I will wipe you off le radar
The Major was round at 8.30 this morning, steam blowing from all orifices.
"Have you seen this?! Another slimey little Frog threatening us with national extinction!" His Daily Telegraph was crumpled and torn - it looked like he'd already used it to strike out at someone.
"Just listen to this." With some difficulty he uncrumpled the page and began reading. 'Pathetic and autistic... castrated... Britain will disappear from the radar'... Disappear from the radar!" He looked up, his face flushed an alarming shade of purple. "I tell you, it's just as well we've still got our nukes!"
Before I could respond, he was off again. "It's this bit that really gets my goat. This little Napoleon says we should obey his orders because otherwise we'll be powerless in the world. Listen - 'It is a time of tumultuous waters all around us. Wars, terrorism, proliferation, Afghanistan, energy with Russia, massive immigration, economic crisis. It is time when the destiny of Europe is being defined – whether or not we will exist as a third of the world's GDP capable of fighting it out on climate, on trade, on every Goddamn issue on the surface of the Earth."
He looked up again. "Well, what do you think of that?! How dare he! I mean, forgive me if I'm wrong, but the EU has done absolutely bugger all of any use in any of those areas. When it comes to wars and terrorism, it's us and the yanks - always is - our so-called European partners are pretty well nowhere to be seen. The EU are incapable of gripping any of the real problems in the outside world - like Iran's nukes. Instead they employ thousands of bureaucrats with the sole aim of making our lives here an utter misery - like with all their sausage regulations and the dustbin police. And don't get me started on immigration! Go on! Just tell me - what have they ever done for us?"
I pondered for a moment. "Well, Major, in all fairness, there's loads of stuff. Like, for example... well... umm... there's the EU passport - much handier than our old fashioned big passports." The Major choked. "Well, OK... ahh... ummm... there has to be something... the Eurovision Song Contest?"
The old ones are always the best, and Monsieur Lellouche's (great name) extraordinary outburst on British shortcomings is in the mainstream tradition of Louis XIV, Napoleon, and Le General. But he made one point we really can't let pass without correction.
As well as his highly offensive references to autism and castration, he told the Grun:
"If we get a [British] government that is ferociously anti European that will vote down this kind of legislation then I think the relationship is going to be very difficult. As we enter the next phase one of the issues we have to discuss midterm is of course finances. France is a net contributor to the tune of €5bn a year, of which €1.5bn is the same as British rebate. That should tell you quite a bit huh?"
We presume he's threatening us with the loss of Mrs T's rebate. Except - as BOM readers will vividly recall - we already lost most of that back in 2005, when Tone gave away the shop during his previous stint as EU President.
The facts are that even before the loss of the rebate, were were already the second largest net contributor to the EU budget after Germany. France - which has always had an outstandingly good deal - was fourth after the Dutch. Here are the figures for 2007 (in Euros):
And our contributions are now set to increase substantially. According to HMT's latest forecast, our net contribution next year will be £6.5bn - call it 7bn in Euros.
As we've noted before, budgetwise, UK withdrawal would hurt them a lot more than it would hurt us.
M. Louche might want to reflect on that as he nibbles his Camembert.