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Thread: French Elections 2012

  1. #61
    John Skelton Guest

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    Quote Originally Posted by scottycelt View Post
    extreme left-wing dreamland politicians like Jean Luc Melenchon
    Yes, it's always good to see the un-dreamland of moderate Capitalist Realism triumph:

    A Greek retiree has shot himself dead in Athens' main square, blasting politicians over the country's financial crisis in a suicide note that triggered violent clashes hours later between police and anti-austerity protesters.

    Riot police fired tear gas and flash grenades after protests attended by some 1,500 people turned violent on Wednesday, and youths hurled rocks and petrol bombs outside Parliament. Authorities reported no injuries or arrests.

    The 77-year-old retired pharmacist drew a handgun and shot himself in the head near a subway exit on central Syntagma Square which was crowded with commuters, police said. The square, opposite Parliament, has become the focal point of frequent public protests against Greece's two-year austerity campaign.

    "I find no other solution than a dignified end before I start searching through the trash for food" ...

    Greece has seen an increase in suicides over the past two years of economic hardship, during which the country repeatedly teetered on the brink of bankruptcy.


    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/wo...s-7620981.html

  2. #62
    Lateralthinking1 Guest

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    Greek retiree has shot himself dead in Athens' main square, blasting politicians over the country's financial crisis in a suicide note that triggered violent clashes hours later between police and anti-austerity protesters.

    I have often wondered what would happen when this sort of thing started happening. I agree that it is murder rather than suicide. Sadly, the authorities would prefer this form of protest to a Breivik style occurrence. For them it is a lesser kind of death than the one suffered by Breivik's victims because in many respects it is easier to dismiss lightly.

    Sadly, the BBC not only fails to mention the Greek pharmacist on its front news page. He isn't mentioned anywhere on its European news page either. However, there is plenty of room for the news that one person has died in a Dutch train crash.

    I expect Greek bureaucrats will be tearing around trying to find the medical reports of this man. Under orders from the politicians, their mission will be to prove that he had little time to live anyway. The case is a precedent of sorts. How quickly it is permitted to be brushed aside will tell us all about society's intentions in terms of attitude towards what will be dispensable.

  3. #63
    John Skelton Guest

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lateralthinking1 View Post

    The BBC not only fails to mention the Greek pharmacist on its front news page. He isn't mentioned anywhere on its European news page either. However, there is plenty of room for the news that one person has died in a Dutch train crash.

    I expect Greek bureaucrats will be tearing around trying to find the medical reports of this man. Under orders from the politicians, their mission will be to prove that he had little time to live anyway. The case is a precedent of sorts. How quickly it is permitted to be brushed aside will tell us all about society's intentions in terms of attitude towards what is dispensable.
    The BBC did report it (it's not a new new news story) http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-17620421

    I'm sure you are correct about the brushing aside, sadly.

  4. #64
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    .... the French election is not as interesting as the challenge posed by this heroic suicide .... candidly if we thought about it enough we might be persuaded of his rationality particularly in light if the latest Panorama expose of the care market for persons of age .... but the election winner will have to address the same issues as the suicide ...why am i here and what can i do about it ... and the Greek gentleman may well have a point
    ébloui par l'obscurité

  5. #65
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lateralthinking1 View Post
    Hollande is advocating a reduction in the retirement age from 62 to 60. That he thinks that he can do it, and has the will, places our politicians in a very bad light.
    The French have already protested about the recent increase in state retirement age to a figure already lower than that which applies in UK. Every change to state retirement age costs a fortune and, as such, it is economically unwise to tinker with it more often than it absolutely has to be. That said, what relevance is a state retirement age anyway? Despite the increase in it in UK, there are now more people working, either as employees or self-employed, beyond that age and, with the economy as it is and is likely to remain indefinitely, this can only continue to be an upward trend.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lateralthinking1 View Post
    He would raise taxes for big corporations, banks and the wealthy
    But how and to what extent would he be able to guarantee forcing them all to pay these newly increased rates?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lateralthinking1 View Post
    create subsidised jobs in areas of high unemployment for the young
    A worthy motive, to be sure, especially in a country where work prospects are worse than in UK...

    Quote Originally Posted by Lateralthinking1 View Post
    promote more industry in France by creating a public investment bank
    Another worthy desire in principle, but how would the creation of such a bank enable this? Who would invest in it and why?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lateralthinking1 View Post
    grant marriage and adoption rights to same-sex couples and pull French troops out of Afghanistan this year.
    This seems fine to me, especially the last bit, although it may be a case of too little, too late...

    Quote Originally Posted by Lateralthinking1 View Post
    Melenchon - what a pity he is 60 rather than 30 - called for a "citizens' revolution"
    But meaning what, precisely?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lateralthinking1 View Post
    the reduction of Presidential power
    That may well be no bad thing!

