The A -Z of World Politics #F: France

by Jackie_South on October 25, 2013

File:Flag of France.svgBonjour mes amis!

We’ve reached the letter F in our globe-trotting series, so I waited eagerly for the tickets in the post to see where I’d be flying off to: given the weather, I was hoping for Fiji, and rather dreading Finland or the Faroe Islands.

Rather predictably, Mr East-West decided instead to send me to France. Provence, in fact. “Jackie, go and see how Hollande is getting on after almost eighteen months”. Merci boucoup, Monsieur Est-Ouest!

So, the plane lands at Marseilles, and the charabanc trundles an hour down the road west to the pretty narrow streets of Brignoles, site of the summer court of the Counts of Provence. Tres Bien!

Only, its just been taken over by fascists. A couple of weeks ago, 54% of its voters elected the Front National’s Laurent Lopez to represent the town at department-level. Quelle heureur!

This is only the latest of advances by the Front National in Provence, and the rise of the far right is the result of a number of factors: the decline of the Gaullist UMP, Francois Hollande’s current unpopularity, the continued travails of the Eurozone and the longstanding antipathy to Algerian immigrants in this part of France.

The French President is managing to upset everyone at the moment. After it emerged that Leonarda Dibrani, a 15 year-old Roma girl, had been dragged off a school bus and deported to Kosovo, Monsieur Flamby said that she could return to complete her studies. But only if she did so without her family. Dibrani refused to abandon them, leaving Hollande criticised from both the left and right and with a lot of oeuf on his visage.

Then he upset French football. He had tried to impose a 75% super tax on those earning over €1m a year. This was ruled unconstitutional, so he then changed it to impose the tax on employers paying over €1m. This of course hit football clubs particularly hard, other than Monaco which plays in the French league but doesn’t of course pay French taxes. The rest are livid, worrying that clubs will go bust and the best players will go abroad. The Union of Professional Football Clubs (UCPF) announced yesterday that they would go on strike for the last week of November.

That said, the tax itself remains broadly popular with voters but the implementation does look pretty merde-handed.

However, Hollande has now been thrown an unexpected lifeline from one of France’s oldest allies, Les Etats Unis. News that the CIA have been recording the telephone calls of Merkel, Hollande and others has led to national outrage, and in France of course that means a rallying round the president. This is likely to be a temporary reprieve for Hollande, but no doubt a welcome one nonetheless.

So, now for the plane back to Angleterre. Now, where did I leave la plume de ma tante?

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Charles Est-Ouest October 26, 2013 at 1:30 pm

Monsieur Sud – J’espère que vous avez réussi à obtenir cette bouteille de Le Château Le Pin, Bordeaux Pomerol (1999) que j’ai demandé …

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Charlie_East_West October 26, 2013 at 1:44 pm

Monsieur Sud, j’espère que vous avez réussi à obtenir une bouteille de château le pin pomerol (Bordeaux 1999) que j’ai spécifiquement demandé que vous obtenez?

Cordialement,
Charles Est-Ouest

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