Brest Is Best

In 1795 there wasn’t a lot for Vicars to do. So much so that the good English Reverand Samuell Henshall spent his days inventing things. No, he didn’t simply write The Bible. He patented the first Corkscrew and consequently continued the great Alcoholic Christian Traditions of the Blue Nun (dirty girl!) and Friar Tuck.

Now I know this may not seem all that impressive. And I digress – I would like to think that the 18th Century me would have thought of something like the Internet before I thought of the corkscrew.

But nonetheless this was a big deal. Not least when you consider it implies that for the best part of time itself, man had never managed to open a Bottle of Wine. Presumably this is why there is so much Vintage Wine lying about in the dusty cellars of those who can trace their family history to the Normans.

Imagine being related to Norman Wisdom?

But this also tells us a lot about the French. The French apparently invented Wine. So how had they managed to drink it for the past lifetimes?

So it would be easy from this point to highlight the French’s Shortcomings. But I’m actually going to praise them.

The weekend just gone saw the first round of the French Presidential Elections. There was an 80% Voter Turnout. That’s almost double on the British Equivalent; the French are so un-apathetic.

Equally they shun nothingness with their Politics. In the UK our two choices are beige and beige, centre left or centre right. There would be no real difference if Labour were in power today over the Tories; things would still be grim but in a nicer way perhaps.

In France, the Front National (loosely translated as the ‘National Front’) picked up 18% of the vote. Now fair enough that’s a shocking and damning indictment on their society’s attitudes; but at least they had the guts to actually vote this way. Although knowing the French, Marine Le Pen’s face may have been a factor.

Marine Le Pen's Face.

Ironically the Socialist Party took most of the Vote (28.6%), placing them in pole position. So we may well see a reasonably left-wing government in place soon – Fingers Crossed (which makes this very hard to type actually).

And perhaps even more reassuringly was the rejection of Sarkozy’s politic. Never before has an incumbent French President lost this first round of voting. So there is hope of making the Tories history in 3 years time.

And the French are always doing this sort of thing; think about how often you see or hear of a nonchalant Eurostar employee striking or see a Haulage driver with his trademark Gallic shrug. They always have an opinion; always have an analysis. And even if you seldom agree with their informed opinions then you must agree it is admirable to witness.

There is an innate revolutionary purpose to every Frenchman. Gainsbourg, Cantona and whoever started the French Revolution. They dwell 23 miles away but they our French friends are so so different from us. We are overwhelmed by Indifference and the promise of an early bed. We could certainly learn from them.

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