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back to article Bretons turn on Britons

If Jamie Oliver or Rick Stein were thinking of exporting their talents to Brittany, they might want to rethink their culinary imperialism plan. According to the Telegraph, it's not just the Cornish who have taken exception to "incomers" forcing up house prices and alienating the locals - Breton "extremists" have a similarly …

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They could consider themselves lucky

A few years ago, Breton extremists blew up a McDonald's fast foot restauraunt, killing one of the employees, but this really is not the norm over here...

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Title

"We called it Le Rendezvous and took care to write all the signs in French."

Ah, but they speak Breton there as well ... In that part of the world, nearly all signage is bilingual, which could be taken as a clue of some sort.

Either way, it illustrates that you'll run across wannabe extremists wherever you go - living in deepest, darkest Wales for 8 years taught me that; despite the fact that I spoke Welsh, very few of the so-called hardcore didn't see past the fact that I was English.

It's all quite sad though - last time I was in Brittany, admittedly a few years ago, I found the people to be amazingly friendly even though I was speaking French with a pronounced Middlesborough accent ;-)

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Oldest enemies.

We should start a full on invasion because then the french will simply surrender and start collaborating with us.

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This being 2007...

Shouldn't the correct headline be "France devastated by terrorist car bomb"? For extra Brownie points, include the words "Al-Qaida" and "Iraq" throughout the text.

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Ash

300% housing price increase?

What are they moaning about?! Surely increased housing prices mean the ones that move in won't be scummy chavs from Hartlepool looking for a cheap holiday home, and anyone who doesn't like it there can move out and pocket a wad of cash in the process!

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Britons, English or Brits?

So just to clarify, are the "incomers" in the article a) Britons, b) "a large population of English" or c) Brits? As a Scot I personaly wouldn't describe myself as any of the above but I realise us lot and the Welsh are often times seen as Britons or Brits by other nations. Just wondered what the facts behind the article are. Anyone know?

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Not typical Bretons

Further to Simon's comment above, my Dad has a house in central Brittany, and everyone we know is amazingly friendly. It's possibly still the funniest thing ever hearing my Dad speak Breton-accented French.

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Ash asked ...

What's wrong with 300% price increases ?

Well it really screws the local economy and social structure for starters ! I live near the Lake District and you'll hear the same complaints - principally that "people with money" move in and drive up the prices (I also heard exactly the same thing about the Cotswolds when I lived that way for a couple of years). Nothing wrong with that if you are selling, but what if you are trying to buy and your wages are typical rural wages and not 'big city banker' wages ? The simple fact is that for locals, if you didn't already own your house many, many years ago then you have no expectation of ever being able to afford in the future.

The effect is that for youngsters born in the Lake District, they are going to be forced to move out to find somewhere to live. This drains the local economy and social structure of young people. In the case of places like the Cotswolds, the villages end up as dormitories for people from London, with all the effects it has on the local social structure.

It's not a new issue and it will occur anywhere where there is a disparity between costs and travel becomes practical. What suppressed it in the past was the difficulty of travel, but as that becomes ever easier then the problem shifts around - I gather the same effect is happening in Eastern Europe now.

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Not nationalists - le resistance

"Local property prices have rocketed by 300 per cent since Brits began their invasion"

1. Wouldn't you be upset if you couldn't afford to buy a house in your own village because it costs 3 times more than before the "invaders" arrived?

2. Breizh Nationalists don't like the French, let alone les rosbifs

3. A French complaint against the English is that they import everything (even their own Polish builders!) so don't support the local economy. A restaurant called Le Rendezvous sounds like it is - literally - a meeting place for other English, thus recycling English money back to the English owners rather than the existing local places.

I have had a place in France (not Brittany) for over twenty years without the slightest hint of trouble, but then I buy everything locally, ask the neighbours to recommend local service people, sent the kids to the local playgroups when they were younger, and I'm "the only anglais in the village". Having a French wife helps too, though the locals still call us both "Les anglais".

I do think that this sort of thing will increase though as Brits set up anglophone ghettoes in small French villages, even in our region. Why is it that when we go abroad we try and recreate Blighty in every corner of a foreign field? Must be the colonial attitude.

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From Scarborough!

After living in Scarborough myself for years, I would feel like doing the same their car! :o)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Scotishness...

"So just to clarify, are the "incomers" in the article a) Britons, b) "a large population of English" or c) Brits? As a Scot I personaly wouldn't describe myself as any of the above but I realise us lot and the Welsh are often times seen as Britons or Brits by other nations. Just wondered what the facts behind the article are. Anyone know?"

