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Thin skin spreads to France

Now that everyone in these parts has jumped on the 'I'm offended' bus, here's one from our Gallic chums, courtesy of some possibly ill-judged remarks by a magistrate involved in the disciplinary hearing for a judge who presided at the trial of a child abuse ring:

'We know those normal evenings in Boulogne or Avesnes-sur-Helpe. Beery evenings where one invites the neighbours, one drinks too much, one plays cards or a board game and the winner gets to choose a little girl, with the blessing of the parents'.

Presumably it is the last bit that has upset two French MPs, Françoise Hostalier (Gaullist) and Jean-Luc Pérat (Socialist), neither of whom appear to have had especially spectacular parliamentary careers. Françoise says she is 'wounded, humiliated and revolted' by he comment and wants a public apology and disciplinary measures against Didier Beauvais, the magistrate in question. Apparently 'he has insulted the inhabitants of an entire region'. When insults are hurled at South Londoners, the English, white middle-aged men or some other group I am associated with, there is not that much of a sting, frankly.

One would think that northerners would be used to it by now.

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