TF1, a French TV station carries this [link disabled] video report of a debate within France’s Socialist Party, concerning the ratification of the EU Constitution. Two campaigning websites each for and against are listed.
The ‘No’ camp is split with supporters of Henri Emmanuelli on the one hand, a corrupt politician who’s main claim to fame was his position as Treasurer of the Socialist Party when many of its leading figures were being caught stealing public funds to finance the Party. On the other side are supporters of Laurent Fabius, part of what was once the reformist wing of the Socialist Party (in the mid 1980s). Fabius himself of course is one of the blood contamination killers, four Socialist politicians who allowed HIV infected blood to be used in blood transfusions, leading to the contamination of as many as 2,000 French haemophilliacs or half the total French haemophilliac population. I seem to recall that there was a screening method that was delayed, on the grounds of cost. Naturally, the politicians escaped punishment, other than a token criminal conviction for “involuntary homicide”.
Details of the campaigning sites can be found here.
Sadly, with champions like this, the credibility of a “Non!” campaign would be somewhat stretched. Even in France.
President Jacques Chirac, who has just rushed to the military hospital in Clamart to be at Yasser Arafat’s bedside, took time off to pen a letter to his American colleague. My translation [handwritten bits in bold]:
Mister President, Dear George
In the name of France and in my personal name, I wish to express to you my most hearty congratulations for your re-election to the Presidency of the United States of America.
I make the wish that your second mandate will be the opportunity to reinforce franco-american friendship. The ceremonies for the sixtieth anniversary of the landings paid a shining hommage to the American soldiers who fell on the Normandy beaches for our freedom and that of Europe.
It is in the spirit of dialogue, esteem and mutual respect that our co-operation, our common combat against terrorism and the action that we carry out together to promote liberty and democracy, must continue.
We cannot find satisfactory answers to the numerous challenges against which we are confronted today without a close transatlantic partnership. The United States and France are called upon to play in this an essential role. We share the ambition of assuring to the greatest number peace, security and prosperity, in the spirit of solidarity [this usually means entitlement programs in French]. I am convinced that together, we can get there.
I beg you to believe, Mister President, of the assurance of my very high opinion of you. and of my very cordial friendship
I bet that was painless. Oh and I hope that the President Chirac is careful in his motorcade coming home from Clamart. That’s right next to the road junction where the OAS tried to assassinate General de Gaulle (as seen in the Day of the Jackal) in 1962. And we would not want anything to happen to Fidel Castro, Saddam Hussein and Yasser Arafat’s favourite Frenchman.
There is a stirring of campaign groups to oppose the EU constitution ratification in France. My latest posting on Combat links to the ‘acceptable’ opposition groups. To these we could add the far-right, who will no doubt be excluded from the ‘official No campaign’.
Our biggest problem at the moment is the total lack of a mainstream anti-EU press. This is not that different from the Maastricht campaign of 1992, and at least the Internet is reducing the organisational advantage to the political establishment. We may also have funding problems, though this is not the concern right now.
At the moment, the main job is trying to establish who can vote and where. The big questions concern foreigners. Can they vote? Can they donate funds to the campaigns? I shall keep posting.
The good news today is a rumour of dissent in the French Socialist Party. The leadership has committed the Party to voting ‘Yes’, wheras many members would have liked to wait until the text was actually available in September before deciding.
Unless he was lying on national television again, or changes his mind like he did several times over the Maastricht Treaty, Saddam Hussein’s best chum has announced that the French (and colonies) will be given a chance to vote on the proposed European Union constitution.
Lucky, we know all the dirty tricks that can be used in such a referendum campaign, they were all used last time by the Florentine François Mitterand, to get the Maastricht Treaty through. So we shall be campaigning in Guadeloupe, and Martinique, and the Isle de la Réunion, and French Polynesia, St Pierre et Miquelon and New Caledonia, and Wallis et Futuna if necessary to avoid losing by 40,000 votes. Get the Atlas out!
I am starting a voter registration guide among the French refugees living in London. I am also checking whether foreign EU citizens living in France can vote and how to arrange this. My new blog Combat (named after the WWII Resistance magazine against the Nazi occupation) launched today will be tracking the campaign in French.
Instead of the national anthem’s “aux armes citoyens!”, let us “aux urnes citoyens!”
*”To the ballot boxes citizens!”
In France on Sunday, Nicolas Sarkhozy has manouvered the UMP government party into supporting a referendum for the proposed EU constitution [link in French].
The decision to hold a referendum will be taken by President Jacques Chirac (anyone’s guess what that will be), but the call by the newly appointed Minister of Finance represents a shift away from automatic rubber-stamping by the French parliament.
