old salut!

Colin Randall wrote here on France, things Anglo-French and more......but has moved

February 09, 2007

No offence (2)

This site has now moved to Salut!

The response to my posting about the Mohammed cartoons, and the preposterous trial their publication prompted in Paris, has been a disappointment.

Islam will dominate
Picture (and caption): El Marco.



This is not to say that I mind a serious topic being hijacked in the comments section for a spot of backbiting between feuding readers.

You do not actually have to wade through much of that to find some perfectly sensible and thought-provoking opinions and assertions posted here over the past 18/24 hours.

It just seems a little incomplete to have no one writing in to challenge my basic proposition: namely, that Muslims (and Roman Catholics, and Protestants and so on) have no right to demand the suppression of words and images about them or Islam (or other groups of believers, or their faiths) unless criminal incitement is involved.

The advantage of blogging for the Telegraph was that a big newspaper site was always likely to attract readers of all types.

Salut! has highly respectable levels of readership - well over 700 visits yesterday alone - and it boasts comment statistics most Telegraph bloggers can but dream of.

But it would benefit from some diversification among the ranks of readers willing to step forward, identified or otherwise, to let off steam.

With comments in response to No offence nudging 50 as I write, the nearest we have had to a Muslim point of view opposing my argument was the following, signed by an anonymous contributor:


As the comments seem to be a private conversation, (I) am a little wary of pointing out that the reason Muslims are offended by the cartoons, is not that they are terrorists, but that Islam proscribes pictorial representations of Mohammed, Xtianity on the other hand is full of icons, false or otherwise.


That comment could have been posted by a Muslim, though my guess is that it was not.

The obvious reply, incidentally, is that Muslims are fully entitled to expect one another to observe the rules of their faith, whether on pictorial representation of Mohammed or anything else.

They are not entitled to require others, outside their faith, to do likewise. That is where the trouble tends to start; many, many Muslims - and whoever said France has four or five million is almost certainly underestimating the true figure - do see Islam as so superior that it will one day rule the world whether the world likes it or not.

And that view is by no means restricted to extremists.

As for the quality of debate inspired by my blog, that is a matter I am perfectly happy to leave to you. My policy on censorship was established very early.

Only when a comment gives me serious cause for legal or other concerns will I step in. It has happened on perhaps three or four occasions, once or twice when I put on my media lawyer's hat, and otherwise when remarks about my former employers - and believe me, my own powers of self-restraint have been sorely tested - went too far.

* And for those who missed my update, the prosecutor in the Paris trial made the commonsense decision to urge the court to dismiss the charges.

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This site has now moved to Salut!

70 Comments:

At February 09, 2007 1:35 PM, Blogger SH said...

Your readers, CR, are obviously not PC enough to feel that your basic premise is anything other than correct and self-evident. There have been cases in Britain recently of religious groups protesting against plays they found offensive, for example the Jerry Springer opera and the play set in a Sikh temple about paedophilia. But these attempts to stop people making up their own minds failed.

The article in today's Times which I mentioned earlier bears out the belief that there are Muslims in Britain, and perhaps also in France, who are working to make Britain a Muslim country whether we like it or not. As you say they are convinced of their own superiority, and the rest of their community are complicit, at this moment.

So sorry, I can't argue against you. I can join you in cheering both the Muslim scholar and the lawyer for the prosecution.

 
At February 09, 2007 2:34 PM, Blogger anne gilbert said...

If Colin Randall seems a little vexed,then he is in good company.

1) I read the comment from Anonymous,signed "J" and I did take it seriously.But it appeared so poorly written that it was impossible to take it up.
If someone else is able to rewrite it,could we have some input please.

2)The 700 visits claimed by CR are interesting.Ok.This time I'll say I'll believe him.
And why are there not more commentors?
Colin Randall seems to think he is receiving the "quality" readership he had at the Telegraph.I think not.

3)The quality of debate,as left to the commentors discretion is not good policy.
We have read vulgar language,skewed points of view and generally catty chit chat.
And verse and worse.

What this blog needs is infusion of responsible dialogue.
So out with the old and in with the new (commentors).

I've done my best here and still have my sense of humour.Carry on.


Anne

 
At February 09, 2007 2:52 PM, Blogger ColinB said...

I nominate "No Offence(2)" as Colin Randall's worst post of all time. Nuff said.

