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Samizdata quote of the day

Neo-Socialist Macron is ‘pro-free market’ like wolves are anti-sheep abortion.

The Dissident Frogman

45 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • Paul Marks

    I do not really know enough about President Macron’s economic policies to make a judgement.

    I think the point the post is making is that President Macron just wants capitalist economy so he can tax it for government benefits and “public services”, and I suspect he would (in his own terminology) admit that.

  • Brian Swisher

    Given that socialism doesn’t know how to actually create wealth, I think Paul is on the money here.

  • mila

    ‘Socialist’ is as meaningless and nebulous a term when employed by the hard right as ‘Fascist’ is when employed by the hard left.

  • But the Dissident Frogman is hardly a member of the ‘hard right’, so I think he knows exactly what it means.

  • Mr Ecks

    Fascism IS socialism. Like that FACT or don’t like it–makes no difference.

  • Thailover

    When was the last time England/UK seen a free market? Sophestry.

  • When was the last time England/UK seen a free market?

    How is that relevant to anything? He is talking about France.

    Many aspects of economy in the UK (and indeed France) have functioning free-ish markets (that the state loves to tax).

    And what do you mean by England/UK? Like Ohio/USA? Aquitaine/France? Kanchanaburi/Thailand? 😛

    I hope you are not falling into the utterly self-defeating purity psychosis, chum, not to mention whataboutism, because therein madness lies.

  • self-defeating purity psychosis

    If this were David Thompson’s blog we’d be noting that as a band name 🙂 😎

  • bobby b

    “And what do you mean by England/UK?”

    Well, it’s all very confusing for us non-residents.

    First, you have “England.” We all understand “England.”

    Then, you add in two areas that most people on this board concede as being leftist economic drags, and you become “Great.”

    Finally, you add in one half of a country torn apart and divided by sectarian war, and you become “United.”

    And you wonder why it keeps tripping us up. 😀

  • terence patrick hewett

    @ bobby b

    It confuses most of us as well: however:

    To give it its correct name, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The “Great” in Great Britain does not refer to the level of its magnificence but to the measure of its relative geographical magnitude. It refers to the result of the union of the Kingdom of England (which included Wales) and the Kingdom of Scotland in 1707, that is; it is a greater rather than a lesser Britain and the two countries became “United into One Kingdom by the Name of Great Britain.”

    The Kingdom of England included the country of Wales at the time of Union in 1707. This is because in 1066, England was invaded by William Duke of Normandy and Harald Hardrada of Norway. This invasion was ultimately successful and the result was that England’s culture and language disappeared around the year 1100 when Latin and Norman French became the working and administrative languages of the country and English became the language of the peasant and the slave. The Norman invasion of the fragmented Kingdom of Wales (whose leader King Gruffydd ap Llywelyn had just been killed in battle by his rival Gruffydd ap Rhydderch in 1055) began shortly after the Norman Conquest and continued until 1282 with the Conquest of Wales by Edward I. England re-emerged as a cultural entity after the Anglo-Norman warlords were forbidden to own lands in both England and France and by that time English culture and the English language had transmogrified from Anglo-Saxon to Middle English: similar changes were wrought in the Celtic languages. Culturally one can say for convenience, that when Chaucer chose to write in the vernacular rather than in Latin or French a significant point had been reached circa 1387 and the process of Anglicisation carried on until virtually finishing at the onset of the Elizabethan era in 1558. Wales became a full and equal part of the Kingdom of England when Henry VIII enacted The Laws in Wales Acts of 1535 and 1542 by which the legal system of England was extended to Wales.

    The failed 1690’s Scottish colonisation scheme of the Isthmus of Panama on the Gulf of Darién which bankrupted parts of Scotland was an attempt by the Kingdom of Scotland to become a world trading nation and was the driver for the 1707 Acts of Union. The Scottish landed aristocracy and mercantile class saw that their best chance of being part of a major trading power would be to share in the growth of the English Empire and that Scotland’s future would lie in Union. Scotland joined with England to create the British Empire with which both countries will always be associated.

