Thursday, April 19, 2012

Settling in...

My wife and I have arrived in time for the 2012 French Presidential elections.

Marine ~ NF

It's fascinating to watch politics, safely removed from having any influence on the outcome. Yet, there are a few things we see and can't help commenting on.

For instance, we live in what I've read is one of the most conservative places in Paris, in the 16th. I've learned that it was in the 16th that the aristocracy first settled, perhaps along the road that lead to Versailles during the time the court was situated not in Paris. So it was with some surprise that political posters around the 16th were "re-worked", but only certain images. The images of Marine le Pen and Nicholas Sarkozy, while being the most conservative, appear to be dis-liked.

La France Morte

Over the past two nights we've watched the 8pm Paris news. Two nights ago we listened to Francois Holland explain his position on various topics. Then, last night, Nicholas Sarkozy had his turn. During the interview I was struck by the differences in body language of the interviewers between the two nights.

When questioning M. Holland, the interviewers appeared relaxed and nearly "conversational". When speaking with M. Sarkozy, the interviewers appeared to be "screwed down" tightly and seemed to be almost confrontational. We came away feeling that President "Bling" stands a snow-ball's chance in hades of winning on Sunday, if these two people from the French press are any indication of national sentimental trends.

Revealed by Rain

We've also heard from ex-pats who live in Europe that many people are hopeful that M. Holland will win and that folks have had enough of M. Sarkozy's "globalization" policies. M. Holland made it quite clear that there is no room for, what I interpreted as, Chinese and other "outsider" economic influence on France, and that the financial relationship with the rest of the EU needed to change.

The conservative policies of Spain are driving that country down the same roads Greece is traveling. That is, cut social programs, put large numbers of people out of work, then cut more when the tax revenues drop like a rock. The end result will be the Spanish conservatives will be able to say "... see, we told you social policies helping the average citizen were not sustainable..."

Weathered Whispers

Perhaps we'll see how M. Holland's open policies of supporting French citizenry and increasing taxes on the top 1% will work. Such a set of policies would stand in stark contrast to the standard conservative "I have mine, and the rest of you can go to hell now" attitudes toward taxation and their role in driving nations into the poorhouse.

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