Hope on the Jobs Horizon for France


France has chronic unemployment….in certain sectors.

If you are the ‘fils de papa” (well connected) you will have a non job which brings in the uckers for the rest of your life, whereas if you are the ordinary sort of chap whose mother did not cavort with her husband’s boss between the hours of 5.00p.m.and 7.00p.m. (le cinq a sept) in the interests of advancing her husband’s career then you are likely to be either unemployed or employed on a short term contract offering very limited social protection.

Are there alternatives?

Yes, setting up in an independent business. A one man band.

That has always been possible  and Sarkozy made it easier, but, France being France, only if the proposed business fits within the procrustean beds of recognised activities.

Severely restricted activities.

So you can imagine the rejoicing when a judge in South West France expanded the categories: a previously unrecognised activity has now been accepted – in jurisprudence  at least, if not by the taxman.

It all happened in Bearn…

Bearn…in the foothills of the Pyrenees.

Bearn…home of Henri IV, King of Navarre and France, who brought the country out of the Wars  of Religion by negotiating  when he could  – Paris  is worth a mass – and fighting when he must  – Battle of Ivry – but remaining always his own man.

henri IV

Given the said Henri’s reputation with the ladies it is always possible that the farmer from Bearn who gave rise to this case was one of his descendants as he too negotiated before taking action as we shall see.

Theft from farms has been a growing problem in France and this farmer, like most of his kind, had locked up what he could and nailed down what he couldn’t before setting off with his bulldozer to continue his activities as a guardian of the countryside.

On his return, he found that he had visitors…a couple in an old van who, despite the frustration of finding little that would not need a forklift truck to remove, had stuck to their task and were carrying off the battery from his electric fencing system.

The farmer negotiated. They idea was that they would give back the battery and remove themselves from the premises.

This is the Paris is worth a mass bit: no point reporting it to the gendarmerie as the likely response would be the Gallic shrug accompanied by an inspection of his bulldozer to see if they could fine him for something.

So his visitors started up the old van and turned for home.

Unfortunately in their haste to depart they ripped out part of his irrigation system…which is when the Battle of Ivry bit came to the fore.

He might not have been wearing a white plume in his hat but it was with a certain panache  that he revved up his bulldozer, pushed the van into the bed of a stream and, as his visitors took to shanks’ pony, reduced it to a total wreck.

You can almost see him spitting on his hands and setting off for a celebration where wine, women and garlic vied for pole position.

Some time later, however, he had a nasty surprise.

A summons.

His visitors had complained about his activities and the local prosecutor had taken up their complaint…..the farmer could not take the law into his own hands.

This would come as a shock to any French farmer, accustomed as he is to blocking the highway at will, dumping manure in supermarket car parks, raiding the said supermarket’s shelves for alien produce and burning imported lambs alive in the lorry which has transported them.

None of which activities arouses the interest of the forces of law and order.

So, off to court.

You do wonder, sometimes, about people….their ability to appreciate the nature of causality…

For example, in my little town, an elderly person whose custom was to offer pre teens an Ipad or mobile ‘phone in return for mutual display of genitalia was so annoyed when one pre teen ran off with the ‘phone before the display could take place that he toddled off  to the police station complaining of theft… and was very surprised to find a police squad on his doorstep a few days later, wishing to investigate his computer before carting him off to the jug.

Where he will, if so inclined, have time to meditate on the theories of David Hume while he plays billiards with the Mikado’s elliptical balls.

In the case before us, however, while the visitors had seen fit to complain that the farmer had done them material and moral damage they seemed to have overlooked the chequered history of the male visitor’s encounters with the law.

Which landed the said gentleman with three months in the jug.

If there is room in the jug, which is, at present, running waiting lists worthy of a three star Michelin restaurant.

His lady companion, however, was unknown to the judicial computer and after due deliberation the judge awarded her a derisory sum for the loss of her van…but a considerable sum for the fact that the loss of her transport had deprived her of the chance to earn her living.

