Sunday, 14 April 2013

The hysterical extremism of French political discourse is reaching dangerous proportions

A recent anti-gay marriage demo in Paris
As one would expect in a country as cultivated and sophisticated as France, its politicians are erudite, elegant and highly refined in their manner of going about their work and they are to be congratulat

No no no, that's wrong so let's begin again shall we?

French politics and politicians already have the reputation of being amongst the most vicious and violent in the Western world, but recent events have shown that they are now plumbing new depths of frenziedly abject conduct, the likes of which hasn't been seen since Nazi Germany.

"Nazi Germany?" you ask? Don't take my word for it, and here are some examples of what I mean to help you decide for yourself.

On the subject of the gay marriage debate;

Harlem Desire denounces "acts of ideological terror", the "organised manhunt of a journalist", and "goupuscules using fascist methods".

Frigide Barjot says that "A violent law which is to be voted with violence shall provoke violence. Hollande wants blood? Well that's exactly what he's going to get!". UMP député Hervé Mariton talks of "a coup d'état", Philippe Gosselin evokes "a civil war", and Christian Jacob claims that Hollande is risking "a violent confrontation with the French people".

Meanwhile, a Senator was the victim of a blatantly racist remark by a political opponent who said that not only was he not of the same political colour, he wasn't of the same skin colour either.

In other gay marriage news, homosexuality has implicitely been linked by several public figures to zoophilie, pedophilia, incest and child rape and far-right icon Jean-Marie le Pen has accused the Justice minister of being "dangerous".

The public's reaction to all this?

The public's reaction to this months-long litany of malignant, repulsive and delirious paranoia and incitement to insurrection by politicians has been as violent as it has been predictable. Babies in pushchairs have been sent to the front lines of violent demonstrations in the hope that they may inhale tear gas and cry in pain before the cameras in order to garner support for the demonstators, the cars of politically-implicated people are being burnt, some of them are being followed and physically harassed by extremists and homosexuals have been viciously attacked in the street. The national mood is as bad as I have known it in all of the 25 years I have lived here. The air is anxiogenic, poisonous and downright execrable, and there is much worried media analysis of the violent and populist political mood here, a mood which is being increasingly seen as posing a serious threat to the mental well being of French citizens.

And as if all that wasn't bad enough, a record 70% of French people now think that all politicians are corrupt. This is a result not only of the gay marriage issue, it also results from the money-laundering scandal involving sacked Budget minister Jérôme Cahuzac and the refusal of the political class to consider reform legislation which would check the financial credentials of politicians - 'vetting', as it is called. France is the only major western country which does not vet its politicians.

All this in a country which is undergoing massive and traumatic economic therapy and in which unemployment has risen to the highest levels seen in decades. Finally (but not exhaustively) I read a study yesterday which found that over half of young French people aged 25-34 would like to live in another country.

So yes, there is good reason to justify saying that French politics are beginning to resemble what happened in Germany before WWII. And ironically enough that is borne out by the fact that there have also been a few veiled references by public figures in recent French political debate to Nazism and the Holocaust and 'a government which reminds one of how the worst horrors of the Second World War happened'.

French politicians are playing with fire here. The public is already in a highly fragilised state as a result of their contemptible behaviour, and to deliberately whip up hate as is being done at the moment is irresponsible and dangerous.

I would like to offer some advice in the form of two expressions to those whose inflammatory rhetoric and vicous political practices are degrading the confidence of the French people. It is;

'Don't ask for it because you might just get it' and 'he who sows the wind shall reap the whirlwind'.


  1. I am probably going to be in France at the end of June, July. I will see for myself what is going on.
    Reading this post is making me jittery about going. What happened to the "douce France" I used to know?

    1. Oh, I wouldn't put off my visit if I were you Nadege; after all, it's not as if there's violence on every corner, but yes, the current 'ras le bol' is symptomatic that the 'douce France' you left is going to be hard to find. In fact, as I write these words there's yet another gay marriage-related demo in downtown Lyon which has attracted thousands, and another one, in another part of town, which is pro-gay marriage. I'd go and check them out but I have too much work today. People are extremely fed up one way or the other and these demos end up with violent incidents most of the time, like on Thursday, when demonstrators had to be tear-gassed to stop them forcing their way into the Senate building. Now if that's not a worrying occurence I don't know what is.....

  2. So people go in the streets protesting gay marriage but no protest for politicians stealing from tax payers?
    They've got their priorities straight!

    1. Correct and well seen! Effectively, there has been no visible reaction to the Cahuzac affair in the form of demos, although two politicians were sent live bullets and threatening letters by post. People seem to be resigned to the fact that politicians are corrupt, which is why a poll out today gives Hollande his lowest rating yet - 26%. And he hasn't even been in office for a year yet! To e fair to him though, he's more of a vector for people's discontent than the underlying reason for it imho.