On Wednesday, as Britain’s government unveiled plans to slash public spending, eliminate nearly half a million jobs and raise the retirement age from 65 to 66, the British largely resisted the urge to follow the lead of their French neighbors and flood the streets in angry and sporadically violent protest at the austerity measures.

On Tuesday night, after hundreds of thousands of French citizens joined the protests against a proposal to raise that nation’s retirement age from 60 to 62, a correspondent for Britain’s Channel 4 News, Jonathan Rugman, reported from Paris:

I’m wondering if this isn’t Nicholas Sarkozy’s poll tax moment — whether his proposal to raise the minimum legal age of retirement to 62 hasn’t made him as unpopular as the poll tax made Margaret Thatcher 20 years ago.

Mr. Rugman’s observation, that the anger in France over Mr. Sarkozy’s pension reforms reminds him of the rage expressed on London’s streets in March 1990 — in response to a tax proposed by Margaret’s Thatcher’s government — underscores the stark contrast between the reaction of French and British citizens to this week’s parallel announcements of austerity measures in the two countries. Read full article in New York Times...