Jonathan Miller

Why is this French MEP pretending the country’s crippling strikes are over?

Why is this French MEP pretending the country's crippling strikes are over?
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Watch Nathalie Loiseau, Emmanuel Macron’s Europe sherpa, simultaneously mislead and patronise Andrew Neil on his show last night. I assumed Neil would chew her up and spit her out. But on the night, it was even more bizarre:

Asked by Neil if it was the time to take a hard line on Brexit negotiations, when Europe’s economy is already fragile after continuing labour unrest, Loiseau opted for brazen contempt for reality seasoned with special arrogance sauce. This is well known to those used to dealing with the high echelons of the French state.

There are no more strikes in France, she declared, adding for good measure she was 'surprised' a journalist wouldn’t know that. Does Macron recognise how stupid this makes him look? Why would he employ someone who makes claims that are so ludicrously and obviously untrue?

This morning, this clip does not feature on the Twitter feed of Loiseau, who in addition to being Macron’s point person on the European Renaissance (his project to deepen the EU comity) is also an MEP, former ally of Guy Verhofstadt and an ex-director of the École National d’Administration. This, of course, is the hothouse for the ultra-top level of the French administrative class.

Obviously Loiseau’s statement is ridiculous since this morning my trash was not collected and this notice was posted on the door of the local post office. Clearly, they failed to get the memo:

To confirm the evidence before my own eyes, I have an app on my iPhone called ‘C’est la grève’ which reveals, although it seems to have escaped Loiseau’s attention, that today there is a national strike covering national and commuter rail, air traffic control, schools, hospitals and trash collection, along with numerous other sectors.

Indeed, in France, we have had nothing but strikes for months, interspersed with such spectacles as police officers fighting firefighters in the streets, protesters maimed by exploding police munitions and monumental piles of garbage in some communes. Yet these are all apparently imaginary, according to Nathalie Loiseau. Shame on Loiseau and the incompetent or credulous journalists who are trying to argue that none of this is happening.