Liberal Democrats

Kay Barnard

Working For You


A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to go to a wedding in France, not an invitation to be turned down.  A young relative from Bristol was marrying a Frenchman from the Haute Savoie.  The French really know how to enjoy these sorts of celebrations and what a treat it turned out to be. 

My relative had worked in France for many years, not as a high-powered manager but as a worker in a cheese factory, shifting cheeses around as they mature.  And she fell for the nephew of the family she was working for.  “How romantic” you may say.  But when you think that about 15% of all marriages inside the EU are now between couples with different European nationalities, you begin to understand just how close our links are with other European countries.

I’d never been to this part of France before.  It’s right next door to Switzerland and you could easily be forgiven for thinking that that is where you are.  Alpine chalets, grazing brown cows and cheese as a major topics of conversation! 

The Haute Savoie depends heavily on tourism for its economy.  Many Brits run small hotels and Bed and Breakfast chalets. It got me thinking about the “European Union”.  How would such close links work out if the UK (or is it just England?) withdrew from the European Union.  Not well I fear.  The British economy is so closely interlinked with our European neighbours.  Here in the South West the value of our exports to the EU is £22.8 billion a year.  Airbus and Augusta Westland Helicopters are just the most obvious firms.  There are many more.

And the wedding cake?  It turned out to be an iced mountain, with a French chalet on one side and the Clifton Suspension bridge on the other.  “Yerbutnobutyerbutnobut OUI” as the bride said, Vicky Pollard style.   Long live the “Entente Cordiale”.

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