Cornered Rats

by Andrew Stuttaford

Things seem to be getting a little testy in France. After comments about the U.K. by the governor of the French central bank yesterday that were as malign as they were irresponsible, the Daily Telegraph reports that France’s finance minister has joined the attack on Britain:

François Baroin, the finance minister, said Britain was “marginalised” and faced “a very difficult economic situation” because of Coalition policies…Mr Baroin told the French parliament that the pact had been backed by every country in Europe, “with the singular, now solitary, exception of Great Britain, which history will remember as marginalised”.

Baroin’s boss  is, of course, trailing badly in the polls and may find himself marginalized next year by the voters he so clearly despises.

The Daily Telegraph continues:

Senior British sources said French leaders were so panicked by the prospect of losing their AAA credit rating that they were trying to spread confusion by undermining the economic reputations of other nations.  One government source said: “It’s so obvious what they are up to. They are in a completely different place to us. Where do you hide a tree? In a wood.”

None of this is to say that Britain is in a good economic position. It’s not, but the fact that it still has its own currency makes an enormous difference.