    A common mistake made by some is a belief that the United Kingdom was created by the Union of the Crowns in 1603 not the Treaty of Union in 1707. The Union of the Crowns was and is a historical and legal misnomer. The Crowns of the two countries were not united in 1603. The crowns, and the two countries, remained separate. All that happened was that the same head came for the first time to wear the separate crowns of two separate countries defined under law as “Personal Union” as opposed to “Political Union.” What happened in 1707 was that Anne, Queen of Scotland, entered into a treaty with Anne, Queen of England, to merge the two countries into a single state in international law. Then and only then was there a United Kingdom.

    The state of Great Britain is also confused in many minds with that of England (and indeed was so used in the past) and also that of the United Kingdom; neither is synonymous. The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was formed by the inclusion of the Kingdom of Ireland by the Act of Union 1800; the Kingdom of Ireland having been created by Proclamation of Henry VIII. The title “King of Ireland” was created by an act of the Irish Parliament in 1541, replacing the Lordship of Ireland, which had existed since 1171, with the Kingdom of Ireland. The Crown of Ireland Act 1542 established “Personal Union” between the English and Irish crowns. Then in 1922 with the creation of the Irish Free State it became the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, formalised by the Royal and Parliamentary Titles Act in 1927.

    Whatever form of words we use it upsets somebody and lands us in the soup. Fun isn’t it? Hope that helps.

  • Julie near Chicago

    W-a-a-l, I’ll have to study on it some, terence, but I must say that it’s a straightforward explanation that surely fills in some of the gaps in my basic knowledge of the sitch (which has been constructed largely of gaps). So, thanks for the info. :>)

  • Alisa

    IIUC, this is how it goes: England ⊆ Great Britain ⊆ United Kingdom

  • Laird

    So where do Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the Falklands, Gibraltar, Hong Kong (formerly), Bermuda, etc., fit into this scheme? Aren’t they also part of the “United Kingdom”?

  • bobby b

    It helps a lot, tph. Thank you.

    I drop a quick tongue-in-cheek joke, and in return I get knowledge.

    One of the reasons I like this place.

  • Alisa

    Laird, I believe that is the Commonwealth.

  • Snorri Godhi

    WRT Macron: i’ll take what i can get; and if Macron is pro-free-market, that is pretty good by French standards, independently of the reason.

  • Snorri Godhi


    First, you have “England.” We all understand “England.”

    I am sure that you do, but i have heard of a distinguished American academic who started a lecture in St Andrews with something like: it’s nice to be in England.

    Actually, i have met English people with PhDs in computer science who did not seem to be clear about the distinction between England, Britain, and the UK.

    Admiral Lord Nelson also seemed to be unclear about the distinction, at Trafalgar.


    The “Great” in Great Britain does not refer to the level of its magnificence but to the measure of its relative geographical magnitude.

    That reminds me of a letter to the editor (of The Economist iirc) which suggested a solution for the impasse about accepting Macedonia into the EU.
    Greece objects because it has a province called Macedonia; but France did not object to Great Britain joining the EU (EEC at the time), at least not because it has a province called Bretagne; so, the solution is for Macedonia to rename itself Great Macedonia.

  • Mr Ed


    So where do Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the Falklands, Gibraltar, Hong Kong (formerly), Bermuda, etc., fit into this scheme? Aren’t they also part of the “United Kingdom”?

    If I may add to Terence P H’s magnificent condensation of centuries of history and add as an aside, ‘Great Britain’ is ‘Great’ in contrast to the smaller ‘Bretagne’ ‘Brittany’ in what is now ‘la France’ and is populated in part by Cornishmen who can swim if I may misquote a former colleague at a NAAFI. Being part of France, they would not consider themselves to be ‘Petite Bretagne’ as that just wouldn’t do.

