Oh come on Paxman, they are world champions at marching backwards


Jeremy Paxman has attacked the cheese-eating surrender monkeys.

French is a “useless language” and the nation’s achievements are “long past”, Jeremy Paxman has claimed, in a brutal attack on our European neighbours.

The former Newsnight host said that middle-class Britons should end their “forelock-tugging” deference to France’s haute cuisine and high-speed trains, as he claimed that the centuries-old battle between the two nations had been comprehensively decided in Britain’s favour.

Writing in the Financial Times, Paxman said French was a “useless language”. He wrote: “Let us block our ears to the middle-class English and their forelock-tugging deference to France’s highly subsidised rural living, high-speed trains and ‘marvellous food’.

“No one is going to deny that, historically, France has enhanced civilisation. European culture would be a thin thing without Montaigne, Descartes, Debussy and Cézanne, to say nothing of the dictator’s dictator, Napoleon Bonaparte.  

“The problem is that it is all long past and the new world is anglophone. In the centuries-long struggle between English and French there is one victor, and to pretend otherwise is like suggesting that Johnny Hallyday is the future of pop.

“The outcome of the struggle is clear: English is the language of science, technology, travel, entertainment and sport. To be a citizen of the world it is the one language that you must have.”

In another stinging attack, the presenter said the French government’s decision to fund the study of French in North African nations was akin to a “form of imperialism”.

He added: “The truth is that while other imperial powers were running down their flags around the world, France never really decolonised.”

The piece is likely to raise eyebrows at the BBC. Paxman has been commissioned to present what the broadcaster has billed as “an impartial look” at Britain’s relationship with Europe, as part of the corporation’s EU referendum coverage.

He forgot that the French perfected the art of moving targets for long-bows during the Hundred Years War, showed us the value of fortresses and bunkers to protect the border in 1914 and 1939 and, of course, they are the world champions at marching backwards. French tanks, of course, are world-renowned for having more reverse gears than forward gears and their rifles are prized as collectors’ items because they’ve never been fired and only dropped once.

Lastly, they did give us the two immutable rules of French warfare:

  1. The French only win when not led by a Frenchman (Joan of Arc was a woman and Napoleon Bonaparte was a Corsican), and
  2. The French only win when the foreigners do the fighting (WW1, WW2, French Foreign Legion).

Other than all that, Paxman is spot on.


– The Telegraph


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  • RightofSingapore

    I agree with Paxman, I’ve always thought French language and culture was too snobby and elitist. Francophiles are always like “look at me, I speak French, I’m so refined and better than you”.

    • biscuit barrel

      Snobby and elitist ?
      Remember the French made sure their aristocrats weren’t around to be a problem.
      Just because we are anglo saxon descendants does that mean we adopt the language and manners of Poms, or even the english aristocracy?

      And as for marching backwards, the poms only survived by taking up backstroke across La manche !

      As for us, it could be said the Battle of Baghak, was another gallipoli

  • Superman

    I have been learning French for over 40 years and it’s a real bugger to get right. I also love France and the French way of life (but not the socialism). They did indeed give the world a lot of culture and philosophy and make huge scientific contributions but this whole discussion is academic because France as we know it is disappearing under an Islamic onslaught.

  • Cynical Guy

    I’d suggest his real inaccuracy on this is suggesting that the UK is any better off given the steady decline that nation is also currently going through. France also has New Caledonia. The UK has the Falklands – despite being a good reason to put one up the Argentines from time to time, in that respect at least, France wins.

    • Disinfectant

      What complete bollocks.
      The people who settled on the Falklands are from the U.K.. There was not an indigenous population of Argentinians or anyone else for that matter. Those who settled on the Falklands had the right to self determination and that’s what they, and their forefathers have set out to protect.
      New Caledonia has an indigenous population of “Kanaks”. The French treated them like dirt.
      France does not win.

  • DemocKot

    I had a bit to do with the French army for a while in younger days in Africa. French is not so hard to learn especially when you have to… But Paxman might be right, there best days are gone.
    Quote:According to the British historian Niall Ferguson, France has participated in 50 of the 125 major European wars fought since 1495, and in 168 battles fought since 387 BC, they have won 109, drawn 10 and lost 49: this makes France the most successful military power in European history – in terms of number of fought and won.

    • old school

      Surely, it’s not the number of battles won, but the number of wars.

  • LabTested

    A must read is the book 1000 years of annoying the French. It explores the English-French relationship since William The Conqueror.

    We learn wonderful facts such as Croissants are Austrian and all French wine vines come from America. (the original French ones got wiped out by a bacterial infection)

    A funny read,