Home Thoughts From Abroad


I’ll return to putting the world/economy right soon, but currently I’m on a brief break in Brittany. I looked up at the splendid Town Hall in Auray today, and read the mission statement of the French republic – liberty, equality, fraternity. There are plenty of countries with a motto (thanks, Wikipedia) but I can’t think of another country which wears its heart so obviously on its corporate sleeve. Brazil maybe – though who could be against the ‘ordem e progresso’ motto on their flag. Comments and suggestions welcome, even of what country mission statements should be. I remember at the height of Israel’s military triumphs, someone suggested “Visit Israel, before Israel visits you”. Or, for the USA, “what a place this could be with gun control and a health service !”.

The importance of the French statement of ambitions was shown in the way that the Vichy government felt they had to replace it in 1940, choosing “work, family, homeland” instead. Read Petain’s reasons for the change to get an honest view into the crannies of the reactionary mind.

A thought – maybe the left in Britain have concentrated on equality, and the right given too much weight to liberty, when what we lack (banker bonuses, social security fraud) is fraternity – an idea that what makes for a good society is recognising we need to do the decent thing by the other guy. Perhaps that’s what people liked so much about the atmosphere of the Olympics. Or what the Big Society might be without the cuts.

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