    And a further aside, I note that Horatio Nelson himself muddied the waters with his ‘England confides…‘ signal at Trafalgar, which had to be rendered due to a flag and time shortage as ‘England expects…‘ but had it been ‘The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland confides…‘, the delay might not have been wise. It may have been that at the time, ‘England’ and ‘UK’ were effectively interchangeable in everyday discussion.

    However, the situation is:

    Queen Elizabeth (I or II as the case may be) is Queen of England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and the United Kingdom. She is Lord of Mann (the Isle of Man) a predecessor having acquired the Lordship from a Duke of Atholl (in Scotland), who actually has his own private army, albeit ceremonial, the Scots Nats haven’t yet noticed.

    In the Channel Islands, the Queen is the Duke of Normandy (not the Duchess) as heir to William the Bastard. The Channel Islands have their own sub-divisions but like the Isle of Man they are ‘Crown Dependencies’. The Channel Islands are outside the EU and the EU customs area, so you go through Customs when entering the UK from them and v.v., but they are, like the Isle of Man, under a ‘Common Travel Area’ for immigration (but you can’t reside in these parts without local permission). The Isle of Man is outside the EU but in its customs area so there are no customs checks to and from the EU or UK. Together they are called ‘Crown Dependencies’ and their citizens have UK citizenship, but not the right of freedom of movement in the EU until they have acquired 5 years residence in the UK or have UK parentage.

    The British Overseas Territories (Gibraltar, the Falklands, Bermuda etc.) are all what used to be colonies of the UK having originated from English, Great British or UK forays overseas, unlike the more organic relationship with the Crown Dependencies. The locals now (with Hong Kong ‘safely’ handed over to China) have full UK citizenship as well as their own citizenships, so they can come to the UK as they wish, but not v.v..

    All of them are wholly subordinate to the UK Parliament should it choose to legislate for them, and every Labour government dreams of hiking their tax rates and robbing them or handing the Overseas Territories over to the nearest despotism/craphole, but to date haven’t quite got round to it. The Crown Dependencies can’t be handed over to anyone except that France might claim the Channel Islands (but they have sufficient Portuguese already) and Scotland hasn’t yet claimed the Isle of Man (because they probably haven’t noticed something else to steal).

    Canada, Australia (and its States) and NZ etc. all have the same real person Elizabeth as Queen, but not ‘her Britannic Majesty’ (as our UK passports call her) as Queen, but ‘her Canuck Majesty’ etc. as the case may be. The same real person has multiple legal personalities, so far without any disorder being apparent, as say, New Zealand hasn’t yet gone to war with e.g. Barbados.

    Hong Kong is no longer part of the scheme, as it is now under the tender care of the PRC.

  • Mr Ed

    Coming back to the OP, Macron appears to have risen like flatulence in a jacuzzi, the origin wasn’t immediately obvious, the result is a slightly unpleasant smell, quite who is to blame is not clear and it may be time to get out, but he was on the coat tails of Hollande, who might be regarded as a ‘floater’ in a jacuzzi so Macron might be seen as an improvement. The media took to him so quickly that it was clear that he was not any good, but he seems to be in the mood for saying ‘By the way, this socialism hasn’t been working too well, has it?’ which, albeit blasphemy in French political terms, is not the same as changing anything.

  • Alisa

    The video linked by Peter H. is a good visual complement to Terence P H’s terrific comment. Now the only thing missing is a video visualizing Mr. Ed’s last back-on-topic comment…or may be not?

  • The Union of the Crowns was and is a historical and legal misnomer. … All that happened [in 1603] was that the same head came for the first time to wear the separate crowns of two separate countries defined under law as “Personal Union” as opposed to “Political Union.”

    However as it then became increasingly unlikely that the future heir to one could ever not be the future heir to the other, the term is not a misnomer. It is also worth noting that the post-natali (all Scots and English born after the union of the crowns) were made (by acts in the separate parliaments) citizens of both kingdoms.

