There are also one or two who are considering or have considered coming here/coming back here to live, and I have been struck by the fact that one of the doubts they express most about the idea is that France and the French may have "changed for the worse". I have my own opinions on that of course, and they are expressed elsewhere in this blog's content, but I thought that today I'd post the results of a survey by the Ipsos Institute with the aid of other institutions called 'France: the new fractures'.
Here they are, and I'm not going to comment them in any way, apart from saying that they have been published in almost all of the French online press outlets and are resulting in a lot of debate. So, have France and the French changed for the worse over the years?
France and its place in the world
Over 50% of those surveyed think that 'the decline of France is inevitable' in both economic and cultural terms. Even more - 3 out of 5 - consider globalisation to be 'a threat to France', that 'France should do more to protect itself from the rest of the world', and, concerning Europe, that France should 'reinforce its decision-making powers, even if that means limiting those of Europe'.
Over 70% think that 'the democratic system in France functions rather badly', over 80% say that 'both male and female politicians act principally in their own personal interests' and 62% consider that 'most politicians' are corrupt.
'From distrust to rejection, withdrawal to fear of others, resentment to hostility and pessimism to catastrophism'
The survey's authors consider that the results indicate that 'the sentiment of fear is now profound' and that Poujadism (the defence of the common man against the elites, the rejection of modernism, and anti-intellectualism) has taken hold in the country over the last 30 years. They add that there is another, complementary, sentiment which pits identitarianism against authoritarianism..
86% of people think that 'authority is a value which is criticised too often', and 87% believe that 'France needs a real boss who can restore order' in the country'.
Foreigners, Muslims and increasing tensions
The study found that 70% of people think that 'there are too many foreigners in France' and just over 60% consider that French people 'don't feel at home in their own country like they did before'. There is much negative feeling vis-à-vis Muslims, with 74% of people saying that they tend to 'take over the jobs of French people'. Muslims are often associated with 'integrists' and the Muslim religion is said by 3 out of 4 people to be 'intolerant and incompatible with French society.'
Those are the results, and I would be interested to read what you think of them.