14 July, 2013

Enfants de la Patrie

Today is La Fete Nationale, known as Bastille Day everywhere except France. It used to be that the President would give a sort of State of the Union address but that seems unlikely from Hollande, and indeed his predecessor didn't do it either.

For things are not good. Hollande is the most unpopular president ever, and the stories are that his predecessor, Nicolas Sarkozy, in the face of weak leadership of his UMP party, may be making a comeback. France is back in recession and the populace seems increasingly unsettled.

In truth I think the problem is that France doesn't know who it is or what it is. Is it a part of the modern world or the old? And, perhaps more important, is it part of Northern Europe or Southern Europe?

The response to globalisation seems to have been to ignore it, but it is not going away. The response to Europe's economic  crisis seems to have been to spend more. Hollande lowered the retirement age when every other country is raising it.

I think a period of national self-examination is needed but that nobody wants it. Things are not that bad and others - the UK - are having difficulty too.

Despite it all, this blog wishes the Grenouilles well

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