 
At February 09, 2007 3:12 PM, Blogger Colin Randall said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At February 09, 2007 3:13 PM, Blogger Colin Randall said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At February 09, 2007 3:18 PM, Blogger Colin Randall said...

Well, that's a start, Colin. But so awful that you couldn't bring yourself to say why?

And two false starts by me......

On numbers, it is not necessary to choose whether to "believe" me, Anne. I have no choice but to rely on the accuracy of Stat Counter reports, and they tell me that there were 729 "hits" yesterday. For all I know, that may have included 700 shared between the same four or five people - but in fact, the number of comments a post attracts is an imperfect guide to its impact or readership, as the internal league tables at the Telegraph always showed.
I installed Stat Counter on Dec 21 and it has never fallen below 100 for a single day.
Weekends are always slow, usually between 180 and 300 a day. Up to now, the blog's peak is 733, reached on Jan 17 for some reason (when I did little more than announce the launch of Salut! Sunderland), clocking up 713 the next day when I offered the fascinating news that I had the removal men in and was a bit tied up. So what it means is open to debate

 
At February 09, 2007 3:19 PM, Blogger Bill Taylor said...

Plastic Jesus, plastic Jesus,
Riding on the dashboard of my car.
I'm afraid He'll have to go,
His magnets ruin my radio,
And if I have a wreck, he'll leave a scar.
No, this isn't an Anne Gilbert tribute post; it's from an old song performed by an obscure country singer named Ernie Marrs. It's quite funny -- worth Googling for the rest of the lyrics.
As I recall, it outraged a great many fundamendalist Christians, one or two of whom might even have issued (but not followed through on) death threats. The point is, one man's graven image is another man's holy icon is another man's joke-fodder and the only way to stay out of a constant round of holy wars is to live and let live.
But that's not how organized religions operate. My views on that, however, don't need repeating. I just wish there were more people like Kinky Friedman, who is Texan and Jewish, one of whose best-known songs is, "They ain't makin' Jews like Jesus any more..."

 
At February 09, 2007 4:06 PM, Blogger ColinB said...

Yes Colin, it's that awful. I'm now going back to a fog of plaster dust on my 18th century stairwell, which is infinitely preferable to your "No Offence(2)".

 
At February 09, 2007 6:15 PM, Blogger richard of orléans said...

Being irreverent and irreligious of nature I delight in satire. Its ability to expose the self important is precious. I see nobody in France going to prison for drawing a few cartoons of Mohammed and I don’t take the case very seriously. We are here between, on the one side somebody who lacks a sense of humour, and the other somebody who is deliberately stirring up trouble.They probably both deserve to rot in hell, were that place to exist.

In the case of the Muslims it is stupid to judge them by our Continental European standards. We have been through no end of bigotry and stupidity over religion before arriving at today’s sensible compromise. It is intolerant to point the finger at others who have not fully resolved the underlying issues and arrived at a post modern society.They need assistance and time rather than pointless jibes. After all the Anglo Saxons aren’t there yet.

 
At February 09, 2007 6:28 PM, Blogger Roger said...

A regular complaint I hear expressed in the media, at least here in France (maybe it’s the same back in the UK), is that Moslems place their faith above the rule of law, and everyone nods sagely in agreement.

But what if one changes the context slightly? Should the citizens of Vichy France have followed their leaders and acquiesced in the deportation of Jews or should they have obeyed a higher moral code? Is government law never to be questioned?

I’m a pretty typical 21st century Christian, more likely to be found in Church for a wedding or a funeral than spiritual guidance, but even so I sometimes feel that here in France the ‘State’ has become the new God, ‘laïcité’ its religion, fonctionnaires its clerics and the Grandes Ecoles its monasteries. Those who fail to bend their knee to the wisdom of the Republic, well we, we are the heretics.

 
At February 09, 2007 6:34 PM, Blogger Roger said...

Richard,

Sorry, just had to ask, but when you say:

"We are here between, on the one side somebody who lacks a sense of humour, and the other somebody who is deliberately stirring up trouble.They probably both deserve to rot in hell,"

was that a comment on the legal case or a comment on these comments, as in either case - I agree.

 
At February 09, 2007 6:42 PM, Blogger Bill Taylor said...

Herd mentality being what it is, most people will instinctively seek out the strongest leader, be he religious or political, and follow him. There are various American sects, from polygamists to survivalists, who put themselves above the law. And in the more fundamentalist Middle-Eastern countries, traditional law has always been faith-based, hence the backlash in, say, Iran or Afghanistan, against political law and so-called democracy.

