Tuesday, 8 May 2007

Sarkozy wins - merde !

There hasn't been much international solidarity shown by the socialist parties of Europe since 1914. Even so it was still galling to hear that New Labour were rooting for a Sarkozy victory in the French election. I shouldn't be surprised. After all, a platform of neo-liberal economic reform and a pro-US foreign policy are all very close to the Blair/Brown project.

But politics aside, I am particularly saddened by the presidential result because I am a bit of a Francophile:

Not that France is any sort of workers' paradise, just talk to the North African communities in the Paris suburbs, but I have always thought that France managed to retain something that the UK lost post-Thacherism.

The French resisted many of the worst features of modern Britain. Such as an American work ethic that takes the balance out of life/work balance. And a misplaced idea of consumerism that emphasises 'choice' at the expense of quality - 57 varieties of sandwich at Subway that all actually taste the same. A mantra of private=good and public=bad that denationalizes everything in sight.

And so the UK is rapidly becoming a pale imitation of the American mid-west; dowdy shopping malls full of chain retailers selling identical products. Whilst the French kept the 35hour week, trade unions that are more or less allowed to operate within the law, and small towns with farmer's markets and artisan shops.

And perhaps connected to this, a population unlike the UK that has not yet been disillusioned by and disenfranchised from politics, seen in an 85% turnout in the elections.

All this could be about to change. The 'socialist' Royale ironically ran a campaign that would not have been out of tune with New Labour. And
Sarkozy represents a new 'un-French' departure with a declared aim of making France more Anglo-Saxon.

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