    A union of the parliaments was pushed by the first joint monarch (James the VI of Scotland and I of England) but proved not politically feasible at that time – as the comment states, the parliaments were not united into one until 1707.

    Technically Queen Elizabeth is Queen Elizabeth the II of England and I of Scotland, but practically – and perhaps legally for all I know – the royal numbering system, like the parliaments, has been unified.

  • My impression – but I do not claim deep insight into French politics – is that Macron was the creation of Brexit followed by Trump followed by “Mon Dieu – est ce c’est possible que Madame Le Pen … !!!” A little known candidate was the only alternative to candidates whose baggage might be neither so extensive as Hillary’s nor so remarkable within the French system, but nevertheless seemed risky.

    (In the case of the ‘Thatcherite’ – allegedly, at least – candidate, some deep French state distaste for him might have been at work.)

  • bobby b

    “Now the only thing missing is a video visualizing Mr. Ed’s last back-on-topic comment…or may be not?”

    If anyone links to a John Waters movie, all bets are off.

  • fcal

    Macron is rather a creation of the French ‘ras-le-bol’ with the traditional parties. As a young socialist financial technocrat, occupying a cabinet post in the former socialist government he thereafter even managed (youth?) to inspire during the election campaign an ideal of renewal of the typical French Republican values. However now he has to face the usual difficulties. And Merkel has to confront the huge influx of the post-migration (4 à 5 millions of people) and is in the impossibility to help him. Sic transit gloria mundis.

  • Deep Lurker

    So is it acceptable to use “England” as a synecdoche for “The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland”? Or is that politically incorrect now?

  • Mr Ed


    Now the only thing missing is a video visualizing Mr. Ed’s last back-on-topic comment…or may be not?”

    I can’t vouch for bobby b’s comment, but I suspect that there is something deep in the darkest corner of Youtube; an Austrian friend of mine came across a plastacene stop-motion animation of Fritzl’s crimes, but as Gandalf put it.

    Far, far below the deepest delvings of the Dwarves, the world is gnawed by nameless things. Even Sauron knows them not. They are older than he. Now I have walked there, but I will bring no report to darken the light of day.


    Increasingly ‘England’ refers to the country of Saint George, and formerly of Saint Edmund, whereas ‘the UK’ is used to refer to the economic unit, trade statistics etc.

  • Paul Marks

    “When was Britain last a free market?” – I will answer the question, although I do not see its relevance.

    A 100% pure free market? Never – and neither has anyone else been. But freedom never being total does not mean it is not good.

    When was Britain closest to freedom? 1869 – actually it is the same year for France. That was when the government was smallest as a proportion of the economy.

    When was Britain last more good than bad?

    That is a harder question – I would say 1964, when there was still Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Association (the 1965 Act ended both) and no Capital Gains Tax. And when most shares were still owned by individuals (not institutions) and families were still, basically, still operating.

    The period 1869 to 1964 had seen a horrible decline of freedom (I do not deny that), but as late as 1964 Britain was still (I think) more good than bad. Indeed there was great increase in freedom (a decline in statism) from 1951 to 1964 – the so called “13 wasted years” were actually good years.

    Of course 1963 witnessed such things as the leftist takeover of the BBC – but that had yet to undermine society by 1964.

  • Snorri Godhi

    All of them are wholly subordinate to the UK Parliament should it choose to legislate for them

    Perhaps Mr Ed, or somebody else, will clarify whether “all of them” refers to the Overseas Territories alone, or also to the Crown Dependencies. That is not clear from the context in Mr Ed’s comment @7:36 yesterday.

  • Mr Ed


    Both categories, the Crown Dependencies and the BOTs, are wholly subordinate to the UK Parliament. Day-to-day, the BOTs have Governors and varying elements of local representation, whilst the IoM has the oldest continuously sitting Parliament, the Tynwald, and a Lieutenant-Governor, who is essentially ceremonial, and the Bailiwicks of Guernsey and Jersey have similar arrangements.

