Here we are, Sunday the 6th May, 2012 and France has voted in a new president. I suppose M. Sarkozy should have seen this one coming a mile away. Never the most popular man among the electorate, he’s systematically shown himself to be arrogant, conceited and perhaps a little power-crazy. He’s used (and abused) the French treasury to give himself and Mme. Sarkozy-Bruni the kind of lifestyle his subjects could only dream of. France isn’t a rich country. It’s quite a poor one in many ways, still very much reliant on agriculture than big industry, certainly in our part of it in any case.
We’ve seen many local commerces close down because of policies implemented by him and his government. We’ve seen the banks being made to tighten their grip after being bailed out by the Sarkozy administration to the tune of untold millions of euro. Our own bank has gone from being a busy little market town bank, where you dealt with a team of tellers sat behind a non-protected counter, and you passed the time of day whilst they counted your cash, to more of a ‘drop-in centre’ type affair. It now has all the charm of a video hire store. Is this just progress, or is it the bank not being able to afford the kind of service it used to give?
M. Sarkozy famously has a jet that carries him far & wide and at his insistence, it now has a bread oven on board. Yes, a bread oven. It bakes fresh baguettes for our pres. when he’s away from his own local artisan boulanger. One hears these rumours and thinks, “nah…”. But apparently, it’s true, and well-documented in a breakdown of costs I read a short while ago. The upgrades demanded by M. Sarkozy ran into millions of euro.
So. We have a new president. M. François Hollande. What do we know of him? In our own case, not very much, only what we read in the papers, or see what our French friends post about him on facebook. It appears he already earns more than the current, or should I say, most recent incumbent of the Élysée Palace. So he’s effectively taking a paycut. Why, you might ask? Possibly because he’s about to become one of the most powerful men on earth, peut-etre? Possibly because being such a powerful man may just attract a Carla-a-like of his very own? Who can say?
He promises to freeze fuel prices for the next 3 months, which is a good thing. Especially for those of us (which must be the majority of France) that live out in the sticks and rely on our own cars, rather than any hope of a decent public transport network. Let’s see if he changes the much-publicised increase in TVA due here this autumn.
‘Plus ça change plus c’est la même chose’, springs to mind though.
Until the next time, au revoir.