Humm... Just a couple of points

1) Its Bretons not Britons, as in people from Britonie. Not the british

2) You are British weather you like it or not.

3) Go and look up why Scotland and England are part of the same country. It wasen't the English who did that, it was a Scotish King.

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Two sides to every story...

@11:04: " near the Lake District and you'll hear the same complaints - principally that "people with money" move in and drive up the prices"

Or to put it another way, "Locals who saw a chance for a big profit increased the asking prices of their houses to sucker the incomers".

There's nothing to stop a local houseowner selling his or her house at a reasonable price to a young local couple, instead of at an inflated price to an incomer. Of course they wouldn't get rich that way, so it's easier to take the money, then whinge until someone firebombs the new guy. Nice.

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Kernowek

Considering the Bretons and the Cornish are essentially two halves of the same "tribe"; the languages are basically the same, Breton and Kernowek - and only a couple of steps removed from Welsh - is it any surprise they don't take kindly to English incomers... the Cornish hate it and so do the Bretons.

And taking care to "write all the signs in French" is a little like moving to Cornwall and taking care to write all the signs in English - a little local knowledge might have gone a long way rather than blundering in with that wonderfully condescending, superior English attitude.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Britons, English or Brits?

"By Rory Milne Posted Monday 9th July 2007 10:26 GMT

So just to clarify, are the "incomers" in the article a) Britons, b) "a large population of English" or c) Brits? As a Scot I personaly wouldn't describe myself as any of the above but I realise us lot and the Welsh are often times seen as Britons or Brits by other nations. Just wondered what the facts behind the article are. Anyone know?"

Clue: What nationality does stated on your passport? I bet it isn't 'Scottish'.

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Anonymous Coward

A sad statistic

In France, the national average is about 90 cars burnt a night... so I suppose this just dissapears into the fray. At least these Bretons know how to make a car blow up... not like over here...

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I can't follow ... anecdotal evidence

Actually, I used to have a house in Southern France; in a place where I mingled easily wirth the locals. Very nice, very friendly.

Three houses further, the place was owned by some Bretons who turned up usually pour les vacances. Funnily enough, *these* used to be called 'les étrangers'. 'Putain', I said, the foreigner, hey, c'est moi, the ugly German ! - No, I was told, the word meant étrange, literally, and I surely wasn't. But they were, since they didn't participate in the village activities. Therefore no matter of same nationality or langauge when calling someone l'étranger.

I wished everyone had the same level of education that was displayed by that simple farmer.

Still miss the place very much ... :(

The house was bought by some Brits. I'm afraid, there are now some more étrangers living in said village ... .

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What is French for "redneck"

I thought you Europeans were above this sort of thing. Can't you just put this all behind you and get back to hating us Americans?

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Rising housing prices same here in states.

"I gather the same effect is happening in Eastern Europe now."

We see the same thing happening here in the States. Only reason I can afford to build in the mountains outside of Albuquerque, NM is because it's family land, handed down from Grandfather. Our family's always had the rule that you only sell property to other family members but finally, things have gotten so expensive (building permits, required site improvements (2 lane 24' wide road in our ) materials, wells, etc.) that a lot of family can't afford to build here. The first non-family sale of land will happen later this year. My cousin will then be able to build the next county over (with an extra 30 miles of commute to town).

Luckily, all the car fires and crime happen in town so moving further out doesn't seem that bad of a thing, to myself.

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Not to worry.

The Bretons feel the same way about Parisiens as they do about British invaders. If they try to fit in and actually participate in local life, including hiring and buying locally, it's a lot less of a problem. By bitching that all their signs were in French, in Callac of all places (heart of Bretagne, etc.) and not making any effort to write their signs in Breton, as foreign invaders they set themselves up for failure.

The Bretons had a tremendous reputation in the French Resistance for getting the job done. Just because the weak-kneed Parisiens gave up without a fight doesn't mean the Bretons were about to. That tradition still holds.

Well, that or it was the fact that there is really nothing to do in Callac other than torch the foreigners car...

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Bronze badge

Us and them

I think a lot of people miss the point in cases like this . It is not about local politics or whether you mix in with the locals , speak the same language or have even married a local. It is about territorialism or us and them, if you travel around England you will see it in our footy team and theirs, our town and theirs or even our pub not theirs they aint from round here. Some people in some places are very territorial whilst others are not. Of course occasionally you do find a whole bloody country full of them but it rains too much in Wales for me to live there so I'm not bothered.

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Anonymous Coward

Brezhoneg e Breizh!

Gant paneloù divyezhek Brezhoneg/Galleg e vije bet gwelloc’h, da'm meno...

With bilingual Breton/French sings it would be better, I think...

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Silver badge

If you ask me...

