Britain's Blair recalls doomed French love
Britain's ex-prime minister Tony Blair struggled as a reserved Englishman to relate to a former French sweetheart, he wrote in the French edition of his memoirs published Wednesday.
"One day I fell in love with a Frenchwoman. She was passionate and I was rather... English," Blair wrote in a preface to the French edition of his book, "A Journey", published worldwide on Wednesday. He did not name the woman.
"I thought I would never manage to understand her. She thought it was useless to try. 'Stop thinking and learn to enjoy yourself,' she often said," wrote Blair, who now has four children with his wife Cherie Blair.
"Looking back, perhaps she was right. Or perhaps we were both right," he wrote of his erstwhile French sweetheart.
Blair, who speaks good French and spent time in France as a young man before entering politics, tells in the book of his love of the country and writes fondly of its former president Jacques Chirac.
The two former leaders clashed notably at the time of the launch of the Iraq war -- the key issue of Blair's time in office which forms the heart of his memoirs -- but Blair said it was a "myth" that he disliked Chirac.
"When I was prime minister I had political differences with France, but they never interfered with my love for it," he wrote in the French edition.
Blair also offered advice for Nicolas Sarkozy, France's current president who is suffering low poll ratings and a scandal over allegations of illegal party financing and conflicts of interest linked to his government.
"Public opinion will forgive him for his so-called luxurious lifestyle and the alleged 'scandals'," Blair wrote.
"But it will not forgive him if he forgets why he was elected -- not because he is a good guy, but because France wants to recover its grandeur."
© 2010 AFP