Thursday, December 04, 2008

Sarkozy & Breton reunification

At the congress of French mayors in Nantes, Nicolas Sarkozy raises the reunification issue, apparently in a light-hearted aside, but he is too politically astute - notable lapse in marrying Carla Bruni notwithstanding - to draw attention where he does not relish the spotlight falling. His pre-election contemptuous dismissal of Bretons might yet have a worthwhile payoff.
Nantes was the ducal capital of Brittany from the 10th century, finally severed from its body by the Vichy government in 1941 and enshrined as head of the new region Loire Atlantique in 1957. Symbolic and historical significance aside, the economic repercussions of losing Brittany's main industrial concentration overnight were severe, despite later investment in the four remaining departments, Finistere, Cotes du Nord (now more seductively titled Cotes d'Armor, but not d'Armour as many British incomers call it), Morbihan and Ille-et-Vilaine.
B5 (the 'true' Brittany of 5 departments) is a rallying cry by the re-unifcationists. Good luck to them, even if it is necessary to get into bed with the likes of Sarkozy to achieve their end. It is after all an act of peculiar cultural barbarism to severe a capital city from its region. One of the many reasons for lauding the patrimoine of the Nantes-Brest canal is that this old waterway remains a physical link between the two parts of historic Brittany. You can read all about this in my latest book, Crossing Brittany.....................

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