...it would have been safer to open a restaurant in Baghdad.

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Bretons !!

Last time I was in that part of the world, I saw *THREE* restaurants plastered all over with large Chinese words !! They looked very popular with the locals too !! Could it be that they purchase large quantities of local ducks and pork for the roasting ??

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Meh.

This is what happens when you stop keeping people with the mentality of medieval peasants in their place. I hate this fucking tribal mentality that breaks out at the slightest excuse. Hello, twenty-first century?

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Re: Britons, English or Brits?

"It wasen't the English who did that, it was a Scotish King."

Learn to spell and I might consider addressing your "point".

"What nationality does stated on your passport?"

Learn a little grammar and I might consider addressing your "point".

Meanwhile from the lack of intelligent response to my question I suppose I'll have to live without knowing if the "incomers" in the article are English as the article quotes Linsey Widd from Scarborough as saying, Britons as the Article's headline suggests or Brits as the article quotes the Telegraph as reporting.

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Anonymous Coward

Identity

If it is possible for someone to buy a place in what they deem to be a pleasant part of a country and are willing to travel or work hard in order to earn the money to pay for it then fair play.

If you want to live in a popular location you have to pay the premium.

This world is getting smaller, there is no escaping it.

England is renowned for its diversity of culture and it has pros and cons.

Without diversity, we become stale.

With diversity, we lose identity.

We are territorial by nature, yet we must adapt how we perceive our territory to embrace this age of remote working, holiday homes and professional footballers.

If your house has beautiful views of cascading waterfalls, rolling countrysides or snow-capped mountains - congratulations! But don't expect your children to be able to afford the house next door without some sacrifice.

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Law

Re: Britons, English or Brits?

"It wasen't the English who did that, it was a Scotish King."

Learn to spell and I might consider addressing your "point".

"What nationality does stated on your passport?"

Learn a little grammar and I might consider addressing your "point".

Meanwhile from the lack of intelligent response to my question I suppose I'll have to live without knowing if the "incomers" in the article are English as the article quotes Linsey Widd from Scarborough as saying, Britons as the Article's headline suggests or Brits as the article quotes the Telegraph as reporting.

--------------------------------------------------------------

I'm English, my wife is Scottish, her family are mainly Scottish, with a bit of Swiss/Irish in there... my family are English, but with Scottish heritage and some Irish/Welsh mixed in... so what will that make our kids? Either some crazy percentage system that is English/Scottish/Irish/Welsh/Swiss.... or British?

My brother in law was born in China while his Scottish mother and father were there, they lived there for a few years, he spoke one of the chinese languages (dont know which) first, then english second... he's spent most of his adult life in England working at studying... so what is he? To most people - it isn't a big question.

This wasn't even a Scottish/English issue... its a Breton/British issue... so why ask a stupid question then wonder why nobody gives you a sensible answer!! Expected with perfect grammer no less.

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Re: Identity.

"don't expect your children to be able to afford the house next door without some sacrifice"

Something to bare in mind would be that (in general) areas with "cascading waterfalls, rolling countrysides or snow-capped mountains" will have a far lower average wage than that in built up, densely populated urban areas. In other words when large population migrations of well off inhabitants of major urban areas to smaller scenic areas occur this leads to local inhabitants offspring having to leave the area they have been brought up in as they can't afford to get on the property ladder. This isn't an introduction of diversity it's population displacement.

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Anonymous Coward

@Law

"I'm English, my wife is Scottish, her family are mainly Scottish, with a bit of Swiss/Irish in there... my family are English, but with Scottish heritage and some Irish/Welsh mixed in... so what will that make our kids? Either some crazy percentage system that is English/Scottish/Irish/Welsh/Swiss.... or British?"

I'm not fully disagreeing, but pointing out that the Irish only counts as British if

A) It's Northern Irish (and not Ulster, as so many, including that Paisley fellow, seem to think), and

B) even then, there's contention depending on political views on whether it's a forced settlement/ancient history...

But largely your point makes good sense. And anyone posting that all nations need the balance between strength in diversity and maintaining a sense of identity is OK in my book.

MikeC

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Re: Law

"This wasn't even a Scottish/English issue... its a Breton/British issue... so why ask a stupid question then wonder why nobody gives you a sensible answer!!"

I didn't say it was a Scottish/English issue, read my posts properly. The article quotes someone as saying the "incomers" are English but has a headline that suggests they are Britons and quotes the Telegraph as saying they are Brits. English is NOT the same as British. England is one just one part of Britain. If the "incomers" are English as the woman who was interviewed suggests then that is one situation, if she made a mistake and in fact the "incomers" are a range of English, Scottish and Welsh people as the article's headline would tend to imply then that is a second situation. All I asked for was clarification. It's a perfectly reasonable question to ask and it's perfectly reasonable to expect a sensible answer. Incidently I don't expect perfect grammer but above b-movie zombie level would be nice. "What nationality does stated on your passport?" isn't even primary school level.

