• Où est le boeuf? Laissez-les manger cheval. (Where’s the beef? Let them eat horse.)


    Above is Louise Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun’s 1778 painting of Marie Antoinette of Austria, Queen of France. This Royal lady of course is famous for supposedly uttering the words; “Let them eat cake” being the traditional translation of the French phrase “Qu’ils mangent de la brioche”, upon learning that the peasants had no bread. Since brioche was enriched with butter and eggs, as opposed o ordinary bread, the quote supposedly would reflect the lady’s obliviousness to the condition of the people.

    Of course the quote has been used to illustrate the detachment and lack of caring (about the condition of the peasants) of the absolutist French monarchy.

    It therefore serves as an excellent basis for this article’s title. Nothing better illustrated the complete suzerainty of this formerly sovereign state than the performance on BBC2’s “Newsnight” of Owen Paterson, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. Asked by the presenter what he was going to do about the instances of British supermarkets discovering that numerous ready meals that were supposed to contain beef contained horse meat. His answer was very little as this is an area of “European Competence.”

    British Gazette comment: As British retailers are piously destroying what is perfectly edible food – the problem is that it is incorrectly described – we ask this? Why is the food being destroyed. Why is not the food being suitably labelled and given to the many Food Banks that have been set up?

    • Why have we not banned the import of French horse meat in the same way they banned our beef at the speed of light over the BSE crisis?
      Oh I forgot, it’s European Incompetence! (Nice one Ken).

    • Area of European Incompetence, or is that a tautology?

    • We have gone from a nation of Fish N’ Chips to Horse N’ Chips overnight!

      I am waiting for [the retailer’s name has been removed for legal reasons - Editor] to confess they sold beef burgers that was actually horse meat. I told my son it was horse meat as I used to eat it when I lived in France in the late 70s and knew the taste!

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