On Saturday morning, in the run-up to Act XIII or XIV (I’ve lost count) of the gilets-jaunes insurrection, I was sitting in our local café with my wife ploughing through an interview in Le Figaro with the French philosopher Alain Finkielkraut. The 69-year-old, who later that day would be accosted outside his Paris home by pro-Palestinian zealots, is one of France’s go-to guys when it comes to what everything means. You name it, he’s got an opinion on it, often expressed on tv alongside others of the usual suspects made up of academics and opinionated journalists of left and right.

The son of a Polish Jew who survived Auschwitz, Finkielkraut is a libertarian, left-leaning zionist, who, as it happens, supports a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine question. He distrusts multiculturalism and positive discrimination. Notoriously, he criticised France’s World Cup-winning football squad for being not “black, blanc, beur” (black, white, Arab), but “black, black, black”. Anti-semitism gets his goat, as do violent attacks on the police in France. But when the gilets-jaunes began their protests last November, he spoke out in their favour because he felt that ordinary French people were getting a raw deal from their government.