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This English / British issue..

"So just to clarify, are the "incomers" in the article a) Britons, b) "a large population of English" or c) Brits? As a Scot I personaly wouldn't describe myself as any of the above but I realise us lot and the Welsh are often times seen as Britons or Brits by other nations. Just wondered what the facts behind the article are. Anyone know?"

The population of the UK was 60 Million mid 2005, and the population split goes as follows:

England, 84% of the population, Wales, 5%, scotland, 8.5% and N. Ireland 2.5%.

Consider the richest part of the UK by a fair stretch is the south east of England and that geographically it's far far closer to Brittany then any of the others.

I think it'd be fair to assume the vast majority of those buying homes in northern France (to live or as holiday homes) will be English (excepting the French of course).

Though i think it's mostly a pointless conversation, because those English living there are British, just as the scottish, Welsh and Northen Irish are - regardless of which part of Britain they live / were born / have some vague claim to belonging.

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Re: This English / British issue..

"Though i think it's mostly a pointless conversation, because those English living there are British, just as the scottish, Welsh and Northen Irish are - regardless of which part of Britain they live / were born / have some vague claim to belonging."

The rest of your comment makes perfect sense but the above paragraph misses my point. It goes without saying that the English "incomers" living in Brittany can be described as British - but since they are exclusively English then the article can be more specific by describing them as such. If for example we were talking about a group of exclusively Italian "incomers" would the article describe them as Europeans or Italians? If we were talking about a group of exclusively Argentine "incomers" would the article describe them as South Americans or Argentine? The answer to both questions is obvious and takes no thinking about. Of course all articles could be no more specific than describe groups of people in relation to which island, continent or land mass they originate from rather than which country but it would be both ridiculous and confusing. Who could make sense of something like "today the leader of a country somewhere in Europe said they strongly disagreed with the fishing policies of another country somewhere in Europe" or "a statue was unveiled today celebrating the world famous 1966 world cup victory of a country located somewhere in Britain". If a certain percentage of people within the British Isles, Northern Ireland, the Falkland Islands, Gibraltar, etc. all describe their nationality as British then that's absolutely fine by me. If a certain percentage of people in France, Germany, Spain, Italy, etc. describe their nationality as European then that's fine by me too. But for the sake of clarification news regardless of which medium it's published in really needs to differentiate between a group that's exclusively English and a group who could all reasonably be called British but not English. The occasions when a differentiation isn't made is exactly why there is a recognised English / British issue.

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Anonymous Coward

FAO: Rory Milne

Posted Wednesday 11th July 2007 11:56 GMT "Incidently I don't expect perfect grammer but above b-movie zombie level would be nice. "What nationality does stated on your passport?" isn't even primary school level."

-

It was a fucking typo - I was too quick on the 'Post Comment' button after changing "What nationality does it say on your passport?" to "What nationality is stated on your passport?".

Oh, and for the record I'm Scottish. But guess what, I'm also British (just like it states on my passport). Is that alright with you, Rory-boy?

Jeeezus, I'm starting to hate the 'moaning Scot' types almost as much as I hate the 'little England' types...

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FAO: David Corbett

"It was a fucking typo - I was too quick on the 'Post Comment' button after changing "What nationality does it say on your passport?" to "What nationality is stated on your passport?".

Don't be so sensitive, have a sense of humour, you just made yourself any easy target for me to poke fun at.

"Jeeezus, I'm starting to hate the 'moaning Scot' types almost as much as I hate the 'little England' types..."

I suppose I'm just not the type to shut up and put up with things.

"Oh, and for the record I'm Scottish. But guess what, I'm also British (just like it states on my passport). Is that alright with you, Rory-boy?"

I'm fine with you or anyone else being Scottish and British, none of my posts have suggested otherwise. I myself consider my nationality to be Scottish, I base this on the fact that Scotland is the nation I was born in. If an argument is made that Britain is a nation rather than an island housing 3 nations then by definition Scotland, England and Wales must be something less than nations. That's not an opinion I hold or will ever hold. If someone calls me British or puts British on my passport in reference to the fact that Britain is the island I live on or calls me European or puts European on my passport because geographically I live in Europe then I can live with that, I wouldn't have a huge smile on my face but I've been called worse names. Just as long as they realise that I will always consider my nationality to be Scottish and nothing else but Scottish.

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