    Quote Originally Posted by Lateralthinking1 View Post
    nationalization of the banks
    But what good will that do if the result is that the government assume the mantle of screwing up the French banking industry by wrenching it from the current provate;y owned banks?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lateralthinking1 View Post
    democratization through new rights for employees allowing them to develop cooperatives
    This can often be a good thing in certain particularised circumstances and the French already have more experience of this than is the case in UK.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lateralthinking1 View Post
    the nationalization of large corporations
    We've been there and done that before and the same response applies to that of nationalising the banks; corporate problems are not solved by changing the ownership of the corporations concerned - indeed, how could they be?

    Quote Originally Posted by Lateralthinking1 View Post
    environmental planning
    Obviously a good idea as long as it's done sensibly and sustainably for everyone's benefit.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lateralthinking1 View Post
    an exit from NATO and an end to the war in Afghanistan
    Not so sure about the first of these but all in favour of the second.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lateralthinking1 View Post
    Describing himself as "the sound and the fury"
    ...but carefully and discreetly omitting to add anything about his "signifying nothing", I cannot help but note...

    Quote Originally Posted by Lateralthinking1 View Post
    Hollande as "a pedal boat captain"
    Not Oxbridge Blue, presumably?...

    Quote Originally Posted by Lateralthinking1 View Post
    and the money of the rich as "stinking"
    Nonsense, my money doesn't smell any better than anyone else's, nor does currency acquire increasing miasmatic properties as a consequence of increasing personal wealth.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lateralthinking1 View Post
    he also said:

    "Get rid of the lot of them"

    "We're not the shovel brigade of the Socialist Party but the locomotive of the entire left"

    "When there is no more liberty, civil insurrection becomes a sacred duty of the Republic"

    "Once again, you will have to be the crater from which the new flame of revolution erupts, lighting the fire of contagion that will become the common cause of the peoples of Europe"
    Orotund oratory, all of it, demonstrating rather sickeningly the triumph of non-style over lack of substance.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lateralthinking1 View Post
    I don't share the incomprehension of some about the popularity of the FN. I don't like the tone of Le Pen but there is an issue everywhere about the sustainability of immigration. We just ignore it here and choose to see housing shortages, water bans and cramped transport as unrelated. It makes no sense to permit those with a racist outlook to carry forward the discussion while offering little in its place. I note that Le Pen favours a moratorium on legal immigration and would forcibly repatriate illegal immigrants. That looks to me like a sledgehammer, although I am not aware that she favours incentives to legal immigrants to leave. Still, condemnation is hardly the answer. I feel there needs to be more reality all round, along with subtlety, to the debate.
    Now you're engaging with sense! I don't, however, see any solution to immigration problems in France or UK (or indeed other countries) when the nub of that problem centres around the fact of past colonisations that have granted people in many other countries the citizenship rights that are accorded to those already entitled to live in France and UK who are already living there; as I have observed previously, if even 10% of all those living outside UK but who have rights of abode therein decided en masse to move to UK, a stranglehold would be exerted over the country through no one's fault - and refusing entry to people with such rights of abode purely because they do not curently live in the country is illegal. Changing the appropriate national laws to enable a government to refuse entry to such people would be a fundamental human rights breach that would constitute an international outrage.
    Last edited by ahinton; 23-04-12 at 13:49.

  6. #66
    Lateralthinking1 Guest

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    ahinton - Thank you. My main point is that the French electorate is more open to candidates with a wide range of views than the British electorate. Any old phone-in programme here will reveal that our opinions are as diverse as theirs but then when it comes to elections far more of us ignore them and just do what we are told. It is also largely for that reason that the policies of Hollande are as stated. Here Labour wouldn't dare. In fact, it doesn't have the inclination and it can rely on the public to keep it in that state. I like the look of Hollande's manifesto but this is not the place for me to argue the hows and whys. Ultimately time will tell.

    Unlike the FN, immigration is hardly my topic of first choice. You do though highlight the complexities. You describe a situation in which everyone who has a right to live here comes to Britain. The consequence in your word would be a "stranglehold". However, to say "no" to use your phrase would be "a fundamental human rights breach that would constitute an international outrage". Now there is a dilemma. The first fact is that we need high principle. The second is that in practice the principle is other worldly. The third is that there does come a point when in attempting to improve the human rights of some, those of everyone suffer.

    Very fortunately, we are nowhere near to that situation. Currently, the imminent possibility of that situation is as unreal as the idea that we could cope with it if it did happen. Nevertheless, how many extra people would it take before our health system couldn't cope, nor our trains, nor our benefits system? I would say that if everyone who is white and British born but living abroad returned tomorrow, we couldn't cope. It is on that sort of scale. I am only interested in the numbers. The backgrounds are irrelevant - Lat.
    Last edited by Lateralthinking1; 23-04-12 at 13:44.

