Britain's former minister for Europe Chris Bryant—apparently feeling free to annoy the French now that his Labour party is out of power—described the French language as "useless" in a debate on language education yesterday. Young people, Bryant said, should be steered away from "useless modern foreign languages" like French and encouraged to learn Mandarin, Spanish, Portuguese, and Arabic.
Bryant rejected Conservative accusations that he was insulting Britain's neighbors, the Telegraph reports. "I've said this to the French. They realize there are problems," Bryant said. French was useful 30 or 40 years ago when it was the language of diplomacy, he said, but now, "it certainly isn't."