 
At February 09, 2007 7:00 PM, Blogger richard of orléans said...

Roger I was thinking of you for a lack of humour and Colinb for a stirrer.

I don’t believe in religion but I do believe in the Ten Commandments. When the Anglo Saxons kill Saddam et al I am appalled and feel that the citizens of the USA and UK should stand up and be counted. Each individual should have their moral code and not tolerate immoral behaviour by their government. Indeed I would like to see France break off diplomatic relations with these two countries.

In France we have a very active democracy at all levels, so we feel that the government takes our opinions in to account. That is why the people tend to acquiesce with the Republique. If we don’t, on the streets we go.

 
At February 09, 2007 7:06 PM, Blogger Louise said...

To my mind pictorial representation of Mohammad is an Islamic rule/guide made for the Muslims.

These cartoons made have been in bad taste and found to be offensive, but I don't think they were against Muslims in general - just the fanatics, and we have seen a lot of fanaticism in Europe over the last few years...

The court case should be booted out immediately, before becoming yet another excuse to riot.

 
At February 09, 2007 7:14 PM, Blogger Bill Taylor said...

As Baudelaire put it: "What is exhilarating in bad taste is the aristocratic pleasure of giving offence."
Bad taste is in the eye (or ear or whatever) of the beholder. Fanatics, of whatever stripe, are always the fastest to take offence and utterly convinced that they, and only they, are in the right. We've seen ample evidence of that on these blogs.

 
At February 09, 2007 7:29 PM, Blogger Roger said...

Richard, Thank you for the clarification.

 
At February 09, 2007 7:33 PM, Blogger Louise said...

Taking you up on your remark about only having your 'regulars' who post, Colin - you also have many anonymous posters who could be one and the same or many different people. I don't think the regulars could have zapped your posting more than 700 times yesterday (or otherwise there are some VERY sad people around), so you obviously have many readers.

Unless you are very much into this counting game, why not run your blog for a week and not allow anonymous postings - you will either have lots of new names or your numbers will drop significantly.

As I said the other day, we all need to add to our links - the dozen or so blogs that I read regularly always send me back to the same people (I too am guilty). If each of the regulars during the coming week took an hour to find 5 new blogs I'm certain you/we would get a lot of fresh blood on our blogs!

 
At February 09, 2007 7:50 PM, Blogger anonyhamster said...

Je m'excuse, mais il m'embête tellement, ce type qui se nomme Richard d'Orléans, que j'écris en français. Une traduction suit.

Bon, il est venu en France, il a trouvé un emploi, il gagne son argent en France et il le dépense en France. Il n'est pas le seul, peut-être? D'autres citoyens britanniques viennent en France avec de l'argent dans leur poche, pour s'acheter des maisons, des meubles, de l'alimentation français. Cest à dire, ils apportent de l'argent en France. Comme m'a dit une copine de Limoges: "Le limousin est plein d'anglais. C'est merveilleux. Les villages renaissent."

Mais ça ne plaît pas à cet imbécile d'Orléans. Donc il vomit son vénin sur tout ce qui est "anglo saxon" et chaque fois qu'il ouvre la bouche, c'est la France qu'il insulte. La France est un pays magnifique que j'aime, mais ce n'est pas en crachant sur d'autres pays, et surtout pas le sien, qu'on fait la gloire de la France. Ce n'est ni en tordant les paroles des autres ni en fermant les yeux sur les faits qu'on aide la France, d'autant moins en mentant carrément.

Tu n'es pas français, tu ne représente pas la France, alors garde ton poison pour toi-même.

Sorry, but this character who styles himself Richard of Orléans annoys me so much, I got it off my chest in French. Translation:

OK, he came to France, found a job, earns his money in France and spends it there. Does he think he's the only one? Other British people come to France with money in their pocket to buy houses, furniture, food. In other words they bring money into France. As a friend from Limoges said," The Limousin (area round Limoges) is full of English people. It's great. The villages are being reborn."

But this imbecile from Orleans doesn't like this. So he spews his poison on everything "anglo saxon" and every time he opens his mouth, he insults France. France is a wonderful country which I love, but spitting on other countries and especially one's own, does not add to the glory of France. Nor is it by twisting other peoples' words nor closing one's eyes to the facts that one helps France, even less by actually lying.

