Politics for the French
Politics is a dirty word, but ultimately someone has got to do it. However it is a wonder that anything gets done, either here or in the UK. I will only give my personal opinion in the following passages, but if you do not agree, please accept that. However I will be trying to be unbiased politically.
Politics in France – La Presidentielle.
It seems to me that the consensus states that any job can be done better by someone else not already doing it. I suppose this goes with UK politics as well as here in La Belle France. The results of the first round of the French national presidential elections were 1. Not surprising; 2. Very surprising; 3. Expected; 4. Very disappointing, and so on depending of whom you read. Round 2 was as equally so.
Why has politics such a phenomenal standing in France?
What truly amazes me how such small adjacent communes can vote poles apart from each other. I can only put it down to the strong partisan community spirit, that can actually divide a village, to the extent that A won’t vote for X, as B is voting for X, and A can’t stand B as his grandfather cut down a tree in a field boundary near his grandfather’s field. I know this to be the case. One commune near me has two independent social committees because of some unfortunate contra-temp. I mentioned in one of my previous articles, that I was directly involved in the local council elections in my commune. The turnout for the election was almost total, with more than 470 voting in a commune of 505. The partisan feeling was so very apparent; it resulted in a very clear defeat for the team on which I had been a member. The first round of the La Presidentielle was no exception, a high turnout, with hugely divided opinions.
The maps of the departments and the country as a whole were equally divisive, and were published by the French electoral body as the results came in.
There is something to be said that a country gets the government it deserves, but when the polls run so close as they are to do for the Presidential election, is seems a shame that the apparent determination of a one good politician can be undermined by another of equal good intention, at such a narrow margin. It turns a country on its head to change direction for such a small majority.
The maps for the second round showed in some departments, where M. Sarkozy was ahead in the first round, he lost out because of the change of voting strategy by the other former opponents and the electorate.
The Transition of Presidential Power.
M. Sarkozy has left the Elysée Palace with some transparency in place as no longer would the funds for running the palace be kept secret.
However, as I discovered, the inauguration party for M. Hollande was a lavish affair.
For the receptions at the City hall and the Elysée Palace there were:
17,000 bottles of champagne €612,000.
Petits fours and appetizers €423,657.
Fruit juice and soda €147,231.
Meal for the Old Socialist Ministers €97,215.
Grands Crus €82,012.
Beer, Whisky and other Alcohols €347,523.
Services and extras €94,212.
Decorations and rooming €510,031.
Compensations and transport €1,245,234.
The total (excluding security estimated at €934,000) was €3,559,115. The final invoice could reach over 5 million Euros. The inauguration of M. Sarkozy had cost €1,123,293.
The source of this material will be available in February 2013 of verification of the accounts by the Department of Finance.
M. Hollande had promised a simple and inexpensive inauguration.
Red Card to M. Hollande it has been suggested.
Some French wag has christened him Francis II, M. Mitterrand being Francis I of course.
The Aftermath or otherwise known as the Les Elections Legislatives
So after a somewhat spirited debate and lack-lustre finish, France enters a new phase of elections on the 10th and 17th June, that will be yet another strange affair of French politics into which I dare not tread. However it interesting to note from an article on the BBC Website this weekend June 2nd, that the French residents of the UK, Ireland, Scandinavia and the Baltic states will have their own MP. 12 of the 20 candidates for the post live in the UK. France already has had an Ex-Pat MP.
There are no confirmed statistics of how many French people are resident in London as only 120,000 have formally registered at the consulate, but as between 300,00 and 400,000 could live and work in London alone, making it France’s 6th biggest city, more than Bordeaux, Nantes and Strasbourg. Nice has a population of 344,000.
It makes you wonder as property rental prices in London are twice that of Paris.
It is for the reasons that lifestyle in these other countries can be so different to that in France, that it was thought by M. Sarkozy that they should at least have a voice. However a commentator on the BBC article from which I took this information, suggests that little difference will be made by the selection of an MP, because as time passes, these French ex-pats become more and more “British”, and many of them do not even pay their taxes in France.
Before I go off on one, I shall not be commenting on how much tax that I still have pay to the UK, nor shall I be commenting on the lack of rights to vote in the UK despite having to pay the said tax. I still have the right it appears to have a vote at my last place of residence in the UK, but as that was in Scotland and I am English by birth, it won’t happen. I have nothing against Scotland or the Scottish I hasten to add.
So that’s politics. Opinions are just like noses, everyone has one. I make no bones about it. It is a dirty business, but someone has to do it. It is just some are good at it, and some are not. It is sometimes a pity that that those who are good at it sometimes have a flaw that brings them down. Some of course don’t make it at all, due to their own personal downfall, which in some ways is a good thing. We wait to see what happens with bated breath I’m sure.