21 JUNE 1963, Page 9

La Vie Londonienne

Queequeg, who has been in Paris for a few days, writes: 'It would be too much to expect the average Frenchman not to be more than a little mocking over the Profumo case and sceptical about British ministers' professions of Ignorance of the facts. Of course, it is a little hard for them to understand why the affair has fluttered the dovecots to such effect. A country Where the phrase la mort de Felix Faure' corn- Ternorates, affectionately enough, the death of a President of the Republic in the arms of his Mistress and where a Speaker of the Assembly Was more recently found guilty of participation to entertainments where the piece de resistance was the famous ballets roses—ballets of girls, nubile but somewhat under age—is not going to tae the exact state of Mr. Profumo's relations With Miss Keeler too seriously. There remains an

amused appreciation of the fact that British politics have taken on a French note at the pre- cise moment when President de Gaulle's censori- ousness about the public image of his ministers is ensuring that no such vulgar contretemps should disturb his contemplation of eternal France. The present condition of the British Government is another matter. Immorality is not too damaging abroad; blundering and disarray are. The scarcely concealed joy of the Gaullist press is reserved more for what is taken to be a fatal political error on the part of Mr. Macmillan than for speculations about secre- taries of state swinging from the chandeliers. One has to be British to worry about the tone of British politics. Personally, I found reading the French press a rather humiliating experience!'