You are not French, you do not represent France, so keep your poison to yourself.

 
At February 09, 2007 7:55 PM, Blogger Bill Taylor said...

Well, THERE's a vote for freedom of speech.
Louise, you're castigating yourself for only regularly reading "a dozen or so" blogs? Wow! I can barely find the time to keep up with three.

 
At February 09, 2007 8:02 PM, Blogger Louise said...

I don't keep up with a dozen all the time, Bill! And I don't post on them all the time ... call it 'reading through the week'.

 
At February 09, 2007 8:04 PM, Blogger Louise said...

Eh, bien, Anonyhamster! Vous avez gros sur la patate, comme on dit!

 
At February 09, 2007 8:23 PM, Blogger richard of orléans said...

Patata patati. Une tête comme un cornichon.

62 years, too old. Bill they can never adapt to free speech at that age. Stuck in a stifling Anglo Saxon hierarchical system all their lives. No creativity, no independence. Too late.

Ils sont grillés. Should have stayed in his dull grey Victorian semi.

 
At February 09, 2007 8:33 PM, Blogger ColinB said...

As I said, I think it was yesterday, this 62 year old is not Anonyhamster and has adopted no aliases in 2007.

I wish had Anonyhamster's proficiency in French.

 
At February 09, 2007 8:43 PM, Blogger richard of orléans said...

Well until someone else comes forward as Annoyhamster I'll assume it's you. His French is pedestrian like your English

 
At February 09, 2007 9:17 PM, Blogger ColinB said...

What Richard of Orléans choses to assume in that weird fantasy world that passes for a mind is of no interest to me whatsoever - and probably to no one else either, outside of the psychiatric profession.

 
At February 09, 2007 10:15 PM, Blogger richard of orléans said...

Well nobody else came forward. So I guess I'm right.

 
At February 09, 2007 10:23 PM, Blogger anonyhamster said...

No, I am not Colinb; yes, you are an idiot, Richard l'Anglais.

 
At February 09, 2007 10:35 PM, Blogger richard of orléans said...

That was just a touch too transparent Colinb

 
At February 09, 2007 10:55 PM, Blogger ColinB said...

Thanks, Anonyhamster. Something you've said has obviously stuck in the Orléans craw - like the idea that genuine French (such as yourself ?) would view him as a liability and embarrassment.
He can continue to fret for all I care. I shan't waste further time denying I am you, and I suggest you do likewise.

 
At February 09, 2007 11:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How lively.
ColinB throws his fists at opponent (Richard). Then introduces a fake person (Anonyhamster). Beats the fake enough to make it look real. Then ColinB and fake take Richard on.
This tactic has been introduced many times.
A little narsty ?

 
At February 10, 2007 12:34 AM, Blogger ColinB said...

Colin Randall: what can you do to stop your blog becoming a breeding ground for morons and time-wasters ?

 
At February 10, 2007 1:10 AM, Anonymous Tim Sinclair said...

The only way to stop a blog site degenerating into a playground for infantile name-callers is to edit - as newspaper must - the 'Letters to the Editor'.
But it so happens censorship is the very thing being argued against in ColinR's original post.
This is a dilemma to which there is no easy answer - and I think Colin handles it all well. I totally disagree with ColinB dismissive >worst post of all time< comment.

 
At February 10, 2007 3:29 AM, Blogger Bill Taylor said...

Hello, Tim! Nice to see you here. Yeah, Colin has turned into a consummate tightrope-walker. And this particular post has turned into a decent one.
But what of you? You're well and happy? Where are you?

 
At February 10, 2007 8:37 AM, Blogger richard of orléans said...

When they ask why free speech died
Tell them that CB lied.

I am not French
I do not claim to speak for the French.

The referendum for Europe was NON
Amongst many reasons was a general dislike of Anglo Saxon economics and methods. Which I share.

The UK is opposed to the European political union and uses divisive tactics to get their way.
Why should their citizens gain the benefits from this union?

The Anglo Saxon behaviour in Iraq is a disgrace and by association that of France.
I am certainly not going around throwing extremist mud at Muslims when I am part of the 'West' which is behaving in this appalling manner

 
At February 10, 2007 9:11 AM, Blogger richard of orléans said...

