June 26, 2003

MORE ON SABINE HEROLD, FRENCH HEROINE:

She is a political science student, very beautiful and speaks perfect English. She has also just become the most famous 21-year-old in France.

Dubbed France’s Lady Thatcher by the newspapers, Mademoiselle Herold has been leading the rallies against the unions who have been crippling her country. Standing on a telephone box in her pearl earrings and high heels, she addresses crowds of 80,000, urging them to rise up against the striking teachers, Metro workers, rubbish collectors and air traffic controllers who are ruining people’s lives. With her student friends, she has set up an organisation: Liberte J’Ecris Ton Nom, which has thousands of members, demanding that France reforms.

Now, she wants to come to Britain. Her email is simple: “I would like to spend my time meeting politicians. I don’t wear jeans; I like red meat; please could I bring a camera crew?”

Here, she has been called Joan of Arc. “That is stupid,” she says. “I love Britain. I love Margaret Thatcher. I love the way you have overcome the unions and are not afraid to privatise. I love the way you work so hard. In France, we have become lazy and staid. We think only of weekends, holidays and how great we once were. We need a dose of Thatcherism.”

Good sense has not died in France.