Days after France voted for a Socialist-led parliament to go with its new Socialist President, British Prime Minister David Cameron has renewed an age-old invitation to French businessmen: if you do not like your government, then come to Britain.
“When France sets a 75% top income tax we will roll out the red carpet and we will welcome more French businesses who will pay their taxes in Britain. That will pay for our public services and schools,” he said at the G20 in Mexico.
The invitation has been laughed off by the French government, which must be privately seething.
“I don’t know how you lay a red carpet out across the Channel, I’m afraid it’ll get rather wet,” said French labour minister Michel Sapin, also in Mexico.
So, forget La Defense, Paris’s business district. London already has the biggest French community outside France, its mainly well-heeled members regulars in Kensington’s smart coffee bars and in general no lovers of French Socialism anyway.
However the new government is insisting critics look beyond the new wealth tax proposal, and promises a raft of other, pro-business measures to come.