I have, in the past, viewed President Emmanuel Macron as a poseur in the mould of Tony Blair. He was, I thought, Europe’s equivalent to the ridiculous Justin Trudeau. His views on the rights of French fisherman to plunder British waters and his “helpful” interventions in the process of Brexit have not endeared the child husband to me. But maybe I was wrong.
In the past few weeks, we have seen a French Teacher beheaded because one section of society did not accept the idea of Free Speech. Macron, without hesitation, condemned both the attack and the idea that France should move an inch on the idea of free speech. In France, your right to say what you wish, even if someone finds it offensive, is inviolate as it should be.
Various Islamists around the world responded with calls to boycott France and with, yesterday, more brutal murders of French civilians. The admirable President Macron looks to stand firm.
Over in Britain, the Scottish Government is set to enact legislation which will mean that if you say something in your own home which someone not in your home discovers at a later date and says that they find it offensive, you can be prosecuted. It seems as if the SNP think that George Orwell’s 1984 was a blue-print, not a warning.
In London, on the day of the latest murders in France, several hundred Islamists screamed and shouted outside the French embassy. The police made no efforts to enforce the rule of 6 and other Covid restrictions, a clear contrast with the way they closed down the anti-lockdown demonstration of the previous weekend. Why the cowardly double standard? Once again, for all the tough talk, Priti Patel and others appear spineless.
As French blood ran through the streets of Nice, I found the London Islamist verbal attacks on France and Macron because they defend free speech utterly offensive but I defend their right to be offensive, as would Macron. We both believe in free speech.
But the way the Met responds in such different ways to different protests isn’t exactly a source of joy and I would like to hear Priti Patel explain the reasons for the different approach.
The London mob then went on to cause trouble at French owned shops with the Metropolitan Police doing little to close things down. Whatever I might have thought of President Macron in the past, right now he is the European leader I seem to admire the most, albeit there is scant competition. If Islamists wish to boycott all things French, I regard it as my duty, and urge all readers, to buy some brie and Burgundy at once. #IstandwithFrance