The French president Emmanuel Macron was always going to end up an arch-enemy of the pro-Brexit British press.
His desire for deeper European integration doesn't quite fit with the desire by Britain's Brexit cheerleaders such as the Daily Express and the Daily Mail to see the UK wash its hands of the EU as soon as possible.
So the Daily Mail's latest attack on the French President, by columnist Dominc Sandbrook shouldn't come as a surprise.
Sandbrook was particularly unhappy about Macron's alleged plan to block Britain's departure from the EU so that the country would simply have to reverse its decision through a second referendum.
Macron was a “foreign bully” and a “Parisian pygmy” and “a classic over-privileged Gallic politician”, who would meet his downfall at the hands of the British just like his hero Napolean did at Waterloo and Trafalgar, the writer said.
Yes, absolute xenophobic 'drivel' as many people pointed out.
— Kim Willsher (@kimwillsher1) October 5, 2018
Goodness, what a load of ill-informed, prejudiced drivel. Brexit doesn't even figure near the top of Macron's concerns right now, nor those of the French people, let alone threaten to humiliate him https://t.co/vbUYNmrPav via @MailOnline
— Sophie Pedder (@PedderSophie) October 5, 2018
The writer also seemed bizarrely taken a back and angered that France's Europe Minister Nathalie Loiseau for suggesting that a no-deal would be better for France than a deal that would penalise French businesses – making reference to Theresa May's so-called Chequers plan that the EU has rejected.
Has he forgotten that there are two sides involved in the Brexit talks? Just like the British Prime Minister Theresa May, who coined the phrase “no deal is better than a bad deal”, the French are simply looking out for their interests.
That's what happens in negotiations.
This is not the French hoping the worst for Britain or trying to punish the British people, it's just the French making sure they limit the negative effects of Brexit.
There is the view in Britain that the French are trying to profit from Brexit at the UK's expense. But the French are entitled to protect their interests and also compete with other EU nations like Germany or Ireland for the potential benefits of any fallout, hence their attempts to make Paris a more attractive place for bankers than Frankfurt or Dublin.
“We don't have a predatory vision when it comes to Brexit,” France's Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire told The Local recently. “It's not about taking jobs from the UK, it's about (making France) more attractive – all in the framework of fair competition.”
French are 'fearful, resentful and jealous of British'
But what was perhaps the most bizarre line of the paranoid jingoistic rant was the statement Macron was “pandering to the jealousy, resentment and fear with which so many French men and women peer anxiously across the Channel.”
Of all the French men and French women I have met, I can honestly say I have never met one who was either jealous, resentful or scared of British people.
And that was before Britain got bogged down in the shambles that has been Brexit.
Brits in France will no doubt have been asked many times by their compatriots back in the UK 'what the French make of Brexit?'
It's always a difficult question to answer, not because opinions are divided, but because the French just don't often talk about it.
The fact is, most of the time Britain's ungainly exit from the EU is just not top of their list of priorities and that goes for the press and the politicians too. The French people who do bring up the subject of Brexit are for the most part bemused, confused and relieved they are not the country ripping itself apart.
That view was shared by many on Twitter, with one person summing the French view up perfectly.
“They just don't get it. It's just one of those odd English things, like cricket, jelly or Morris dancing,” said Kevin Harigan.
The French never think about brexit. If I mention it, they look baffled. They don't get it. It's just one of those odd English things, like cricket or jelly or morris dancing.
— Kevin Harrigan ✌??#FBPE (@LeBouffre) October 5, 2018
I live in France and can tell you they have little interest in the UK .French people do what they have always done,love their country, their way of life and their families.If I mention Brexit to my neighbour Gilles he looks https://t.co/Uz08RNLswS Dr asks if we have gone mad ?
— Erdmute Wendlinger D (@ErdmuteD) October 6, 2018
True. I've spoken to lots of French people in the UK and in France. Almost every one (not all but more than 95%) say openly that it is bonkers. They cannot understand what the UK is doing to ourselves.
— We Can Stop Brexit (@newpaulhearn) October 7, 2018
As Brexit reaches its denouement over the coming weeks and months before Britain and the EU go their separate ways on March 29th, French interest will no doubt increase, but Dominic Sandbrook, the Daily Mail and people in Britain should know that it won't be provoking any fear, resentment or jealousy on this side of the Channel.