Privately Chirac will be fuming. He hates Sarkhozy and fears his possible election in 2007 as President. Unlike the recently convicted fraudster Alain Juppé, Mr Sarkhozy might not feel inclined to whitewash the current President’s dubious financial history. Meanwhile, Alain Juppé the UMP party chairman, has endorsed Mr Sarkhozy’s call with the qualification: “within the constitutional prerogatives of the President”. Mr Juppé no doubt feels it is a good time to roll with his colleague’s punches.
A mindboggling article on the TF1 (French TV) website.
Apparently, Jacqeues Chirac is dedicating today’s presidential press conference to the subject of EU enlargement. The analysis is that this will dillute French influence in the EU, shift the balance of power in a more “Atlanticist” direction, and help bring about back-door free-market reforms.
The French Socialist Party has decided to make the threat of a libertarian Europe (Europe libérale) the main plank of its European election campaign, citing the EU constitution as part of the potential problem. They think it is going to be amended into something terrifying (i.e. good). Especially horrible for the European left is the prospect of cross-border private welfare arrangements: buying private pensions and health insurance without the ‘protection’ of nationalized welfare monopolies. Get your life insurance in France, health insurance in Germany and your pension in the UK for example.
Jacques Chirac as the agent of Anglo-Saxon capitalists! Priceless.
Don’t let’s be beastly to the Germans!
But don’t let’s be beastly to the Hun!
- Noel Coward
Former celebrity brain tumour sufferer and Labour politician Dr Mo Mowlem reportedly believes that we need to “negotiate with Bin Laden”, along the lines of terrorism appeasement in Northern Ireland.
In the spirit of reconciliation I propose the following gestures of good faith:
- Remove all British forces from the Middle East and Afghanistan.
- Break off diplomatic relations with all non-Islamic countries.
- Ban women from holding any educational qualifications past primary school.
- Ban women from holding any jobs other than primary school teacher, nurse or doctor in women only clinics. Especially remove all women from political office.
- Ban all Jews from holding political office, working in the public sector, the media and the legal profession.
- Prohibit the sale or consumption of alcohol between 3pm on Fridays and noon on Saturday.
- Release all Moslem terrorist suspects.
- Order the Archbishop of Canterbury to publicly abjure Christianity [Editor's note: is this not already the case?] and exhalt the supremacy of Islam. Convert the established churches of England, Scotland and Ireland to Islam.
- Prohibit all religious education in schools, except Islam.
- Order the abdication of Her Majesty the Queen in favour of a male relative (her husband perhaps).
Obviously, we should hold back on some Islamist demands until we have some reciprocal agreements from Mr Bin Laden, for instance:
- No mass public executions of homosexuals and female adulterers.
- No public flogging of drug or alcohol addicts.
- No enforcement of the veil for non-Moslem women.
- No declaration of war on Israel and the USA.
- No handing-over of British nuclear, biological and chemical weapons technology to al-Qaeda.
After all, we must have something to bargain with!
Just an after-thought. Am I confused, or did negotiating with the IRA lead to a split with even more violent factions launching even more deadly bomb attacks?
The Jews are behind materialism, animal sexuality, the destruction of the family and the dissolution of society. Principal among them are Marx, Freud, Durkheim and the Jew Jean-Paul Sartre.
Sayid Qutb, former leader Muslim Brotherhood, quoted by Barbara Amiel.
Well I disagree with the conclusion, but I must admit that the pantheon of evil is pretty exhaustive.
Marx: the inspiration for all the best serial killers
Freud: the apologist for all the best serial killers
Durkheim: serial killer of brain cells
Brian reminds us that if Dr Kelly’s death was embarrassing for the BBC and the British government, the capture alive of Saddam Hussein is potentially very embarrssing for the French President Jacques ‘the Crook’ Chirac.
Following his story, I decided to check out TF1, the major TV channel, to see what coverage – if any – there was about the Bagdad story. It certainly is not front page news in Paris.
For good reason…
One of the leading stories in France today is the report of an investigative judge into the sale of frigates by what was then Thomson-CSF to Taiwan in 1991. Under the ethical trade (!) clauses in this 14 billion French Franc contract (about 1.9 billion US dollars), if it were proved that bribes had been paid, the guilty party would have to pay damages of up to 600 million US dollars.
