We Europeans

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To hell with ethnic purity

The French, who for so long talked about ‘nos ancêtres, les Gaulois’, may have felt justified in not looking too closely at their antecedence. The Germanic element is in fact more important: according to Luigi Barzini, the Italian author and politician, almost half the inhabitants of present-day France are the descendants of Germanic tribes. As… » read more

Posted by Richard Hill

Saint Nicholas of Myra has a lot to answer for. For a start he was responsible for a Nordic Council meeting that was devoted to a bitter dispute over claims to his namesake, Santa Claus. The Norwegians presented a carefully argued but sentimental case for ownership, matched by equally nostalgic pleas from the Icelanders and… » read more

Posted by Richard Hill

George W Bush is reputed to have said that the French don’t have a word for ‘entrepreneur’. Whether he said it or not – probably not – the assertion contains a grain of truth. In its strictest sense the French word means a contractor, possibly a businessman, but does not convey the idea of a… » read more

Posted by Richard Hill