No, not on the usual lines (garlic, surrender, strikes, arrogance). I like those aspects of that country. When de Gaulle despaired of being able to govern a country with 300+ cheeses, I thought he was mad - why would you not want to? I like French bloody-mindedness, their concern for food and quality of life (lunch with red wine or an e. coli sandwich at your desk?) and their love of an old-fashioned, all-in demonstration or riot.
Which is what brings me to whinge about our cousins now. In the past, they've had a healthy hard left shading into revolutionary factions. They even gave sanctuary to various Italians who'd had, shall we say, an interesting 1970s. But now, the party est finie. The freelance left may be coming back but the French government has decided that under the guise of 'extremism', they can nick everybody who doesn't want to go to Disneyworld Paris - even the inoffensive anarchists of Tarnac who allegedly delayed a train and may (or may not) have had a hand in writing 'The Coming Insurrection', a rather sweet neoTrotskyist tract which shares some values with my mother's terrorist sect, the Women's Institute.
What the Tarnac 9 seem to have done is lived The Good Life - gone to a depopulated area of France (Limousin) and joined the remaining locals in making their village viable again - which seems rather in keeping with the new spirit of the times, given that globalisation has allowed the stupidity of a tiny élite of financiers to push the entire global economy into recession. In return, the police judiciaire swooped in full anti-terrorist gear and kidnapped nine of them: the Swiss sitcom actor, the clarinettist, the archaeologist, the student nurse and the grocer amongst them… dangerous criminals all. I bet their veg boxes were packed with loads of subversively-shaped goodies. Perhaps even a sausage hiding the Fallen Madonna with the Big Boobies…
However, Sarko is determined to prove that he's a forward-thinking rightwing global capitalist like… er… Tony Blair just in time for the New 1930s. Hélas
Some of the Tarnac 9, plotting another fiendish outrage