Sunday, February 25, 2007

The United Kingdom of Great Britain, Northern Ireland... and France?

At the eve of the one hundredth anniversary of the Entente Cordiale between the UK and France in 2004, President Chirac of France qualified the relationship between the two countries, which has always been something of a love-hate relationship, as an "amour violent", a phrase apparently borrowed from Johnny Hallyday, "France's only contribution to rock music" according to BBC World Affairs correspondent Paul Reynolds.

Little did he know then that back in 1956, against the background of the Suez crisis, plans had been in the making to form a union between France and Britain, or failing that to have France enter the British Commonwealth. As explained in greater detail on the BBC News website, the then Prime Minister of France Guy Mollet made repeated requests to his British counterpart Anthony Eden, and while the request to form a union was quickly turned down Eden did initially seem taken by the idea of France entering the Commonwealth, and thereby accepting the headship of HM the Queen. With the UK pulling out of Suez under international pressure and the battle against the Egyptian president Nasser lost, the French Prime Minister presumably decided not to pursue his astonishing ideas any further...

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