Anne-Elisabeth Moutet writing at TheTelegraphUK:
Asterix and Obelix have deserted Gaul. Or at least the two actors who played them in three blockbuster movies have. With Gérard “Obelix” Depardieu’s much-trumpeted exile to Belgium last week, following Christian “Asterix” Clavier’s move to London in October, France has lost her best-known fictional heroes, undefeated by Julius Caesar’s legions, but vanquished by François Hollande’s punitive new 75 per cent top marginal income tax rate, recently hiked capital gains tax, and reinforced wealth tax.
The symbolism has not been lost on the French. When France’s richest man, Bernard Arnault, the CEO and main shareholder of the luxury behemoth LVMH, applied for Belgian citizenship last August, it was easy for Socialists to paint him as an unpatriotic, despicable fat cat. “Get lost, you rich b------” blasted a headline on the front page of Libération, the Left-wing daily, effectively capturing the national mood.
But Depardieu is a vastly different proposition from a wealthy tycoon and former asset-stripper whose children’s weddings warrant 10-page spreads in society magazines. When Jean-Marc Ayrault, France’s prime minister, contemptuously called him “a pathetic loser”, Depardieu shot back with an open letter published on Sunday. “I was born in 1948,” he wrote, “I started working aged 14, as a printer, as a warehouseman, then as an actor, and I’ve always paid my taxes.” Over 45 years, Depardieu said, he had paid 145 million euros in tax, and to this day employs 80 people. Last year he paid taxes amounting to 85 per cent of his income. “I am neither worthy of pity nor admirable, but I shall not be called 'pathetic’,” he concluded, saying that he was sending back his French passport.....