Tuesday 20 March 2018

The economic dangers of living in a land of promises

Brendan Keenan

Brendan Keenan

IT is quite an achievement, to create a constitutional crisis over when shops should open on a Sunday, but the French have managed it. Not a major constitutional crisis - not yet, anyway - but a genuine one all the same.

One is reminded of the, admittedly rather smug, axiom of our common law that whatever is not forbidden is permitted; as distinct from the Continent's codified one where whatever is not permitted is forbidden.

But it goes a lot deeper than that. Francois Hollande had to apply a rarely-used presidential power to bypass parliament in order to - well, in order to allow French shops to open on 12 Sundays in the year instead of just five.

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