My heading, according to Alexander Smoltczyk writing in Der Spiegel, is the current descriptive term for France - as used by the French themselves! Herr Smoltczyk undertook a tour of France following the route of the famous bicycle race in order to guage opinion and conditions in the 'real' France outside Paris. Given the nature of his 'investigation' it provides no deep analysis but one gains the distinct impression that France is on the wrack. Like all western European countries it is facing enormous difficulties in absorbing mass immigration but it is doing so under the added burden of a declining economy. Here in Britain we face a similar problem but, as the IMF pronounces today, we do so on the back of an economic recovery. (How sound it is will be the subject of another post another day but for the time being just keep your fingers crossed!) The French, by contrast, appear to be on an ever steepening decline, a living (just) and gasping example of socialism at 'work'. Those seriously contemplating the joys of a Comm-Lab coalition (I refer to Mr. McCluskey's wing of the Labour Party which pays all the bills for Miliband's wing.) should take serious note of socialism red in tooth and claw operating in France. It has been an unmitigated disaster and, as I never cease to repeat, in the final analysis it is entirely the fault of a stupid electorate. The confused - demented? - state of French voters is perfectly captured in this excerpt:
Rothermel [a French worker] rails against taxes, but also says he thinks retirement at the age of 56 should be perfectly normal. He says he doesn't like people who just hang around doing nothing or those who take advantage of the welfare state, even though he himself is reliant on the system, receiving government-subsidized social housing and also health care benefits.
This blog, or at least, its typical 'ros beef' owner, is always happy to take a swing at France and the French but I do so only in the way that all nations enjoy a dig at their neighbours. The fact is that I like France and the French - well, perhaps Parisian waiters excepted - and I think it is hugely important that they remain propserous and stable. A passing remark by a French ex-Para reported in the article to the effect that he and some other comrades from his regiment are contemplating the pros and cons of a take over by force may just be idle boasting - or at least, I hope it is.