The Institue Gustave Roussy (IGR) in Villejuif is the leading hospital for cancer research and treatment in Europe. If you have the misfortune to have cancer you get the World's leading treatment for free. Kylie Minogue was cured there.

Any Frenchman who has expatriated to the UK to avoid the higher taxation of France. eg all our best football players. Should he have the misfortune to get cancer, will no doubt want to return to IGR for his treatment rather than use the NHS. Under the political union of Europe he is at liberty so to do. English people resident in France will quickly catch on to this superb treatment centre and will no longer return to the NHS.
IGR will be swamped with demand (it already is, they offer Italian translation), thanks to the English it will no longer receive sufficient funds and we will no longer have world class treatment for cancer.

 
At February 10, 2007 3:27 PM, Blogger Bill Taylor said...

Richard, I'm reading a book right now that I think you might find worth seeking out: "The Man Who Saved Britain," by Simon Winder, sub-titled "A Personal Journey into the Disturbing World of James Bond."
It's a very trenchant look at Britain's pre-war colonial history and post-war cultural history and the role of Ian Fleming's "magical, parallel world of secret British greatness and glamour" within "the reality of the new British impotence."
It's by no means an unrelenting slam at Britain but Winder has a lot of thought-provoking insights. I'm really enjoying it. I suspect you would, too.

 
At February 10, 2007 3:55 PM, Blogger anne gilbert said...

A thank you to bibliophile Bill for the mention of noteworthy reading.
Have not seen this title yet,but will give it a look on the next bookstore visit.
Not much of a ficton fan myself,I did read 2 outstanding books this winter.

Forgotten Armies, the fall of British Asia 1941-1945
Christopher Bayly and Tim Harper


A Submariners' War
the Indian Ocean 1939-45
Michael Wilson

Anyone else have some shining titles to share?

 
At February 10, 2007 4:10 PM, Anonymous Arnold said...

Yes, it was quite a dismal response Colin. But, remember that there is a lot of fear in speaking out in any way that could be seen as against the Muslim faith and that will drastically reduce the responses that you get on topics of this nature.

I'm not saying that there is any kind of fear of one's Muslim neighbours as such but rather of those extemists that count themselves as Muslim. Their responses tend to be SO extreme that it magnifies this fear out of all proportion.

The issues in Northern Ireland were and are very different in that both sides were come from the same basic concepts of a western civilisation. Hence, ordering a "hit" on a comedian or cartoonist was never going to be on the cards.

Neither did the situation arise of suicide bombers which is a concept coming from a, in practical terms, totally alien civilisation.

I think that you'd be more likely to get e-mails commenting on the various issues surrounding Muslim issues than "here" ie in public.

 
At February 10, 2007 4:24 PM, Blogger anne gilbert said...

Richard,I would have to take you up on your post of the IGR.
Not exactly certain of your main point,but I assume it is a complaint on the NHS.

If the Institute Gustave Roussy is a no fee cancer facility,then why critize the NHS?
If Kylie Minologue was a patient,(and I'm making a big assumption here) that she is of financial means,then what is the Institues' policy on means.
You cannot include French football players in your statement to support the IGR or discredit the NHS as the subject is conjecture.
So what's your point?

 
At February 10, 2007 4:37 PM, Blogger Bill Taylor said...

On the one hand, an avowed interest in military history and a fairly cogent argument about the IGR and NHS; on the other, a fey persona and a taste (calling it a talent is pitching it way too high) for self-consciously bad verse... I'd say someone's mask is beginning to slip. Are you sure your name isn't really Gilbert Anne?

 
At February 10, 2007 4:44 PM, Blogger anne gilbert said...

So Arnold thinks a fear factor is the reason for a lack of comments on ColinR's No Offence(2).
Why?
Go Anonymous.

I'd venture that the readership does not have a point of view in the first place.

 
At February 10, 2007 5:05 PM, Blogger anne gilbert said...

Bill,I enjoy reading and writing.
The blogs on the Telegraph were often stale (to me) and one day I thought of expressing a subject (liquor) in a different context than the contributors'.Give it some flavour,you understand.

It's obvious to me that any post I write is horrid to you.
Never mind them,I don't read yours either.

 
At February 10, 2007 5:21 PM, Blogger anne gilbert said...

PPS to Bill Taylor.

If I read you correctly on the little gender issue:are the poems feminine or masculine?
Are the books femine or masculine?
Understanding that the poems have never seemed to be a gender issue before,I'm assuming the Military history reading is masculine?
In which case did those exhaustive writers only have male readership in mind.
I think not.
But you do.