  7. #67
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lateralthinking1 View Post
    ahinton - Thank you. My main point is that the French electorate is more open to candidates with a wide range of views than the British electorate. Any old phone-in programme here will reveal that our opinions are as diverse as theirs but then when it comes to elections far more of us ignore them and just do what we are told. It is also largely for that reason that the policies of Hollande are as stated. Here Labour wouldn't dare. In fact, it doesn't have the inclination and it can rely on the public to keep it in that state. I like the look of Hollande's manifesto but this is not the place for me to argue the hows and whys. Ultimately time will tell.

    Unlike the FN, immigration is hardly my topic of first choice. You do though highlight the complexities. You describe a situation in which everyone who has a right to live here comes to Britain. The consequence in your word would be a "stranglehold". However, to say "no" to use your phrase would be "a fundamental human rights breach that would constitute an international outrage". Now there is a dilemma. The first fact is that we need high principle. The second is that in practice the principle is other worldly. The third is that there does come a point when in attempting to improve the human rights of some, those of everyone suffer.

    Very fortunately, we are nowhere near to that situation. Currently, the imminent possibility of that situation is as unreal as the idea that we could cope with it if it did happen. Nevertheless, how many extra people would it take before our health system couldn't cope, nor our trains, nor our benefits system? I would say that if everyone who is white and British born but living abroad returned tomorrow, we couldn't cope. It is on that sort of scale. I am only interested in the numbers. The backgrounds are irrelevant - Lat.
    Apart from not liking the look of Hollande's manifesto at all, I'm with you on most of this - but let's now turn attention away from the immigration issues that are so often the province of the noisy right and examine certain others that you mentioned. Nationalisation of the banks and other corporations is likely to achieve nothing except the burden of the additional unaffordable state expenditure required to achieve it in the first place. Reducing the state pension age would not only be an irrelevance to those who will have to work beyond it whatever it might be, it would also impose a massive additional burden on taxpayers who are below that age; in France, in any case, many people pay little or no income tax because French social charges are incredibly high but are also a tax-deductible expense (which their approximate UK equivalent, namely the quaintly and misleadingly named "National Insurance Contributions", are usually not).

  8. #68
    Lateralthinking1 Guest

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    Quote Originally Posted by ahinton View Post
    Apart from not liking the look of Hollande's manifesto at all, I'm with you on most of this - but let's now turn attention away from the immigration issues that are so often the province of the noisy right and examine certain others that you mentioned. Nationalisation of the banks and other corporations is likely to achieve nothing except the burden of the additional unaffordable state expenditure required to achieve it in the first place. Reducing the state pension age would not only be an irrelevance to those who will have to work beyond it whatever it might be, it would also impose a massive additional burden on taxpayers who are below that age; in France, in any case, many people pay little or no income tax because French social charges are incredibly high but are also a tax-deductible expense (which their approximate UK equivalent, namely the quaintly and misleadingly named "National Insurance Contributions", are usually not).
    Well, the truth of that one is that in a common sense world I would economically be a social democrat. Now that the world has gone stark raving mad, I am probably to the left of Dennis Skinner. The current consensus hasn't cared one iota about getting us here. Consequently I don't care much about the practicalities, or otherwise, as to how we rebalance it all. I'm prepared to take a gamble. Call it entrepreneurial. Instinctively I am a centrist but the centre for everyone has shifted.

    You will find incidentally that I am also a centrist when it comes to social policy. I will be among the last people standing to argue for liberal freedom but that comes with a small "c" conservative edge. I expect responsibilities to accompany rights. That was always the case with me in terms of the individual but it has been reinforced by what I have seen of unregulated business and public sector practice. I don't know much about Monsieur Bayrou's liberalism but it looks a bit like Nick Clegg's.

  9. #69
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    An interesting article here on the fall of governments throughout Europe since the start of the financial crisis (though technically Sarkozy's still has a chance to survive).

  10. #70
    Lateralthinking1 Guest

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    Quote Originally Posted by aeolium View Post
    An interesting article here on the fall of governments throughout Europe since the start of the financial crisis (though technically Sarkozy's still has a chance to survive).
    Yes, when the Netherlands looks set to have the far right and the far left in a third of its chamber, life is clearly changing. The writer appears to overlook Spain, though, which has swung to the mainstream right, Belgium which now at least does have a Government, and Greece and Italy which have special arrangements. What will emerge in time is clarity on whether severe austerity really is an obligation or a choice. Unfortunately it could take 10-20 years for anyone to be sure about it.

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