Two nations sharing one ship


I LOVE France and I love the French, though it has to be said that sometimes there’s a gap as wide as the channel between Anglo-Saxon and Gallic mindsets. News footage from France shows what seems like mostly student youth protesting about the proposed rise in the French retirement age from 60 to 62.

Hardly drastic for us Brits who are now looking at 67, but you have to admire the forward thinking youth of France. Already planning for their retirement.



Secret sources state the whole of Europe was shocked today by the breaking news that on Tuesday next week, the French might be going to work. Though it’s an unofficial work day, and will last just 24 hours.

The only things moving in French air space at the moment are some of those little red balloons that the demonstrators all carry to show their solidarity with balloon manufacturers everywhere.

Meanwhile, a puzzled Europe looks on whilst Unions increase their demands to lower French retirement age to twenty three. Though there could be an error in the translation, as we don’t speak good French..

EWN secret sources have had sight of the French Union’s latest minutes which roughly translate as  “We don’t want to work. We want more holidays. The Germans can fund our pensions” and “is it lunch time yet?” When asked if they were serious a Union representative Jean-Pierre said “Do you have any wine on you?”

While in Germany, where the retirement age is sixty seven, a puzzled eighty million Germans are seriously concerned about the sanity of their neighbours. The whole of France is on strike. Fuel deliveries have been stopped, along with air traffic control and ferries, and hospitals and schools closed. Only the usual emergency services of cafe-bars, restaurants, boulangerie and patisserie remain open.

Now it seems we might be sharing an aircraft carrier with our workshy neighbours. Embarrassingly, we can’t afford our own. The logistics seem more than complicated. Though here’s a thought. Maybe we get to use it Mondays to Wednesdays, and the French sail it till Friday, and we can alternate every other weekend. That seems fair.

We should try for some lease hire agreement like with fleet cars. Pay some up front and so on. There’s a recession on, there’s bound to be some good deals in the aircraft carrier market. But it all begs the question do we really need an aircraft carrier, or even some ill thought out timeshare arrangement for one?

Now it is said we haven’t even got money to buy the plane’s to put on the carrier, and so we’ll be using helicopters instead. It’s all a bit of a dog’s dinner.  Can’t we look at some other models first before committing to sharing?  Surely the Chinese can make us one at a decent price.

The situation is this. We need something; the French happen to have what we need, and conveniently they’re right next door. These days we ask to “share”. In the past the word that pops to mind would have been “invade?”… Now there’s  an idea. Do what we did best. The Empire and all that.

We have no carrier or planes but we are still an ingenious race. The Royal Navy still has plenty of row boats. We could row very fast across the channel and take the French completely off guard. They’re too busy manning the barricades and having tyre burning competitions to notice. And we could be back in Dover with some brand new boats before the pubs shut.

The reality is Britain is a small island nation off the coast of Europe. We have long punched above our weight but the new political reality dictates that we accept our reduced role in the world and not aspire to a status long vanished, along with the Empire, stilted accents and black and white television. Let our neighbours keep their carrier.

It’s surely an arrangement made in Hell. And let’s upgrade our row boats or make sure our front line troops have equipment that works. Not squander resources in an ill conceived plan based on delusions of past grandeur and not today’s needs.



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