Which is where we return to the expansion of employment opportunities in France….

If  thieving is now recognised as an activity worthy of the protection of the law then there are an awful lot of people ready to avail themselves of that  protection….entrepreneurs: no more hiding in the shadows, running around in clapped out vans….buy a BMW and put it down to the company……

Though perhaps she was an estate agent…












53 thoughts on “Hope on the Jobs Horizon for France”

  1. Whilst dancing a jig that st least somewhere has job opportunities these days I do have to ask myself whether the Mental Health Services are fully utilised over there by the judiciary.Perhaps if they looked on a check up as a possible holiday there might be more takers. An examination of the area between the ears might then be possible to ascertain for the public if there actually is anything to prevent light passing through.
    I know the French system is one of the two models used throughout the World and that does give me cause for worry. Why?
    Sending you Christmas Wishes Helen
    xxx Huge Galore from Cymru xxx

    1. Most of my friends regarded the their judiciary with distaste mingled with incomprehension….perhaps a bout of ECT treatment might do the trick…

      We have elements of the French system here…via the Napoleonic conquest of Spain…and a right farce it is too…

      A merry Christmas to you and yours, David.

  2. I’m with the farmer here! Vive le Bulldozer mate!
    The ipod chap, is he from Essex perchance…?
    One of ours was caught climbing up a wall to cut the cable of the CCTV that was filming him climbing up the wall to cut the cable.
    Possibly we ought to seek a Sarkozy/Osborne combination for EU president?

      1. “The Only Way is Essex” known as ‘Towie’ to the informed I believe.
        Or ‘Dagenham’ to those who have passed through…

          1. A quick search shows you are right!
            It worked but appears to have brought seeds with it!
            Today they appear to burn it all.

    1. But did you know the Bearn recognized property rights for women in the 16th century? 🙂 In a tiny town called Salies de Bearn daughters of salt producers were given the same inheritance rights as sons. Am I not an extraordinary fountain of totally useless knowledge?

          1. Even more evil! Pure evil. Do you know Mike privately? Are you two plotting against me? Well you can plan whatever you like. I’m not having any check-up of any kind 😛

          2. No risk of aiding and abetting check ups from this quarter..
            I was rash enough to taker a swollen ankle to the local clinic and emerged with enough appointments to keep me busy for a year…let no one say that the Costa Rican health service is not thorough

  3. I’d have hightailed, too…Too bad that isn’t easier for me to do now what with Mr. Trump seeking office. Happy Christmas to you and Leo!

  4. The farmer’s technique reminds me of the wonderful leading lady in ‘Fried Green Tomatoes at The Whistle Stop Cafe’ who has a parking lot pinched from under her nose by two self-loving young, fit, nubile women who when she holla’s at them retort ‘ face it lady, we’re younger than you and faster’. Moments later as they cross the carpark they are halted by a deafening crashing sound and look back to see the woman battering their convertible out of the space with her Chelsea Tractor. They run up protesting to which she retorts ‘ face it girls – I’m older than you and I have more insurance’. Always loved that and loved this piece just as much!

  5. This reminded me of an old mate and work colleague from my days in the Prison Service. Pete, for that was his name, was a Senior Office of giant proportions – with his arms extended, he once fully compressed a Bullworker for 18 minutes!! You get the picture. One day he was parked with his family at a scenic beauty spot when a guy pulled in behind him. As the fellow parked he banged into the back of Pete’s car. Pete got out and inspected the damage to his rear light array – the other driver stayed put in his car acting as if nothing had happened. Pete tapped on his window and, once opened, enquired politely what the guy was going to do about it. ‘Nothing!’, said he, ‘Act of bleedin’ God, innit mate?’ Considering Pete’s size this was either an act considerable courage or utterly stupid bravado! Pete calmly walked back to his car (much to the offender’s satisfaction, I’m sure), but then produced a very large spanner with which he proceeded to smash ALL of the guys car lights. The other driver leapt out of his car, ‘What the f”(% is going on?’ ‘Act of God, mate’ said Pete ‘and if you don’t f”(% 0ff there are going to be a few more!’
    Alas, Pete is no more. He was killed when the prison van he was driving went off the road – I’ve sometimes wondered if his disproportionate use of ‘battlefield’ justice upset the powers of the outer darkness!

