Paris is Rather a Mess

palace elysee guides.restaurants.frThus the Sellar and Yeatman version of the end of the sixteenth century Wars of Religion in France where the Protestant victor, Henry of Navarre, turned Roman Catholic (again) in order that his victory should gain acceptance.
Paris, he is reported to have said, is worth a mass.

Given current conditions…the Sellar and Yeatman version seems distinctly appropriate.

Eighteen months into his five year stint as President of the French Republic, Francois Hollande is not a happy bunny.
Things are not going according to plan.

Hollande is a graduate of the ENA – where the elite of France are formed to be worthy leaders of their country’s institutions.
Where to succeed you need to know that not only is there only one answer to a question…but also only one question to be asked.

Accordingly Hollande knew the one question to be asked….how to be elected in 2012?
He also knew the answer….be anyone except the retiring President, Nicolas Sarkozy.
Nowhere in this process will you find matters such as how to conduct the governance of France.
All ENA graduates know the answer to that one….carry on as before with all the posts of power, private and public, in the steady hands of themselves or other graduates of the ENA.

The ENA would have been gratified at the success of his plan.
He was elected President of the French Republic and set about proving he was not Sarkozy by getting shafted by the German Chancellor at their first meeting and wandering round in baggy bermudas on his hols in the south of France.

Then he got the bit between his teeth.
Sarkozy had given a tax exoneration for overtime worked. Hollande removed it.
Sarkozy had overseen the setting up of the auto-entrepreneur scheme, whereby people setting up in business paid social charges only on what they earned after they had earned it…not on what a bureaucrat thought they would earn and so charged them upfront before they started. Hollande wanted to overturn it….but met opposition, especially from those who found that if they sold the business they had founded they would have to pay a 60% tax on the proceeds.

The grand plan began to run off the rails….

Even the EU had noticed France’s budget deficit and urgent measures had to be taken to reduce it. The people had to be prepared to make sacrifices.
Well, some people.
Not politicians for a start.
Nor top civil servants.
Nor big business.
Nor the state.

No, the little man could stump up.

To have the least malcontents, keeping hitting the same people all the time
To have the least malcontents, keeping hitting the same people all the time
The ENA teaches its students to operate on the Shadok system…..

If there is no solution it is because there is no problem (the only one question principle)….

If there is only one chance in a thousand of success, hurry up and make the first nine hundred and ninety nine cock ups.

This was an unfortunate moment for the budget minister to be found to have had secret Swiss bank accounts.

Then foreign manufacturing companies started to pull out of France….jobs have been lost.
Taxation is hitting hard.
And the one Sarkozyism that Hollande did not boot out – the ecotax on heavy goods vehicles – has provoked riots in Brittany and vandalism to installations elsewhere.

But the ENA has the answer…the only one…..the traditional one.
So billions to Brittany, billions to road transport groups, and probably billions to buy off the Italian firm who were going to run the ecotax

Buit who is going to pay the bribes….yes, the little man through increased taxation.

And the deficit? …Oh; that….

Paris is rather a mess.

Normally when disatified with one main stream political party people turn to the other…but the UMP has its own scandals and infighting to occupy it….so no leadership there.

The journalists (given a whopping tax break by Hollande after Sarkozy had previously removed it) worry about people looking to a strong man…they see the rise of totalitarianism in France….they fear the Front National coming to power.

So today, on the anniversary of the death of General de Gaulle, his tomb has been visited by a range of politicians on the make, anxious to wrap themselves in the mantle of the last strong man to rule France.

They could all be put into one of the pockets of his greatcoat and pass unnoticed.

One, however, has not made the journey.

Moi-je, Francois Hollandouille, President of the French Republic.

Perhaps he worries that, should he pay a visit, the speed at which the General would be revolving in his grave would be sufficient to achieve lift off….and that the resulting encounter would be a re-run of the finale of Don Giovanni….

Hollande going up in flames.



38 thoughts on “Paris is Rather a Mess”

  1. The reference to Sellar and Yeatman analogy seeming appropriate made me laugh until the pathos of it all hit me between the eyes. Do politicians, civil servants, the state, or some people have eyes to be hit between? One has to wonder! No thanks to any crystal balls on this future. What a mess indeed!

        1. I saw a comment on one of The Slog’s posts recently, explaining that those running things tend to have a narcissistic personality disorder – completely oblivious of anything but their own interests.

