To find out who your true friends and rivals really are, just gauge the reaction to news of your latest success story. It is revealing, for example, that many French officials have taken grave exception to the stunning speed and efficiency of our national vaccination programme.
This became clear at the end of January, when President Emmanuel Macron defied medical opinion by unjustly claiming that the AstraZeneca jab was ‘quasi-ineffective’ for elderly people. His cynical tone, remarkable even by the frosty standards of the rest of the EU, was echoed by his Europe Minister, Clément Beaune, who stated that ‘the UK has taken a lot of risks in authorising Astra-Zeneca extremely quickly’. So far neither he nor Macron have commented on the real-world data from Scotland this week which indicates that the first AstraZeneca dose reduces hospitalisations by 94 per cent: a better result than Pfizer.