  6. Sad state of affairs as the gap of Haves and Have Nots increases. I heard something on the news the other days just after the “employment” statistic was announced, that if someone is newly employed for an hour a week, an hour a month, etc. it goes on the statistic of “employed.” Good thing nothing was in my mouth but my tongue or it would have landed all over Terry in our car. When is enough is enough at the cost of watching others suffer! And in this light no wonder thievery is considered “legal” – hell politicians have been robbing us for centuries. Off to have a cup of chamomile and calm down. This is the week to wish you all Happiness so here’s my wish to anyone who sees it: may your year be filled with days of laughter and peaceful nights. Blessings to you and yours Helen.

    1. The misuse of statistics…the sheer lies….it might take a gallon or two of that tea….
      Thank you for all the work you and your husband do to help both people and animals, there are a lot of grateful souls out there thanking you.

  7. I can’t imagine living in a society where one has to nail everything down, and then keep close watch over the nails. Sounds like a little vigilante justice is order, beginning with the judge who ordered recompense for the female ne’er do well.

    1. Then don’t try Costa Rica!
      Luckily we had been trained by living for twenty years in rural France and before that in rural England…..if you didn’t lock it up or nail it down it would walk…
      I suspect that quite a few people would like to lay hands on that judge…

  8. A marvellous story and so totally French. 🙂 I wouldn’t mind betting that similar tales grace the court report pages of our local paper in Sud-Manche. They make totally fascinating reading as well as being very good for my French. 🙂

    1. The local rags give such an insight into how people actually think and act…pity that the ‘living the dream’ brigade don;t have enough French to profit from them.
      When you lived there,you can visualise this and similar scenes with no difficulty at all!

  9. Ah, the France we know and love for their social justice. Perhaps being applied just a little too freely me thinks. Thank goodness no such nonsense goes on in our fair United Kingdom… oh wait.

    1. Yes…oh wait indeed!
      And here in Costa Rica….a family selling drugs round the local schools has been caught after twelve weeks of police work…but they can’t be held in preventive detention because one of the children is a minor…

  10. The way the thieving couple took the farmer to court for loss of van and livelihood reminds me of all those cheeky buggers in the UK who’re nabbed by the police for something, or put in jail, and then proceed to bring some action against the police or the prison for infringing their human rights or whatever. Sometimes they even succeed and the police wonder why they bothered to do their job in the first place….

    1. They seem to understand the rights bit…pity they don’t grasp the obligations bit…those police who still see their job as protecting the public as opposed to kettling protesters must, as you say, wonder why they bother.

  11. However irritated I get with life in Britain, and I certainly do, I actually don’t think things have got to that stage here. I am wondering if this means I have to be grateful for our country’s respect for law and order….. oh, dear, no, that’s not right, surely. Well, thank goodness Christmas is the time of year when one can temporarily forget about issues of public life, in the normal way of things. I do hope that you have a good time over the festive season, and look forward to more of your posts arriving in my inbox in the coming months!

    1. It’s a very flippant, lightweight article: I agree, like or loathe le Grand Charles there are a fair few to go before he gets on the list of salauds.
      You could make a good start with Napoleon…..and never let us forget that it was Mitterand who boosted the Front National in order to split the right wing vote in France…
      A book which is instructive on how the structure of France leads to its downfall is Marcel Bloch’s A Strange Defeat. It deals with the debacle of 1940….but no lessons have been learned since.

      1. Lightweight, indeed. Like so much that is passed off as “articles” on the web today. The problem is, it wouldn’t be that hard to come up with at least an adequate list without having to stoop to such inanity. Of course, when publications begin printing lists the battle’s already lost.

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