  2. I love the freedom you have to write about the politics in France. We are losing that privilege here. I recently received an email from someone doing a project who wanted to ask me a series of questions about our country’s censorship. Once I looked at the questions I decided not to do it. It’s the first time it’s really hit me that I can’t write what I feel because I believe we are being watched. Maybe I need to leave the country to be able to say what I think.

    1. The world we took for granted is coming to an end….and I cannot tell you how sad I am at what is happening to Turkey.
      And how no notice of this is taken in the European press.

      1. And that is the saddest part. If it wasn’t for social network sites such as Facebook, the rest of the world would be completely unaware of what’s going on.

        1. The U.K. government is trying to bring about changes in libel law procedure by which the (usually rich and powerful) ‘offended’ person will not be liable for the full costs of the whistleblower should he or she lose the case….

    1. De Gaulle referred to the French as ‘veaux’…..and after the 1917 mutinies, the French troops marched up to the line bleating like sheep….so no , not very leonine. But donkeys, certainly!

  3. They really are floundering. The amount of new legislation that gets proposed then ferociously opposed until nothing of any substance happens is astonishing (and causes a lot of worry for the little guy who is potentially on the receiving end in between times). Sadly, like so many other countries, there isn’t a good alternative that has any chance in the next election. Personally I don’t understand why Bayrou doesn’t pick up more of a following.

    1. Hasn’t he just got into bed with Borloo? No, I too thought he was the only sensible Presidential candidate.
      Friends say that they just can’t plan for the future…you have no idea from one day to another what mad proposal will come and then go…

  4. Bribes? Or, perhaps merely Masonic transactions, as they are more commonly known amongst the chrysocracy set and the upper class white collar criminals of French society.

      1. I believe there is, however it inevitably takes place behind darkened curtains in secret meeting halls, where I suspect that new members have slightly more than their cheeks kissed.

    1. Their problem seeems to be that they put keeping themselves in power over the well being of the country…not that that is a concept they would recognise.

      What will it take to get one of the ‘Green’ ministers to resign?

    1. Aha!
      You have a mole in ENA!
      That document explains an awful lot!

      What I suspect is worrying this government is if the syndicats lose their stranglehold on who takes to the streets.
      The syndicats they can manage…money talks….but they have no way known to the ENA of dealing with ordinary people pushed beyond all patience – except violence.
      I contrast the treatment of the demos against same sex marriage with the treatment of the Bretons demolishing the entry of the Morlaix sub prefecture.

        1. You must have been in France when that supreme prat Jospin miscalculated so badly by not campaigning in the first round – so sure was he of his support – and the second round turned out to be between Chirac and Le Pen.
          People voting and holding their noses…one guy in a deep sea diver’s suit and helmet…but they voted Chirac.

          I think that, in some part due to the voting system, in France you often seem to be voting against someone and never mind who gets in as long as it is not him….and you reap the consequences.

          Anyone with half a brain could see what Hollande was…a total incompetent, maintaining his power in the PS by a divide, rule and backstab policy.
          How did anyone think that that was going to be able to run a country!

          1. REVOLUTION: the French credo. They fight against the very people they put in power because, as you say quite rightly, you vote against rather than vote FOR someone here. I have a feeling that the National Front will be gaining more out of Hollande’s term in power than they did with any previous government… fasten your seatbelts, ladies and Gents.

          2. Well, Hollande was a creature of Mitterand (though Mitterand never gave him any responsibility) and Mitterand encouraged the Front National as a way of splitting the right wing vote…, in a sort of way, it is the biter bit.
            (But I’d wash my mouth out quickly.)

  5. I did like the line ….

    But the ENA has the answer…the only one…..the traditional one.

    I increasingly operate on the principle of ‘Planet Charlton’ – sod the lot of em (politicians that is) , whatever country they’re from.

  6. I love that link from MM and have a Honorable feeling it’s not just a satire. 🙂 I know our British politicians are a bit of a shower, but they look like models of vision and efficiency when compared to Hollande. The guy is backtracking in circles! I do feel for my nice French neighbours, trying to lead decent lives with leaders like that.

    1. It’s superb, isn’t it….I suspect because it is so close to reality!

      Friends are at a loss to know how to plan anything….Hollande’s policies seem to be based on the principles of the Hokey Cokey…

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