Is French a useless language?

A British government official stated in the House of Commons that French is a useless language. He felt that British school kids should learn Mandarin and Arabic instead of French.

It seems to me that no language is useless, and certainly not the language of your neighbour, a country that at least one million Britons visit every year.
In contrast, very few Brits are going to need Mandarin or Arabic in their lifetimes. But none of these languages are useless.

In any case, most Brits are going to have no more luck with these other languages than they have had with French. But why not let learners choose the language they want to learn? Why should narrow minded self-important bureaucrats be making these decisions?

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