 
At February 10, 2007 5:26 PM, Anonymous Lacombe Lucien said...

Of course, it was France's brutally-oppressive colonialist misadventures in North Africa that first brought islamic extremist terrorism to Europe.
The Paris metro bombings of 1995 killed at least 8 people I believe(?), and wounded many others.

Not to mention that there probably wouldn't have been a war in Iraq, if France had had the courage to stand up to Saddam Hussein at the UN and join with Britain and the US in forcing him to comply with the appropriate resolutions.
If the West had been united in its condemnation of Iraqi gamesmanship, Saddam Hussein would almost certainly have backed down.

But instead (as usual), France saw the situation as a political opportunity first, and decided to court the appreciation of other corrupt and brutal regimes around the world by posturing at the UN as an opponent of those English-speaking countries which only a few decades previously paid such a heavy price to save it from the ravages of Nazism - in spite of its own efforts at compliance and appeasement of the invading facists.

As long as cowardly French opportunism seeks to divide the West, thus undermining its political resolution for the sake of vanity and short-term political gain, the future of Western values will remain under threat from those who willingly exploit such divisions and flatter France to its face while laughing at it behind its back.

 
At February 10, 2007 6:07 PM, Blogger SH said...

On a lighter note thank you, Bill Taylor, for the Ernie Marrs reference. Very funny.

I think Richard Orleans should make a rapid and full apology to colinb. He has no proof whatsoever that anonyhamster and colinb are the same person and it is disgraceful to have someone who has himself never let facts stand in the way of his own prejudices make such an accusation. I think Richard of Orleans is completely wrong. I feel anonyhamster is a less courteous person than colinb, as well as someone who, when anoyed, expresses him/herself in French. The accusation of lying is then followed by two rants which just seem to underline what anonyhamster is saying. Richard can write a good blog (I remember one at least) when he does not let his feelings mess up his mind. But when he says that if "we" don't like something the French government does "we" take to the streets, it makes one wonder. And last night's charade of "If no one confesses to being anonyhamster,we'll shoot the nearest person" has rather uncomfortable echoes. Isn't that so, Lacombe Lucien?

I realise that I can now expect a torrent of anti-Scottish abuse and the accusation that I am anonyhamster. OK, fine, it's my turn today! And as someone once said "Against stupidity the gods themselves fight in vain."

 
At February 10, 2007 6:35 PM, Blogger anne gilbert said...

Dear little Hippo has ears to the ground.
Thought he heard sounds ,of Richard being called to come 'round.
Will he, will he, come back to the patch.
If it takes all night,Hippo will hold the match.
In mind and body,heart and soul.
He'll wait forever to give his hand to hold.

 
At February 10, 2007 8:44 PM, Blogger Bill Taylor said...

Crash-dive!

 
At February 10, 2007 8:54 PM, Blogger Bill Taylor said...

Crash dive!

 
At February 10, 2007 11:41 PM, Blogger richard of orleans said...

At least we begin to know all Colinb’s(the false nose) aliases. Anoyhamster, (the false rodent) Lucien Lacombe (the false frog) SH (the false jock).

Bill thanks for the suggestion on the book. Sounds interesting.

Anne, the IGR point. Europe is a political union which is becoming more and more closely integrated. It means that we have a common currency, no more internal border controls, common laws, common external tariffs etc. etc. Just like Canada say. Britain although it has joined the union, does not respect the spirit of it. In fact they are against and endlessly try to sabotage it.

One advantage is free movement of people. If a Frenchman moves from France to Belgium he gets all the health and benefits on day one as if he were a Belgian. If you are ill on holiday, when in a member country you get the benefits of the country where you are.

Let’s say for arguments sake that you live in France, pay low taxes and have low care. Whereas Belgium has high taxes and a high level of care. Obviously you will pop over to Belgian for health care while paying low taxes in France. This would be fundamentally unfair.

The only way to tackle this problem is to harmonise taxes, which Britain refuses to do. So they pinch our high tax paying footballers and bankers with sweet deals on taxes and send us their halt and lame.

This is what 300,000 English pensioners have figured out. When you get old you need better state care. So having paid low taxes all their life, they sell up their house and come to France to sponge off the French system. They even fly over with Ryanair for a quickie.

