Monday, 4 February 2013

Let them eat cake

Here is a summary of what both the French government and opposition have been doing since last week to tackle urgent national issues such as rocketing unemployment and the disastrous state of the economy, issues which are at the top of the electorate's list of priorities. It shall be a short summary, very short indeed, because what they have been doing is.... nothing. Absolutely nothing whatsoever. Worse, nothing shall be done for at least another two weeks either.

Not that the country's politicians have been lying around on Californian beaches drinking Pina Coladas of course. On the contrary, the French parliament has been working flat out for three days now. In fact it has quite literally been working almost 24 hours a day, and this infernal rhythm shall continue for two more weeks. Impressive? Let's see.

The government has been, as the constitution demands of it, wading through and systematically rejecting over 5000 proposed amendments to the gay marriage bill which were submitted by the opposition in a futile effort to slow down and disrupt the the ongoing debate and vote on it. Here are a few of those amendments, chosen (almost) at random.

One seeks to introduce a clause to the gay marriage law which would legalise polygamy. Another proposes that it be made possible for three, four, or even more people to get married to each other. There's one which suggests that brothers and sisters should be allowed to marry, and another which would permit uncles to marry their nieces and aunts to marry their nephews. And let's not forget the amendment which would grant children the right to marry each other, nor the idea of giving the go-ahead to marriage between adults and underaged children - in other words, legalising pedophilia. And just in case the reader may think that Fripouille has gone insane and made it all up, here's a link to an article which lists these proposals and more.

This, ladies and gents, is what parliament shall spend weeks doing. This is what taxpayers here are paying for. But is it what French voters wanted for their money? Let's check out the polls and see.

All polls and research into the desires of French voters clearly demonstrate that they want this government and parliament to prioritise the fight against unemployment, the protection of the poor and vulnerable, the fight against crime, the protection of social services and - in a more general sense - getting the country's disastrous economy back on track.

Not that the politicians seem to care. The government has allowed unemployment figures to soar to their highest levels in 20 years whilst simultaneously scaring foreign investment away via abusive state intervention in industrial conflicts which includes threats to (re)nationalise them. They are also robbing Peter to pay Paul and vice-versa in the form of taxes which are being used to borrow more money and increase debt without tackling any of the root causes which put the country in the dire situation in which it finds itself. Upcoming legislation includes a bill which would ban the word 'race' from the Constitution, as if the government doesn't have anything better to do. This is why the morale of French citizens is lower than I have ever seen it in the 25 years I have lived here.

The opposition? The only things the opposition has "contributed" to getting the country back on its feet are a fratricidal leadership spat which has left the main opposition party, the UMP directionless, and the list of 5000 spurious amendments I mentioned above to drag out opposition to a bill which has nothing to do with the economy or the general-well being of the population.

As for the president, he has been busy congratulating himself during a two-day visit to Mali after the French military had reached its objectives in its war against Islamic terrorist groups there without for as much eliminating the threat it went there to eliminate. He said 'this is the most important day of my political life'. But he wasn't elected to preen and play peacocks, he was elected to address the serious problems which are facing his country and its people.

Hollande, like his government and the opposition, have done almost nothing to address these problems, the problems they were elected by the people to deal with, so busy are they wasting precious time with their ineffective legislative tinkering, frontal opposition tactics and other irrelevant shenanigans. Their shamefully dismissive attitude towards the aspirations of their people is probably best summed up by the words;

'Let them eat cake'.


  1. I think that when there are problems at home that the government does not like to try and resolve, a little war overseas is always something they like to do. It was the same with Bush and Iraq. I don’t think it helped much.

    1. Yup, people seem to like a good old ideologicall-justified war to focus upon and forget about their domestic issues. Bush's war, as you mentioned, France's suicidal Algerian War, begun as it was to restore national pride, and although nobody would contest Britain's right to force Argentinian troops off the Falklands, diplomacy which would have worked was overriden by Thatcher, who gave the go-ahead to sinking the Belgrano and making her convenient war an inevitability.

      In fact, when you think about it, most wars are of this nature.....

  2. A convenient war : I like that term!

    1. Ah, you know Nadege, we've all had our convenient little wars. Presidents and PM's declare them when the economy is bad, sure, but we individual people have all declared them too in a way, at one time or another. You know, like when you're a teenager and blame your parents for your inability to grow up and get real, or when you had a shit day at work and felt angry which is why you got into a major argument with the guy next to you at the bar.

      We often fight convenient little wars, because we like convenient scapegoats to blame for our own, inconvenient, troubles.....