Have you ever been to the ffFrench imperial empire in the South Pacific, because it doesn't sound like it. Get off the plane at Noumea (New Caledonia) and the first three things you see are a gendarme, a Peu-grot patrol car and the fekkin' tricolor. It is hugely expensive with living costs almost at Paris levels.The prime and probably only reason for this situation, oddly in the present circumstances, is to maintain Air ffFrance's rights to international routes to Australasia. At the other end of the scale, fly to Nuku Hiva (Marquesas Islands), one of the most remote airports in the world, and watch a once proud, now sullen Polynesian sloping along the road in his thongs (Fillipe Filopps) with a bag full of lamb flaps in one hand and half a dozen baguettes tucked under his other arm. It is a forlorn, miserable and neglected place.
One lucky escapee was the New Hebrides, now Vanuatu, thanks in no small part to the efforts of an old school diplomat, Andrew Stuart, the last British High Commissioner of the joint British/French condominium (known locally as the pandemonium) and a wonderful man who, I strongly suspect, was appointed because he was 6' 7'' tall, towering over his fffFrench opposite number who was the size of
Napoleon SarkosyMacron. Here is a link to his obituary with some interesting background gen and which I hope is not behind the Torygraph's paywall:-
On my last visit there, the High Commission had been closed and European representation was handled by the European Union ffs, with a grotty little office on the harbour front in Port Vila. C'est la vie, I suppose. The Eurocrat running the show addressed me in fffFrench, the ignorant bâtard, so although I am reasonably proficient in that foul language, I spoke nothing but English throughout the meeting. DCI Hunt would have approved even though I didn't punch the fffekker for his insolence.
The contents of the Telegraph Obituary linky are indeed worth a read … old fashioned British diplomacy exercised with aplomb … and a little skullduggery … showing that Andrew Stewart could successfully execute his duties as a British Diplomat …. I particularly like the part where he removed his glasses so that he could honestly say he had not read the contents of a key document … and he and the Marines got one up on the French ... partly and strangely as a result of one down .