France has a better 5 year survival rate for cancer than Britain. It is because we have invested in facilities like IGR.(The Kylie Minogue example is to show that people who have endless funds choose to go to a hospital that a Frenchman can use free of charge, because it’s the best. Not being a member of the European Union she would have had to pay) If we allow our health care system to become clogged up with Brits and with Frenchmen living in London but who refuse to use the NHS, then we will no longer have the superb care to which we have become accustomed.

Either the Brits accept the rules or they should leave.

 
At February 11, 2007 3:01 AM, Anonymous Tim Sinclair said...

Hi Bill T…yes happy and well, entertained by this blog and others. After stints in Bradford and Port Moresby, ended back up in Darlington before taking early retirement. And you, after going ‘Stateside’?

 
At February 11, 2007 5:21 AM, Blogger Bill Taylor said...

Port Moresby -- wow! And early retirement, what a luxury. What are you doing with it? Me? Eight years Stateside and then Toronto; best thing we ever did, both Canadian citizens now and both at the Toronto Star. I'm writing features, Lesley's in management. I always say she's got the career, I've got a job. Best one on the paper, though; very much of a free rein, 90% self-assigning and a fair amount of travel. I stay in touch with Mike Amos who seems to go from strength to strength; I think the guy's immortal. As, of course, is Colin. Indestructible. This blog of his can be an interesting intellectual exercise (with a wide range of intellects, plus and minus), not to be taken too seriously. One or two of them wind up like clockwork and take themselves very seriously indeed.

 
At February 11, 2007 8:40 AM, Anonymous Arnold said...

Anne: Even anonymous options reduce the number of comments on such topics considerably.

For many years there was considerable comment in private against the violence in Northern Ireland but much less even in anonymous public contexts. Also, on a forum like this "anonymous" rarely is: it's often possible to trace the source of such comments.

 
At February 11, 2007 8:58 AM, Blogger richard of orleans said...

Intox. Muslim violence is the most talked about subject in the world.


Interesting article in today's Times about how a journalist, prewar, talked about everything in Iraq except the normal life of the citizens. Doesn't want to make the same mistake in Iran, which is being lined up for the next hit.

Also article about the 'British Liar State'. Government gives a bunch of information about alleged terrorists which should have been sub judice and may be false.

I meet and see Muslims day in day out. No violence no agression, no threats, normal citizens.

 
At February 11, 2007 11:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Salut Anne,

Don't normally 'flame', but..

[1) I read the comment from Anonymous,signed "J" and I did take it seriously.But it appeared so poorly written that it was impossible to take it up.
If someone else is able to rewrite it,could we have some input please.]
Apologies that my style is not to your taste.

[And why are there not more commentors?]
Because, although the blog is good, the comments seem to be forever taken up with puerile personal attacks.(Veuillez bien me pardonner l'hypocrisie.)

[3)The quality of debate,as left to the commentors discretion is not good policy.
We have read ... catty chit chat.]
Demanding that someone rewrites another person's comment to render it more palatable to your taste isn't catty?

[What this blog needs is infusion of responsible dialogue.
So out with the old and in with the new (commentors).]
What impetus is there for new comments, if they get shot as soon as they raise their head above the parapet.

Flame over, now for opinion - despite and because of yesterday's comment, which I was surprised to find highlighted, I do not believe in censorship, or banning anything, bar hard porn or paedophilia. No one person, or religion should have the right to impose their judgement on anyone else. However, we as 'western imperialist dogs' have quite a history re imposing our beliefs on other cultures - my Mum was a missionary before my arrival. To the dismay of many, we have become a very tolerant culture, rightly IM not so HO. During our Dark Ages, the Muslim world was the seat of learning and enlightenment. Religions, like empires seem to wax and wane. We seem to be in a transitional phase at the present time. However, (our?) 'live and let live' outlook needs to be defended, preferably by example. When in Rome and all that.
J

 
At February 11, 2007 12:14 PM, Blogger anne gilbert said...

J. If you read "catty" into my comments,then it's obvious why I could not read your post.
All that was asked was a simple re-write.
Could you re-write it for me?

 
At February 11, 2007 12:17 PM, Blogger anne gilbert said...

Arnold,thanks for writing. What do you mean that anonymous can be traced?

 
At February 11, 2007 12:26 PM, Blogger anne gilbert said...

