Humor Magazine

Are the French About to Go Bonkers Again?

By Davidduff

Alas, it is in the finest traditions of la France to amble along quietly, enjoying its wine and cuisine, and then suddenly to hurl itself into a political hissy-fit of such proportions that the neighbours have to duck the flying crockery!  Ever since Madelaine began her liaison amoureuse with 'Hans ze Hun' life has gone along rather well but as any mistress will tell you it is necessary to always to be at your best.  For the last 25-odd years or so, France has begun to show her age and failed to maintain her make-up!  She is suffering and the financial calamity of six years ago hit her hard.  Alas, unlike some of her neighbours she is failing to do what was, and still is, necessary to restore herself to good political and economic health.  Given her history of internal political tantrums you can expect, any time now, serious trouble 'just over there'.

Should you doubt me - nah, you wouldn't do that! - read Anne-Elisabeth Moutet, a French lady, in The Telegraph today.  She reports on the split that has occurred in Hollande's cabinet.  His prime minister is a moderate social democrat attempting to steer France through the wreckage produced by Hollande's socialist diktat which has brough France almost to its knees.  However, what Hollande has done, and what his prime minister is trying to put right, has outraged the extreme socialists led by a charismatic - dread word! - man called Arnaud Montebourg who has resigned from the government and formed a coalition of the extreme Left.  Meanwhile, Madame le Pen continues to advance her extreme Right party over what remains of the old Sarkozy center Right which is ensnared in corruption charges - why am I not surprised?

The most gloomy feature of Mde. Moutet's article is that the French people seem incapable of embracing any sort of change, simply insisting on more of the 'same old, same old'.  Even the young have no further ambition than to get a job in the civil service where the hours are easy, the working life short and the pension enormous!  Incoming business investment has vanished, existing businesses are selling up and start-ups simply don't start any more!  French youth faces a structural unemployment rate of 30-40%.

To emphasize the seriousness, Ben Wright in the Financial section of The Telegraph, sums up France's plight thus:

Only in France could Mr Hollande, who introduced a punitive top income tax rate of 75pc and effectively hung a “closed for business” sign on Europe’s second largest economy, be considered too right wing.

In truth, the president’s “responsibility pact”, introduced in January, doesn’t go nearly far enough; it hasn’t the faintest chance of bolstering business confidence or creating more jobs. Unemployment is rampant and Mr Hollande has a personal approval rating of just 17pc.

The whole situation reminds me of Gen. Foch's famous remark in 1914: "My center is giving way, my right is retreating, situation excellent, I am attacking".  Alas, I don't think Presidente Hollande possesses either the spirit or the wherewithal to be another Foch.  I do not report these gloomy tidings with any relish.  It is always in British interests to have a strong and healthy France across the Channel.  If a French collapse, either political or economic, occurs then one of our main markets will come under threat and that will not do us any favours.

Vive la France!


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