Le cop-out

Did he, or didn't he? Attentive readers will know that Graham Lane's New Year's resolution was to address the Local Government Association's conference this week in French.The LGA's education chair tells us his reading of the language has "considerably come on, but I need to speak it a bit better".

He considered attempting more than expressing regrets at the resignation of his erstwhile hero Lionel Jospin - the man who revived French socialism before losing to the far right - until someone pointed out that his audience would be a bit nonplussed. "That would be the greatest irony of all," he chuckled. "I would have needed a translator." A cop-out, or an insult to the linguistic talents of his audience?

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