A camel (Abid Katib/Getty)
Some good news at last for François Hollande, mired in a furious scandal over a former minister’s secret Swiss bank account: a new camel is on the way from Mali.
In a dispatch worthy of Evelyn Waugh’s Scoop, Reuters reported from Bamako on Tuesday that Malian authorities planned to send a replacement to Paris for the camel presented to Mr Hollande in grateful thanks for France’s military intervention in Mali when he visited the country in February.
The first animal, defence minister Yves Le Drian reported earlier in the week, was killed and eaten by the family Mr Hollande had left it with in Timbuktu.
The president, who before winning the Elysée Palace liked to buzz around Paris on his three-wheeled scooter, joked at the time that the camel would come in handy for getting about the congested capital. But the complicated logistics of shipping the beast back to France apparently led to the decision to entrust it instead to a local family – who promptly made it into stew.
Reuters reported that an official in northern Mali said:
“As soon as we heard of this, we quickly replaced it with a bigger and better-looking camel.
“The new camel will be sent to Paris. We are ashamed of what happened to the camel. It was a present and it did not deserve this fate.”
1) ECONOMICS The FT’s chief economics commentator, Martin Wolf, evaluates the impact of Baroness Thatcher on Britain’s economic performance both during her time in power and afterwards.
“For the UK, the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s did mark the first sustained period since the 19th century when GDP per head rose more than in the other large European economies. Unfortunately, the post-crisis economic malaise, the high inequality, the persistent regional imbalances and the over-reliance on an unstable financial sector mar this success.”
2) SOCIETY Hugo Young was a political columnist for the Guardian from 1984 until 2003, and wrote a biography of Margaret Thatcher, One of Us. Two weeks before he died, in 2003, he wrote this piece about Thatcher and her legacy. The Guardian published it on Monday. Young praises Thatcher’s self-confidence, and how little she cared if people liked her – a quality he notes is markedly lacking in today’s politicians. But he worries about the change in British social attitudes that she fostered:
Coming up We’re pulling together some of the best reads on the “Iron Lady”.