And now, coming direct from the archives of the Ministry of Truth Is Stranger Than Fiction to your brain: le Union Jacques?
I have gotta check my calendar on this one… Um, nope; not April first. I’m still shaking my melon at this, though. I mean, come on, this has just got to be some kind of scam. It’s a prank, right? Some disgruntled buggers in Britain’s National Archives got tired of some know-it-all supervisor or manager and decided to pull a fast one and show him for the bureaucratic dolt that he is, right? Right…??
The revelation the French government proposed a union of Britain and France in 1956, even offering to accept the sovereignty of the Queen, has left scholars in both nations puzzled.
Newly discovered documents in Britain’s National Archives show former French prime minister Guy Mollet discussed the possibility of a merger between the two countries with then-British prime minister Sir Anthony Eden.
“I completely fell off my seat,” said Richard Vinen, an expert in French history at King’s College in London, England. “It’s such a bizarre thing to propose.”
😯 Well, then; at least I’ve got some company on the floor. Wouldn’t want to be getting lonely down there, you know. My gawd, talk about mixing oil and water –or is that and ? Where do I even begin with this one?? Here’s the Guardian’s take:
If you’re reading this on a packed, stalled train, late for work, eating a stale station bacon roll, imagine what life could have been like. If France and Britain had gone ahead with an audacious plan in the 1950s to merge the two countries, the train might have been on time, and faster, the croissants better, but then again, with Paris’s current unemployment problem, there might not have been a job to go to.
TouchÃ©. The Yorkshire Post was even more blunt:
WE might have learned a thing or two about gastronomy and dressing with style, but we’d never have accepted their two-hour lunch breaks. They’d surely have had something derogatory to say about our sheep-like ability to form an orderly queue.
They might have acquired a soupÃ§on of understanding about tolerance, but they’d have blown a gasket at imperial measures and the idea of Sunday trading. And, somehow, I can’t see that the average British child’s lunchbox would ever have been converted to baguette and goat’s cheese.
Culturally we’re poles apart, and might as well be at opposite ends of the continent, even with the latter-day efforts of burger chains, coffee parlours and Marks and Spencer to homogenise us. La Manche could be as wide as the Atlantic, for all we have in common with our French neighbours.
Well, that’s one way of putting it. As for me, I shudder to think of what rough beast, its hour come round, would have slouched towards London and Paris to be born of such an unholy union. Thank God Her Majesty’s Prime Minister of the day (Rt Hon Sir Anthony Eden) shot the idea down.
Seriously now, can you imagine slurping back dead snails over a pint? Or washing down bangers and mash with a bottle of Chateau du SnootÃ©? Thinks those are silly? Try this one: a French Royal Marine.
Talk about dodging a bullet…