Knock.Knock. (on the woodshed door)
Good reply on the health care topic.With all the languages about in the EEC I'd be cautious with a system that professionals cannot understand each other.

I did like your potato sack collection of alias',but one was overlooked.
That being the author of "the anne gilbert fan club".
My mind is made up on identity.
What about you?

 
At February 11, 2007 12:37 PM, Blogger richard of orleans said...

Anne Good morning. Yes you're right about the Anne Gilbert fan club. There are others too. I have my suspicions about Arthur.

But if I understand the rigorous intellectual argument of 'J' "However, (our?) 'live and let live' outlook needs to be defended"

He feels his first act of defense is to get rid of us 'the old' who shoot over the parapet. So we should maybe retire gracefully.

 
At February 11, 2007 2:35 PM, Blogger anne gilbert said...

Dear little Hippo is thinking of retirement plans.
In the space of this world are so many lands.
Where could he go and who could he be with?
A place and a person to honour his gifts.
He knows of a spot so far away.
But is certain his life will be fun and play.
So into the ocean,cold ,rough and dark.
His lifejacket of pickles to give him a spark.
The Atlantic ocean will become warm and light blue.
When he's reached his island,he'll wave to you.

 
At February 11, 2007 7:41 PM, Blogger Bill Taylor said...

As I said -- twice (accidentally): Crash dive!

 
At February 11, 2007 7:51 PM, Blogger richard of orleans said...

I'm not sure if Hippo has retired. I suspect he is in a sulk.


Dear little Hippo has sulking glands
In the space of this world not many fans

I have a Corbiéres and a Vouvray on the go tonight.

 
At February 11, 2007 10:48 PM, Blogger Bill Taylor said...

Corbiéres is another favourite of mine. We were out for dinner last night and had Sancere and a really good Gigondas.

 
At February 11, 2007 11:16 PM, Blogger richard of orleans said...

All our good wines going to North America!!!
Sancerre is excellent when good, but for me it has become too fashionable and expensive with some of it not up to scratch. Menetou Salon, Quincy, Reuilly are all excellent alternatives but are almost as pricey. I have fallen back on good Touraine sauvignon wine. It's almost as good as ordinary Sancerre and less than half the price. But again selection is important, there are an enormous number of small producers.Of course when you have a special occasion and a good caviste go for Sancerre.

I don't drink much Rhône wine (it's like another country for us) and the heavier reds are not terribly popular. I suspect they export a lot because the Syrah/Shiraz wines have become popular in the Anglo Saxon world. But I have been promising myself to make a bit more effort to get to know them.I still have an amazing amount of work to do in the oenological field.

 
At February 11, 2007 11:22 PM, Blogger anonyhamster said...

For the benefit of those it doesn't really concern, I'm not a "false" Anonyhamster, whatever that is. I'm female and like hamsters have sharp teeth and a nasty disposition. I don't suffer fools and have no connection with any other contributors to this blog, either living or brain-dead.

 
At February 11, 2007 11:53 PM, Blogger Bill Taylor said...

Sancerre can be expensive here but it's possible to find it at a reasonable price. I'm fond of it, though I drink far more red wine than white and most of my favourite whites are German.
I've spent enough time in the Rhône-Alpes region to get a real taste for some of their wines. I love Cote-Rotie, except for the price here, which is generally vicious. There's a wonderfully fragrant white, the name of which has gone out of my head momentarily. It's not easy to find here and again not cheap. But a rare treat.

 
At February 11, 2007 11:58 PM, Blogger Bill Taylor said...

Condrieu! That's the white I was trying to think of. It's not a wine I'd want to drink every day but it's lovely once in a while.

 
At February 12, 2007 1:46 AM, Blogger Bill Taylor said...

For Richard: Post-dinner report -- the St. Nic de Bourgueil, a 2005 Frederic Mabileau, isn't as good as the '03 but not bad at all, especially at the price, and went well with some good Quebec cheeses. I'll definitely buy another half-dozen.

 
At February 12, 2007 1:58 PM, Blogger richard of orleans said...

Put the Saint Nic in your cellar for a month or two. (away from those extremes of temperature that you have). It will improve.

How much do you pay for a reasonable Sancerre? We pay 8 to 10 euros.

 
At February 12, 2007 3:19 PM, Blogger Bill Taylor said...

My basement is quite cool all year round so I shall do that. A reasonable Sancerre here would be $20-$22, say 12 to 15 euros.

 
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