    The Statute of Westminster in 1931 effectively ended the UK Parliament’s power to legislate for the Dominions, although Australia formally established complete independence de jure in 1986.

  • Snorri Godhi

    Thank you, Mr Ed!

  • So is it acceptable to use “England” as a synecdoche for “The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland”? Or is that politically incorrect now? (Deep Lurker, October 29, 2017 at 2:12 am)

    It depends on context.

    It’s well known that foreigners will often say England and the English when they mean Britain and the British. It was reported, not so long ago, that in many a foreign nation you will find the British Embassy by looking under E in the phone book. My impression FWIW is that, outside the more politicised members of the natz and similar, no-one fusses much about that, except occasionally to joke. When in Italy or Italian Switzerland, I mastered the skill of saying: “Mi dispiace, sono Inglese, non parlo bene Italiano.” Occasionally I said “sono Scotsese” but it was almost always the first form, and that seemed completely normal. When the context is “us” versus “all that foreign lot”, casual and unreflecting use of England for the whole nation is far below any *ism or *phobia on the PC sin list, and can pass unremarked.

    When the context is internal to the UK, England means the specific country of England and is not Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland.

  • Rich Rostrom

    Niall Kilmartin October 28, 2017 at 10:17 pm:

    Technically Queen Elizabeth is Queen Elizabeth the II of England and I of Scotland, but practically – and perhaps legally for all I know – the royal numbering system, like the parliaments, has been unified.

    In Scotland, when E II was crowned, postboxes with the new royal emblem were vandalized, because the number was wrong for Scotland. It was changed, and I believe is still different there.

  • Rich Rostrom, October 30, 2017 at 3:56 am, I was born and brought up in Scotland, and now live there, and have no memory of ever seeing a Queen Elizabeth I postbox or any other reference to that number. Either I’ve spent decades seeing what I expect to see (not impossible, I suppose 🙂 ), or postboxes, either vandalised or Scottish-numbered, are a bit rare.

  • Watchman

    Rich is technically correct – the Scottish monarchy has its own numbering, so Charles, if he takes that name, will be Charles III of both countries, but William should technically be William IV and III. In reality, as William of Orange/William and Mary (hardly ever William III) and William IV are referred to that way in Scottish historiography as well as English, it would probably only be a monarch called James (as James I and VI is a well-known formulation, and his grandson James II and VII is common in Scotland) who would attach dual numbering. For reasons of convenience though the UK tends to use the English one, probably because other than James, the only likely names I can think of that would present a situation where a ruler would have a higher ordinal number for Scotland are Duncan, Malcolm, David, Alexander, Donald, Kenneth and Margaret – if you wanted to call a king MacBeth, Lullach, Giric, Constantine etc of course that would also cause issues.

    It should be noted that the numbering is anyway somewhat arbitrary. Edward VIII would have been in Scotland officially Edward III, but by English reckoning Edward IV of Scotland (I don’t think we have ever withdrawn our recognition of Edward Balioll as the rightful king of Scotland), but Edward VIII was the tenth king of England of that name (Edward the Elder and Edward the Confessor both were kings of England, although if you live north of the Humber-Mersey line, you might argue that Edward the Elder was not king of that part of England, so Edward VIII should only be Edward IX…).

    Oh, and no one mentions it, but there is separate regnal numbering for the kingdom of Northern Ireland as well (which arguably should carry on from the High Kings of Ireland – in which case Edward Bruce means Edward VIII was possibly Edward IX of northern Ireland.

    This sort of lunacy is a fun subject called history, and should be encouraged, because life gets very boring if you are logical all the time (although the French did try and rationalise their numbering, leading to the fact that Louis I was actually called Clovis, because he ruled before the name mutated – so logic applied here really doesn’t help either).

