Meet The New French President

Pic from purepeople

We have a new president, or will have some time between now and 16th May which is the latest date by which he must have his investiture. Sarko is going to have to get a move on to pack his goods and chattels and vacate the President’s chief residence, the Élysée Palace in Paris. And not only that, he has to clear out of the other Presidential properties, namely the Fort de Brégançon, in southeastern France; the Hôtel de Marigny, next door to the Palace; the Château de Rambouillet; the Domaine National de Marly and the Domaine de Souzy-la-Briche. Some of these places aren’t used much but Sarko might have a toothbrush in them that needs removing.

François Gérard Georges Nicolas Hollande is our new guy. He gained the support of 51.67% of the voters, so he didn’t win by a massive margin – but he won. In our commune of Nouzerines he obtained 91 votes, Sarkozy got 61 votes and 12 wicked souls spoilt their ballot papers, rendering them ‘nul’, which is what Marine Le Pen had asked her supporters to do.

Hollande is a socialist, and the first left wing French president for 17 years.

What can we expect from him? He’s talked about creating 60,000 more teaching posts in the state sector – good, good, good; more civil servants – bad as you’ll know if you’ve ever tried dealing with them; raising corporate taxes – bad because they’ll get pushed down to the consumers so we’ll see prices going up; taxing millionaires at 75% – good although should I ever become a millionaire (I still live in hopes) it will be bad, and he’s generally anti-austerity – presumably good.

What his stance is regarding autoentrepreneurs, time will tell. A lot of politicians are deeply distrustful of we small, struggling independent traders, even though there are now a million of us in existence, but I’m in the union now and will help fight any moves to get rid of us.

The general election takes place in five weeks’ time to establish the new parliament and then M Hollande will be rolling his sleeves up and really getting stuck in.

And now that he’s President and can award himself whatever salary he wishes, I imagine I won’t get any more emails from him asking for a fiver …

Letter From The Président

I’ve been rather neglecting politics lately, having been preoccupied with anglers and sheep. (Still no lamb or lambs from No. 27. No. 28 is a little less splotchy now. We’re still giving her a dietary supplement on her granules twice a day – easy peasy – and that penicillin injection every night – not so easy, but once you’ve got a good grip on her wool she goes quiet. And I haven’t gone into anaphylactic shock through a misadministered jab yet either – so far.)

But back to the forthcoming elections. They’re starting to loom menacingly on the horizon. The Mairie at Nouzerines has erected extra wood panelling for a concerted postering campaign. This morning one of the commune’s employees was carefully measuring up and marking lines on the boards, making sure that each of the ten of the them was exactly the same size! I held the end of the tape measure for her while we were waiting for Ruadhri’s school bus to arrive. I’ve told you before how good I am at holding things when I’m helping Chris.

Both Sarkozy and Hollande have sent me long letters. Sarko’s first. This is a LONG letter. It opens with the first couple of sentences in handwriting. I think we’re meant to think that he handwrote the whole thing. It would have taken him about a week if he had. However, it’s a nice touch and encouraging to see that the Président has worse handwriting than I do. So what does he say? He’s glad to be contacting me directly without  going through an intermediary. Well, who wouldn’t be! He talks about the new world that’s being born – one with financial crises and strong non-Western powers emerging in the world, i.e. China. He goes onto security, mentioning the recent events in Montauban and Toulouse and emphasising that France must be well armed and strong. Ideologies of hatred and delinquence won’t be tolerated. Europe is a good thing and France will remain an open country where other people of other nationalities can come and live, but they must be prepared to embrace the French way of life and contribute to it. But he’s not prepared to go as far as giving us the vote, tant pis. Responsibility, professional training, young people, nurturing rural areas – he talks about it all. I lost interest by page 27 of the 39 of the document, I confess. But it’s impressive to get something like that. I never had anything similar in the UK or Ireland.

Hollande’s ‘letter’ is actually the talk he gave on 4 April at Rennes. There are an awful lot of exclamation marks. Should I take him less seriously than Sarkozy? It’s very rousing with paragraphs such as this: Mon message est simple ce soir, et je le répéterai autant de jours qu’il conviendra. Il faut changer : changer d’avenir, changer de politique, changer de président ! Je veux être le président du redressement, le président de la justice, le président du rassemblement, le président de la jeunesse de France ! (My message tonight is simple and I’ll repeat every day between now and the election. We need change: we must change the future, change politics, change the President! I want to be the president of putting things right, the president of justice, the president of gatherings, the president of the young people of France!)

And so on and so forth. It’s not as meaty as Sarko’s missive and again, my eyes glazed over before I got to the end. But that’s me and politics. However, I did try to read it all!

The current favourite is Sarko by a whisker. Since he’s the only pro-Auto-entrepreneur candidate out there as far as I can make out, I’ll be happy enough if he gets in, although I hope he will make more of an effort to curb the spending excesses and be more in touch with the majority of French people i.e. hard working, non-wealthy people. But we’ll see.