, you might have thought Dave would be playing it cool, but he instigated the smiles and bat backs. All ten seconds of them…

Le Downgrade Est Arrivé

Sarkozy’s chances of re-election have taken a battering as France is no longer judged the safest of credit risks. What this means is that the French backed €uro bailout fund is no longer a AAA credit risk. Slovakia, Italy and Austria also got downgraded. Greek debt restructuring talks have broken down and Greek 10-year debt is trading at 20c/€ to face value. Which shows what the market thinks of  their chances of getting their €uros back… 

S&P Give France a Reality Check

Though the economic prospect of a French downgrade is rather scary, the political repercussions are frankly hilarious. Sarkozy is in an election year for one,  and his head of the Banque de France has oeuf all over his face. Back in December a mighty row broke out when Christian Noyer said that Britain’s credit rating should be downgraded before them. It was a typical attempt to try to drag us down with them. Well S&P have spoken.

As Lord Nelson might have said “I see no credit downgrade.”

“Prédateurs” Theme Sarko’s, Not Ed’s

Labour types are scraping the barrel this morning claiming that Newt Gingrich has “stolen” Ed’s much derided “predators” line. Tom Watson is crowing, Political Scrapbook are grandstanding and Guido is laughing. Ed isn’t even the first European leader to develop the theme. Rewind to 2007 and enter stage right French Presidential candidate Nicolas Sarkozy:

Nicolas Sarkozy, the neo-Gaullist favourite, has vowed to “hit predators” with a tax on speculative investments – apparently a version of the Tobin tax, a staple of populist discourse in Europe for years. “We can’t tolerate hedge funds buying a company with debt, firing a quarter of the staff and then enriching themselves by selling it in pieces. We didn’t create the euro to have capitalism without ethics or morals,” he said. Mr Sarkozy is supposed to be the “free market” candidate.

Ed’s line was nothing but a cheap rip off of that…

Un Demi-Tour

As the news filtered through yesterday that the former French president Jacques Chirac had been found guilty of corruption Chris Bryant took to Twitter:

But what’s this Early Day Motion from 2004?

“That this House celebrates the 100th anniversary of the Entente Cordiale; notes that, notwithstanding mutal stereotypes of haughty Brits and arrogant Frenchmen, relations between France and the UK have strengthened dramatically in the intervening century; further notes that many Britons enjoy holidays and have holiday homes in France and that three million French tourists visit the UK every year, spending £694 million; welcomes the visit of President Chirac on 18th November; and wishes him bon voyage.”

The proposer was none other than Chris Bryant…

Via @chadnoble

Helping "Squeezed Middle" Families French-Style

We think of France as far more socialist than Britain yet French middle class families are far better off than their British equivalents in after-tax terms, despite higher basic rates. French taxpayers get an allowance of up to €2,300 per child under 7 years of age called les frais de garde d’enfants towards the costs of child care outside of the home, a small tax rebate called les frais de scolarité for each child in education and up to €6,000 rebated for l’emploi d’un salarie a domicile covering a house-keeper or nanny. In addition there is the quotient familial to minimise the impact of higher rates of taxation on families with children, it actually increases your tax allowance as you have more children. All these fiscal incentives encourage the French tax-paying middle classes to have kids.

The think-tank research out this morning showing that Britain is the worst country in Europe for taxpayers to have kids is only the half of it. In Britain we incentivise those who can’t afford to have children to have kids by paying them more welfare benefits and upgrading their state housing. This has created a multi-generational underclass who vote Labour to keep their benefits. Anyone would think it was Gordon’s deliberate plan…

Explain this One to Michelle

What is the Excuse this Time?So the explanation for staring at the Brazilian girl’s ass was that he was moving out of her way.  Sure he was.  So now explain his point of view in relation to this French derriere

Michelle might buy it once, but twice?  It is clear to every guy what these two presidents have been comparing during the photo line-up.

Via : Englishman’s Castle

Clegg Breaks Ranks on Nuclear Options

Nick Clegg has broken ranks with the political establishment on Trident, telling Nick Robinson “We have to be realistic and candid about what we can and can’t afford as a nation”.

Nuclear CleggDuring the Cold War the logic of Trident and other nuclear missile systems was compelling, now the threat is from terrorists and rogue states the case for Trident is nowhere near as strong.  The Russian nuclear arsenal is much reduced from the Soviet era, so any future threat response imaginable need not be made to meet an over-whelming massive multiple warhead nuclear attack from a hostile superpower.

Yet the Tory and Labour party establishments remain committed to the U.S. supplied Trident system.  The £100 billion price tag for a system that isn’t really independent is too much in these circumstances.  Britain needs a much reduced smaller bespoke system along the lines of the French force de frappe.  Something more akin to smart missiles which can be launched from air, land or sea.

Nick Clegg has asked Ming to review the LibDem approach to strategic defence.  The military top brass will always demand expensive new toys, just as trade union leaders always demand pay rises.  The Tories are also reviewing defence matters.  £100 billion is a lot of money to pay for the wrong insurance policy.

France Cuts Tax on Booze to Boost Economy

Guido is looking forward to summering at the Maison Secondaire even more this year. France has just cut booze and restaurant sales tax from 19.6% to to 5.5%. Booze taxes are already reasonable in France, this makes going out even more reasonable.  A three course meal in the best restaurant in the town near Chez Fawkes costs about the same as a starter in London or Dublin.  We all have to do our bit to boost international trade…

Post-Nataly Fabulous

Does the French Justice Minister Rachida Dati look like she is just returning to work this week a mere five days after giving birth to a baby girl?

In a chic black suit and killer high heels, the 40something minister was at a cabinet meeting at the Elysee the day that she walked out of a Paris maternity clinic.

Not sure this is all necessarily for the best, but all credit to her for looking post-nataly fabulous.

Le Totty Watch : Socialist Affairs

The French press is even more craven in the reporting of political misdoings than our own tame/feral* Lobby. So it is no surprise that it was the French blogosphere, not the Paris press, that made it impossible to keep Socialist party leader François Hollande’s affair secret.

François had four children with Ségolène Royal (pictured left), the losing French Socialist Presidential candidate. He is having an affair with TV8’s political reporter, Valerie Trierweiler (pictured right). When announcing their split the elegant Ségolène said that now “he was free to enjoy his romantic life alone”.

France has strict privacy laws of the kind that some of our politicians would love to have over here. Blogs now make those laws almost impossible to enforce. Technological progress.

Hat-tip : EuroSoc

*You choose.

No Independent Deterrent MeansNo Independent Foreign Policy

As the Tories traipse loyally into the “Aye” lobby with Blair it is worth reflecting on what they are really voting for – a foreign and defence policy subordinate to the U.S. national interest. Now it may be the case that U.S. and U.K. interests generally coincide, but this is a strategic decision which binds Britain to the U.S. for the next thirty years.
If it has been possible for the French to have an independent Force de Frappe and Force Océanique Stratégique since the sixties surely the British can manage after half-a-century to have control of their own weapons system. Since no U.S. president would ever sacrifice a U.S. city to save London, it is verging on treachery to vote to allow the U.S. the ultimate veto on the Defence of the Realm.

For the £30 to £60 billion the replacement system will allegedly cost, surely the Royal Navy could be equipped with a British made and truly independent deterrent. Or is British technology as inferior to French technologie as the British political establishment’s deference to U.S. interests is inferior to the French sense of exceptional national interest?



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Quote of the Day

Shadow Education Secretary Angela Rayner:

“We have no plans to write off existing student debt.”

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