Friday, 15 February 2013

Omni Trium Perfectum?

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Those three words mean 'everything that comes in threes is perfect, or, every set of three is complete'. That's the reasoning behind the 'rule of three'. Well, things may come in threes, but they aren't always perfect, as three ongoing French news stories attest. It has been a decidedly bad news week here. But never fear, there's some good news too, which I'll save until last.

The first of these ongoing stories concerns the state of the French economy. With the Mali war fading into the media background, François Hollande and his government no longer have anything with which to distract the public's attention from dire economic news, and the press has been full of articles reminding him of that fact since Monday. The OECD has, for the first time, singled out France's employment legislation, which, they say, keeps millions of young and unqualified people out of a job. They also come down hard on the reluctance of French authorities to reform its economy and its tendency to try to tax and borrow its way out of the crisis. Growth has been flatlined for a year, the government has admitted that it can't meet its debt repayment schedules, and major redundancy programmes are being implemented by several multinational companies. Glum glum glum...

The second ongoing saga is that of the 'horsemeat for beef' scandal. It has been front page news for days, but I just read a thoroughly depressing story which explains how some of the companies involved plan to dispose of the massive amounts of fraudulent frozen, tinned and other products containing horsemeat that they have been forced to withdraw from supermarket shelves. The idea? Well, it appears that they want to give it to the poor and needy! Yes, you did just read that, they want to give it to the poor and needy. And this at the very moment when there is speculation that this kind of product may even contain donkey and/or mule meat.

What an utterly deplorable situation. Here we have food that is judged to be possibly unfit for supermarket shelves but which, we are told, is okay for the poor. Charitable organisations are considering the idea, and if they accept it we can expect the poor and homeless to be queuing up sometime soon in places like the 'Restaurants de Coeur', which serve cheap but hot meals to the homeless and poor. I cannot imagine a more cynical and shameful initiative. Many poor people feel humiliated enough as it is by the plight they find themselves in and this news isn't going to do anything to help their morale.

Lastly, France is seeing yet another spate of copycat suicide attempts. Three people have attempted to commit suicide by self-immolation in the last 48 hours, and another was stopped from doing so before he could set light to himself. The first person, an unemployed man whose right to benefit had expired,  poured petrol over himself and lit it outside a Job Centre in Nantes. He died from his injuries. The second, a "very lonely" unemployed man whose right to benefit had also expired, set himself alight this morning outside the apartment block in which he lived, but he was saved by passers-by and is now in hospital with severe burns. Also this morning a 16-year old boy set himself alight at school. He too was saved, by other children, and he suffered only minor burns. Finally, a fourth person threatened to set fire to himself outside a supermarket today but was prevented from doing so by emergency services.

So that, I'm afraid, is what's been front page news this week. But never mind, not all bad news comes in threes and, as promised, here is some positive news. This rule of three story is that I met an extremely charming lady recently and have spent three very happy evenings in her company in a week.

That news is not in the press however. After all - and as we know - good news doesn't sell. :)

And it is upon that upbeat note that I shall wish you, dear reader, a very happy weekend.


  1. I like the last news the best. Your Valentine's day must have been wonderful! Congratulations, I am very happy for you!
    France has to clean up its act regarding the economy. I am hoping Hollande will be kicked out of office. He obviously is not up to the task of governing.

    1. Hi Nadege, and yup, I had a great Valentine's Day thanks. The food at the restaurant we went to was okay, but the service was both obsequious and clumsy. Still, we didn't care, we just had a laugh at it all.. :)

      As to Hollande getting kicked out, if he doesn't start addressing the economy in a serious manner soon he may find himself in major trouble well before the next presidential elections. Time is running out for him to stop the country's disastrous slide downhill.

  2. Hi.

    They also say that these things come in threes so next week should be pretty rough as well.

    However, it's not often I disagree with you but I wasn't so shocked by the news that some of the frozen food might end up with charitable organisations.

    The food is perfectly safe for human consumption. It is a problem (albeit scandalous)of labelling fraud. Telling us we're getting something we're not. (It is "equestrian of trust". LOL) It's still safe to eat and I think it would be a real scandal to just simply dump all that perfectly edible food. Always the bargain hunter myself, if I was offered it at half price, I'd certainly buy some. But then I am pretty "radin".

    Ok, so maybe there's even some donkey in there, but let's not kid ourselves. The beef that would have been there wouldn't exactly have been prime sirloin. It would have been "mechanically recovered". i.e. basically blown off the bone using high pressure.

    And yes, there might be traces of "bute", the drug that's not allowed in the food chain, but is ok for horses. Well, I read that you'd need to be eating 500 lasagnes a day for it to show up in the human body, and there's still plenty of undesirable antibiotics in all the pork and chicken we eat anyway.

    So yes, it's another food scandal but I think it's been blown a little out of proportion. Would we be as shocked if we suddenly found out that some frozen chicken nuggets contained turkey? I think not. And so I think the charitble organisations would be very happy to accept those "chicken" nuggets. So why not the dodgy lasagnes?

    Hope I haven't annoyed you. I think it's good to have healthy disagreement from time to time, and we think alike in many respects.

    Delighted to hear that there's a charming new lady in your life. Is she French or English, or would that be prying?

    1. Hi Streaky and I have no problem whatsoever with beeing disagreed with. None whatsoever. After all, if I have the right to post my opinions on the Net then so do others. Besides, over the years I've been called anti-Arab, anti-Jewish, a communist, a fascist, a good analyst, an incapable analyst and much more. In other words, whatever people write, someone will always see things differently and that's completely normal..

      About Bute, I agree that the amount that will be found (and has been so far in fact) is tiny, and also that we can't expect sirloin in a €1 tin of cannelloni. Still, even poor people have the right to know what they're getting for their money. Ah well, worse things happen at sea I suppose, and at least this isn't comparable to Mad Cow Disease.

      Oh, and the lady? She is French. Besides, the chances of me having an English girlfriend are very slim indeed because I tend not to frequent places where expat Brits spend their time. Not because I don't like them of course, it's just that as I live in France I'd rather live 'à-la-française' and get to know France ad the French as well as I can. After all, what's the point of living here and eating baked beans on toast whilst drinking a pint of Tetleys and reading the Sun! :)

  3. I found another political blog (in the US). I need another country and I will be set.
    (I have to weed out from my list, blogs that have become uninteresting).
    It is 80 F outside. I am out of here!