I have said before that Nicholas Sarkozy is like a breath of fresh air after the useless Mitterand, Chirac and Giscard d’Estaing farces. I know France quite well.
I lived in France when I was very young, too young to understand the politics of that country. So my early memories come from what my parents experienced. Following the Second World War we ended up in Paris, not that the French wanted refugees in their country. They even tried to push our trainload of refugees back to Germany in the dead of night. We had permission to enter the country and yet the engine driver had orders to go back across the border. There was a protest by some of the passengers who were still awake and noticed that we were going backwards, and we even made front page news in the newspaper.
That was our introduction to France. A fine welcome indeed! I have already written about how my aunt was hiding in Paris during the war and how she was more afraid of the collaborating French than of the Germans.
Basically I don’t really care what happens to France, but I admire Sarkozy’s determination to increase productivity and to curtail the socialist bludging that goes on in France. Farmers are subsidised, public servants hardly exert themselves. Lunch is a religion there in a country that has hardly any religion except Islam. Try to catch a taxi in Paris around lunchtime and the driver will point to his mouth and shout “manger.”
The 35 hour week was a disaster. While the rest of the world has made strides in hard work France has decided to go on vacation. Productivity is low and France can’t afford to look after its elderly.
I was in Paris a few years ago and while visiting a hair salon had quite an interesting chat with the hairdresser. It helped that I am fluent in French. I asked her why so many elderly people had died during the heatwave. I believe it was about 15000. She told me that the elderly live in tiny apartments without hot water. They are often unable to go down the many stairs and there are no elevators. So she climbs the stairs to their homes and gives them a shampoo or haircut in cold water or boils some water if they have adequate services for heating. Anyway, the elderly who died had no fans and definitely no airconditioning. Their families had left the city for cooler climates as they do each summer in Paris, and these poor souls were left to perish.
This does not say much for the “caring” social system for which the Strikers are demonstrating, does it? Mind you, it’s not the elderly who are marching, since they can’t march at all, but rather the molly-coddled unions who have had an easy ride under previous governments.
It’s been eight days now that Sarkozy has stuck it out. Good luck to him! He told the rampaging Muslim youth where to get off. But that problem is far from being solved and will only get worse with time. Whether he can change a lazy nation into something with a compassionate and hard working heart remains to be seen. I bet that at lunchtime the strikers will stop marching and head for home. After all, it will be time to “manger, n’est-ce pas?”