  • Mr Ed


    I believe that the Royal Cypher on Scottish postboxes is ‘E R’ for ‘Elizabeth Regina’ and the numeral ‘I’ is not needed any more than a Queen Zara, should that come to pass, would need a ‘Z R I’. I have not seen any Edward VIII postboxes, and you may find a few Edward VII ‘E VII R’ postboxes about, there is one on Shaftesbury Avenue in London at the junction of Neal Street. ‘G R’ for ‘George V’ are not that rare, there is one in Stamford opposite the George Hotel. George VI postboxes are ‘G VI R’, and the other day I saw a ‘V R’ for Victoria somewhere.

    Some sad day, we may need a cypher for Charles, but all I can think of is ‘Charles, United Nation Thronesitter‘.

  • Julie near Chicago


  • Watchman

    Mr Ed,

    It’ll be C R, which at least will make it easy to add the remaining two letters of the appropriate adjective.

  • As Watchman, October 30, 2017 at 1:54 pm, notes, additional complexities arise because Edward I was really Edward IV, having been preceded on the throne of England by Edward the elder, Edward the martyr and Edward the confessor, after whom he was named. King Edward the hammer of the Scots was referred to as King Edward the first in the reign of his grandson, when it was natural to refer to the three successive plantagenet King Edwards as Edward the first, Edward the second and Edward the third, and this rather accidentally fed into their official numbering and that of subsequent kings. (It is therefore fortunate that the Anglo-Saxon Edwards all had monikers.)

    It can indeed be argued that Edward the elder is not the first king of all England. He and his sister Aethelflaed (Queen regnant of Mercia) conquered the eastern and western parts of the Danelaw up to York between them. Aethelflaed fostered Aethelstan, Edward’s son, at the Mercian court and after her death Edward and then Athelstan succeeded her – as was apparently planned by their father Alfred. Athelstand made the Danish kingdom of York acknowledge (somewhat reluctantly and occasionally) his overlordship, and won the battle of Brunaburgh, which made him king of England and, it was said, ’emperor’ of Britain. By contrast, the suggestion in the anglo-saxon chronicle that the vikings of York submitted to Edward at one point is seen as a seriously spun version of their making a treaty with him.

    Aethelflaed herself had no son but one daughter, Elfwine (or Aelfwynn), to whom she left the lands north of Mercia that she had conquered. This daughter married an earl and some of her descendants were among the southernmost clients of the northern earls who first adhered to William and then, when the northern earls rebelled, remained with William and so were among the few significant anglo-saxon landholders who kept their lands after the norman conquest. The family of Sneyd, originally based near Newcastle-under-Lyme, claim an astonishingly (by English standards) long descent from this Elfwine.

  • bobby b

    Where do the elves come in? This was all in The Silmarillion, right? (Tolkien’s names always seemed fanciful to me, until now.)

  • Mr Ed

    bobby b

    The Elves were doing fine in England then some silly Cnut ruined it.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Mr Ed, You’re doing it again ….

    Heh. ;>)

  • terence patrick hewett

    I have to say that I have always regarded Scottish, Irish, Welsh and English history as a sometimes venomous and genocidal pub brawl which for most of us is the only game in town. Foreign wars are merely a distraction from from our true obsession of kicking the bejasus out of each other. And who would wish it any other way.

  • terence patrick hewett

    @ Bobby b

    Tolkien was thrust into the trenches of the Great War and lost most of his friends. He remarked that the inspiration for the Bagginses came from his contact for the first time, with those lower down the social spectrum and admired their courage and tenacity in extremis: an experience that nearly all of the post war generation of politicians had in common: the understanding of the extraordinariness of the ordinary.

    Our present crop of Westminster politicians have never had this experience and seem to regard everyone else with contempt. The article by Matthew Parris, dismissing the people of Clacton and the article by the author Toby Young concerning Wales seem to encapsulate a total incomprehension of humanity.

    It was the sheer lack of charity which shocked even me; whom I thought un-shockable.

    They are being taught a lesson which they will never forget.