Sunday, October 28, 2007
I was in Dunkirk - I said I would return after that previous unpleasantness - buying wine yesterday. As I did so, the dream ended, as dreams involving City always do. Never mind, the day produced great consolations. I've never done this booze cruise bulk buying thing before. (The truck, obviously, came in handy.) Now I shall never buy wine in this country again. The festival at Dunkirk demonstrated how ruthlessly we are ripped off by the government and the booze industry. A direct comparison would probably show that the wine was half the price, but really it was much less than that because what appeared to be similar wine to that sold over here was, in fact, much better. We get the dross and we are charged a fortune for it. And, while I am on the subject of the French Way, before getting over-emotional about the rugby in Paris, I went to the Rue Cler, not far from the Eiffel Tower. It was sublime, there is nothing like it in London - decently priced shops and superb service. This is because, I am told, an act was passed in the seventies making it illegal for the big stores to move in on areas like this. Rents fell and real shops thrived. This is a typical Enarque idea - highly intelligent, highly educated bureaucrats, groomed for public service, look out for threats to the French Way and then put a stop to them. It's not Our Way and it can go horribly wrong. But, at Dunkirk and in the Rue Cler, it goes very right indeed. Sarkozy may change all that and make the French more like us. If he succeeds, we may well find them more sympathique, but also much less enviable.
Posted by Bryan Appleyard at 7:23 am