How many senior French politicians, Prime Ministers and Presidents have not been found to have flown a bit close to the wind during their time in office? It’s part of the country’s fabric.
Jacques Chirac, who passed away yesterday, got caught with his fingers in the pie while Mayor of Paris but, and more impertinently, he stood up to the United States more than any other European leader over invading Iraq in 2003.
Abroad, the French leader was seen as the focus of opposition to the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.
Although Germany was also against the war, Chirac was most vocal in his insistence that any military action without UN Security Council backing was illegal - I wonder if Tony Blair wishes he had done the right thing and ignored the infamous dodgy dossier.
Mind you, Chirac was not at all surprised by how Blair and his team behaved over Iraq.
In 2005, for example, he said of the British “One cannot trust people whose cuisine is so bad”.
That said, one of Chirac’s nicknames was Chameleon Bonaparte. Another is La Girouette - the weathervane.
At one point an anti-European Gaullist, he later became a champion of the single currency.
Nevertheless, Chirac will go down in history as one of France’s great leaders who tackled a host of serious post war problems - although he probably will not be missed by the Brexiteers.
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