The French government’s plan to establish the global hegemony has run into a spot of bother:
Staff at the French foreign ministry are to go on strike for the first time in protest at budget cuts that caused bureaucrats to run out of paper.
The strike, called for Monday, comes amid demands from the country’s leaders that diplomats work harder than ever to regain France’s former global prominence.
Pah! France can conquer the world without recourse to this barbaric, simplisme Anglo-Saxon idea of correspondence.
Budgets have become so tight that the ministry recently stopped paying its paper supplier. For three days last month it was paperless until a deal was reached.
‘You supply us with paper, we get you a seat on the UN Security Council. Deal?’
The Europe minister, Noelle Lenoir, said she had to go to a local newsagent to buy exercise books to write in.
Around the world, France’s ambassadors have complained of having to pay for official dinners and cocktail parties out of their own pockets, while the diplomatic bag service has also been interrupted.
Next thing you know they will have to fund their own bribes and rent their own whores. Outrageous!
“Half the lifts are not working – there’s no money to fix them. For three days last month there was no paper and our representatives abroad are having to work 14-hour days.”
So much backstabbing to do, so little time.
The strike is acutely embarrassing for President Jacques Chirac and his flamboyant foreign minister, Dominique de Villepin, who have made every effort to show the world that French diplomacy matters.
It certainly matters to Messrs Mugabe, Castro and Hussein. What would they do without it?
The six unions that have called the strike said in a joint statement: “We do not understand how President Chirac and the government can assert France’s great ambitions on the international stage while at the same constantly cutting back the human and financial resources available to the ministry.”
A review of ambitions may be required.