Letter of the week: Global dogfights coming to France

Agnès Poirier's article "New Huguenots with a love of danger" (France Special, 9 April) seems yet another shot in a systematic denigration of France that seeks to turn the country into the new sick man of Europe. Its thesis is that young French people are "protected and looked after from an early age by the mother state", which explains the exodus of so many of them to London, where they are free to exploit each other. Tell that to the underprivileged youth of the banlieues and see what reaction you get.

The fact is that only a very small number of young French people have the privilege of the protection she cites. It's not so much a question of "new Huguenots" as one of a return to 19th-century slash-and-burn capitalism.

In any case, if this is what they want, they have only to vote for either of the two main presidential candidates, as both Nicolas Sarkozy's and Ségolène Royal's projected changes to the French system of social protection will clear the way for the dogfights Poirier believes they want.

Jeffry Kaplow

London SE3

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