Au revoir, les taxes

Will lingerie model Laetitia Casta, appointed symbol of the French Republic, decamp to England to flee taxes?

Topics: France, Taxes, England, British Election,

France has seen its share of traitors, but none as resplendent, contemporary and breasty as Laetitia Casta. The news that the recently appointed symbol of the French Republic (aka Marianne) was moving to London set off a wave of political protest and a trans-channel volley of old-time Franco-British rivalry.

French politicians and social pundits resoundingly went on record to denounce Casta’s move as a way of avoiding the country’s astronomically high taxes. (The debate around the virtues of socialism — or how to strike a balance between too many taxes and not enough social protection — is an old one here.) The minister of the interior publicly declared that once settled in London, Casta would be dismayed to find higher rents, an unreliable subway system and substandard hospital care, while another politician went so far as to suggest that Casta’s potential departure is a sign of the imminent failure of socialism.

Casta is not alone in fleeing France, where the system is so complex, top-heavy and overburdened that it is almost impossible to manifest entrepreneurial spirit on any practical level without risking personal bankruptcy. From classic businessmen to film personalities like Alain Delon, the slow draining of French capital and talent into England has been going on for decades. Unfortunately for Casta, this leggy, busty, handsomely remunerated top model carries a heavy civic burden toward her compatriots as the new Marianne, and her departure to the shores of an ancient enemy is seen as the ultimate betrayal.



Casta has been backpedaling lately, suggesting that she is buying an apartment in London because she works — and has a boyfriend — in the city. But should Casta’s whereabouts be so high on the French national agenda? Shouldn’t this curvaceous well-heeled young woman have the right to spend her money as she sees fit? Many in her ranks believe so, including Brigitte Bardot. Another buxom blond ex-Marianne, Bardot made it very clear that if she could leave France for England she would do so without a moment’s hesitation.

In the end, the political hand-wringing over the Casta affair is overwhelmingly about taxes — a clear sign that despite all prevailing myths to the contrary, one of the most important things in France (perhaps, but only perhaps, after sex) is money.

Debra Ollivier, a contributor to Mothers Who Think: Tales of Real Life Parenting, is the author of "Entre Nous: A Woman's Guide to Finding Her Inner French Girl." Her work has appeared in numerous publications including Harper's, Playboy, Le Monde and Les Inrockuptibles.

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 17
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails
    John Stanmeyer

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Container City: Shipping containers, indispensable tool of the globalized consumer economy, reflect the skyline in Singapore, one of the world’s busiest ports.

    Lu Guang

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Man Covering His Mouth: A shepherd by the Yellow River cannot stand the smell, Inner Mongolia, China

    Carolyn Cole/LATimes

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Angry Crowd: People jostle for food relief distribution following the 2010 earthquake in Haiti

    Darin Oswald/Idaho Statesman

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    “Black Friday” Shoppers: Aggressive bargain hunters push through the front doors of the Boise Towne Square mall as they are opened at 1 a.m. Friday, Nov. 24, 2007, Boise, Idaho, USA

    Google Earth/NOAA, U.S. Navy, NGA, GEBCO

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Suburban Sprawl: aerial view of landscape outside Miami, Florida, shows 13 golf courses amongst track homes on the edge of the Everglades.

    Garth Lentz

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Toxic Landscape: Aerial view of the tar sands region, where mining operations and tailings ponds are so vast they can be seen from outer space; Alberta, Canada

    Cotton Coulson/Keenpress

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Ice Waterfall: In both the Arctic and Antarctic regions, ice is retreating. Melting water on icecap, North East Land, Svalbard, Norway

    Yann Arthus-Bertrand

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Satellite Dishes: The rooftops of Aleppo, Syria, one of the world’s oldest cities, are covered with satellite dishes, linking residents to a globalized consumer culture.

    Stephanie Sinclair

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Child Brides: Tahani, 8, is seen with her husband Majed, 27, and her former classmate Ghada, 8, and her husband in Hajjah, Yemen, July 26, 2010.

    Mike Hedge

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Megalopolis: Shanghai, China, a sprawling megacity of 24 Million

    Google Earth/ 2014 Digital Globe

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Big Hole: The Mir Mine in Russia is the world’s largest diamond mine.

    Daniel Dancer

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Clear-cut: Industrial forestry degrading public lands, Willamette National Forest, Oregon

    Peter Essick

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Computer Dump: Massive quantities of waste from obsolete computers and other electronics are typically shipped to the developing world for sorting and/or disposal. Photo from Accra, Ghana.

    Daniel Beltra

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Oil Spill Fire: Aerial view of an oil fire following the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil disaster, Gulf of Mexico

    Ian Wylie

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Slide 13

    Airplane Contrails: Globalized transportation networks, especially commercial aviation, are a major contributor of air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Photo of contrails in the west London sky over the River Thames, London, England.

    R.J. Sangosti/Denver Post

    Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot

    Fire: More frequent and more intense wildfires (such as this one in Colorado, USA) are another consequence of a warming planet.

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

0 Comments

Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>