The likelihood that France would have banned the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine had it not been invented in Britain “seems close to zero”, says Parisian journalist Anne-Elisabeth Moutet in UnHerd. When it comes to Covid, Britain is Macron’s “ideal piñata”. And in this case, “the urge to do down les Rosbifs was too strong, even at the risk of encouraging anti-vaxxers over the Continent”. This is no surprise: Anglo-French animosity goes back centuries. My friends and I blame the Brits for everything – burning Joan of Arc, vilifying Napoleon, stealing Eric Cantona. “We don’t understand you. We don’t trust you… We love to hate the English.”
The irony is, if the French want to understand their vaccine failure, they should look at their historic differences with Britain – just not like this. Business in Britain began with resourceful civilians who sorted things out for themselves. In France, trade has always been a long process of bureaucracy. It’s a battle of “British nimbleness against French top-down hierarchy” that persists to this day. And when it comes to vaccines, “les Anglais appear to have won the war”.
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