Saturday 23 September 2017

Every nation needs 'soft power' - our Mrs Brown has it in spades

Brendan O’Carroll in Mrs Brown’s Boys. Photo: BBC
Brendan O’Carroll in Mrs Brown’s Boys. Photo: BBC
Mary Kenny

Mary Kenny

I was in Paris on the day that British Prime Minister Theresa May started the procedure to withdraw the United Kingdom from the European Union - the famous "triggering of Article 50" - and the air was thick with discussion among the political classes. The theme of 'perfide Albion' came up more than once, though no one quite recalled that General de Gaulle predicted Britain would never fit into a continental club anyway.

But among ordinary folk, I didn't hear much discourse on the politics. No, what I heard people say in casual conversation in shops and cafés was: "We were so thrilled that William and Kate came to France. We really appreciated it. Such nice young people! Showing such solidarity with the Bataclan victims too." Indeed, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge had visited those wounded in the Bataclan terrorist outrage in 2015.

Actually, William had also made a speech in which he said that the relationship between Britain and France would never be adversely affected by 'Brexit' - a speech he was instructed to make, doubtless, by Mrs May's government, in the deployment of 'soft power'.

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