Why this Blog?

A place where I can lament the changing times; for eccentric comments on current affairs and for unfashionable views, expressed I hope, in cogent style; also occasional cris de coeur largely concerned, I regret to say, with myself.


I welcome your comments, so do please write. Please note however that all comments are moderated prior to publication. Whilst I fully appreciate that life can be frustrating, nevertheless, abuse, SMS language and illiteracy will not be tolerated!

Friday 15 October 2010

A bit more on the "Lemmings"

A scene from today's France

From today's DailyTelegraph website:

"The barricades are up, acrid tear gas is filling the streets, angry hordes of striking workers and students are preparing to do battle against a common enemy. Eh oui, the French are at it again. In the past, I have found the Gallic shrug the best response to the country’s trigger-happy strike culture – it’s just something you have to learn to live with. This time, though, I’m finding it difficult to shrug off – and I am not alone. "

The article finishes with the following paragraph:

"But it will be like facing an incoming tide. As Le Monde pointed out yesterday, France is a very conservative country “hell-bent on keeping the status quo and acquired (social) rights, with history used as a windshield against reality”. Even the Iron Lady might have resorted to a Gallic shrug at the thought of trying to break the Frenchman’s bond with his placard. "

Since his election in 2007, President Sarkozy has attempted, at least from time to time, to introduce a few reforms. There was the idea for example, to allow minicabs to operate; this resulted in total chaos in Paris as the taxi drivers mounted a very large protest. And there ere the 2006 student protests referred to in the Telegraph article.

It is important to understand how different certain things are in France. You cannot buy cigarettes or aspirin in a supermarket, why? Because the Tabacs and the Pharmacies are cartels; the taxi-drivers are obviously another example, even if their cartel is an unofficial one. Such privileges are jealously guarded by the (very conservative) French.

(Those of us who are fortunate enough to live close to the Swiss border are able to circumlocute some of these inconveniences - and often save money too. Near where I live, there is a bar right on the border. There one can buy half a litre of beer for four Swiss francs - about €3.10 whilst less than 100 metres away in France one pays €2.50 for a quarter of a litre. The best thing is that when drinking my near-pint of Feldschlossen on the border, I can sit in the bar and SMOKE - hurrah!)

Any suggestion that M. Sarkozy can follow in the steps of Mrs Thatcher would seem to be doomed to failure: in 1984, Mrs Thatcher had to deal with a very determined National Union of Mineworkers; Sarkozy has to face, it seems millions of angry - and misguided - people ranging from schoolchildren to pensioners.

Perhaps France itself is doomed?

Until the next time.

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