Running a business isn’t easy at the moment, in France or elsewhere, and everyone would welcome some good advice about how to cope with the difficult conditions.
So despite having challenges of our own (don’t get me started on those) I though it would be useful if I went round to all the local French run businesses and shouted “Sort yourselves out!!” over and over again through the window.
I won’t offer any useful suggestions about how to improve things, because frankly I don’t have any to suggest. Our own business is facing exactly the same challenges – I don’t think I’ll mention that in such a loud voice – so instead I’ll just persist in telling everyone else to try harder.
How popular will this tactic make me? Not very, I imagine. In no time at all people will start being rude to me and sooner or later someone will tell me to get lost, or perhaps hit me.
All very obvious, I think you’ll agree.
So the question is, if this would be a ridiculous and unproductive thing for me to do, why do British politicians think it is a good thing for them to do?
Almost every day brings news that David Cameron or George Osborne have been telling France and Germany that they have to sort themselves out (along with the rest of Europe).
My guess is that Sarkozy and Merkel are pretty much familiar with the challenges without it being shouted across the channel every morning!
Useful suggestions or offers of help would doubtless be welcomed, but simply telling people to ‘sort themselves out’ does nothing except make them want to punch you on the nose.
So my suggestion for today, 10 years after arriving in France, is that the UK should decide if it wants to stay in Europe or not, then either leave or start joining in with constructive suggestions for improving things.
No problem either way as far as I am concerned, there are good arguments for both staying and leaving and I’ll leave such difficult decisions to those who believe they are wise enough to make them.
But I do know that standing on the edges of Europe and shouting criticisms at everyone else will do nothing at all for the ‘entente-cordiale’, Europe or the UK. Or for English expats living in the heart of Europe…