How dare a Frenchman speak English

French President Jacques Chirac and his entire delegation stormed out of an EU summit. Why? Had they voted to invade Iran? Had they slashed agricultural subsidies? No. A Frenchman spoke in English.

No this is not a hoax. What precious little people they are.

Reading this now puts into context something which happened at an OECD meeting (on spam) I attended in Brussels in 2004. They had half a dozen interpreters and all that technology with headphones and channels so you could listen in the language of your choice. However everyone there spoke in English except the govt official from France. Now fair enough that he might not know English.

But then the interpreters took a union coffee break or something and were away for an hour. So the French official then just started speaking in English as there were no interpreters. At the time I reflected how much money was wasted on having translations done when every single person in the room spoke fluent English. But now I realise the poor French official probably would have been sacked, hung, drawn and quartered if it had leaked out he had spoken English at a meeting. And he worked for the French PM also!

Hat Tip: Dave Bryant

UPDATE: Also read this article in The Times. It’s hilarious as you read how Chirac pretened not to understand questions in English and made Tony Blair act as his interpreter! Also the French are now claiming there was not a walkout – they just all decided to go the the bathroom at the same time!!

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