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I once looked into requalifying as a notaire in France. "Yes, that will be fine, Mr Crawford, but you will of course have to do all the exams a Frenchman would have to take and spend seven years following the qualification process". I gave up. I had imagined that there would be some sort of fast track test plus six months in an office getting in everyone's way, rather as we have.

So good luck with that one, Mr Soames. I would be very interested to learn how you get on.

PS And wasn't it a complicated series of European alliances which dragged us into WW1 where everyone guaranteed everyone else's territorial integrity, plus the Treaty of London, 1838, guaranteeing Belgium's neutrality? I seem to recall that it was, plus the Liberal's fear of a split which would have let the Tories back into power. (Not for nothing was Asquith called 'squiffy' as he spent half his day 'under the influence'.)

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