The government at the time was the Socialist Party and the prime minister would probably have been Pierre Bérégovoy, who committed suicide by firing an indeterminate number of bullets into the wrong side of his head shortly before being called to appear in court on charges of channelling public funds into the bank accounts of most of his Socialist buddies, or arch-crook Edith Cresson, she of the dentist-gigolo hired at the European Commission who called English MPs a bunch of public-school homosexuals. I forget which.
Naturally the damages will all be paid by the French government, i.e. the taxpayers. The notion that the political party or the politician that stole the money should be held somehow responsible? Where would it end…
“Corruption scandal? Which corruption scandal?”
Sitting here in London, I am horrified at the decision by Coca-Cola to remove its brand logo from drinks dispensers (which sell Coca-Cola) in English schools, afraid of being branded (!) exploitative.
It must therefore be all right – according to les bien-pensants – to prohibit freedom of commercial expression in England and Wales, but it is not all right to keep religious bigotry and bullying out of school in France?
Let us be clear, if wearing a scarf were no more than a style preference or an expression of belief, it could only be objected to on grounds of taste, which is something that bureaucrats and politicians collectively, are not known for having. However, the scarf is too often the product of beatings, threatened rape, and patriarchal oppression, with state schools juggling the demands of children’s rights versus political correctness.
If Coca-Cola were truly capable of using the illuminated front of a drinks-dispenser to brainwash children into switching from Pepsi, vodka and crack cocaine, then there could be a case for the school’s prohibition of the display. It is rather strange to assume that children would naturally rather drink soy milk. I would find it odd to go to a school where girls were beaten by Islamic bullies with impunity for not wearing modest clothing and where children were harangued by teachers about the evils of Coca Cola.
The next time that I hear French Imams condemn the use of compulsion against girls who dress according to Western norms, I shall withdraw my support for the headscarf ban. In the meantime, in protest against spineless Coca-Cola, I shall make a point of ordering Pepsi.
French state schools, unlike the British or American varieties, were founded explicitly to oppose clerical power. They are the most visible and enduring bastions of secularism in France. Originally, the prohibition of religious symbols in schools was aimed against Catholics. Many of the supporters of secularism in the 19th century in France were non-conformist or atheist: often Protestant or Jewish. The antisemistism of such groups as Action Française from the 1890s onwards is in turn a reaction against the French radical assault on Catholic society. In the early 20th century a deal was worked out that allowed religious schools to operate alongside the secular system.
The Islamist campaign against secularism is what the headscarf law is about. In some schools, violence has been threatened against girls who refused to wear scarves. Apologists for fundamentalists (ususally socialists hoping to play the race card) condoned the violence and have allowed a climate of terror in French schools.
As a libertarian, I oppose state schools. But also as a libertarian, I also support the prohibition of Islamic fundamentalist intimidation. If Islamic schools really allowed freedom to exit, I could back Moslem campaigns for lifting any restrictions the French government might have against their own schools.
When I visit a mosque, I take off my shoes, I do not interfere with the religious devotions of the worshippers, and I do not demonstrate my own devotions to eating pork and drinking beer. The person who chooses a turban ahead of an education has got “I’m a loser!” stamped all over him. But the people who organise the headscarf campaigns do not want freedom of choice: they want a licence to coerce.
This is not a campaign for religious freedom: Moslems are free to set up their own schools. It is a campaign to separate the public and the private sphere: in the school each pupil’s religious affiliation is a private and not a public matter.
Far be it from me to condone the criminal régime of Chirac. But, this is the same fight as the Turkish Army’s fight to defend a secular state against the fundmentalist tyranny. It is a small corner of the War on Terror, and compared with the some of the antics of the Department of “Homeland Defense” a.k.a. Minipax, one worth fighting.
It is also a campaign against obscurantism. French people often mock those parts of the USA where it is illegal to teach Darwin, or where Creationist theories have to be accorded equal credibilty in the classroom.
The French Trade Unions are up in arms at the disgraceful antics of pro-government activists. It seems that in response to the national strike by bureaucrats desperate to preserve their looting rights, a group of libertarian and pro-market conservative activists bombarded the mail servers of the trade unions with several million email messages crying out a stronger version of “Enough is Enough!” ["Ras le Bol!"].
As Marc Blondel, the General Secretary of FO (Force Ouvrière = “Workers’ Power”) bleated: “This is no way to engage in dialogue”. The anti-strike campaign was launched by “Droite libre” (“the Free Right”) a faction in the pro-government party. The grouping is led by former candidate to the UMP leadership, Rachid Kaci. He described the action as “supporting the reform of [state bureaucrats'] pensions. They blocade France, we blocade their email inboxes.”
The campaign will continue in retaliation for any further strikes by the transport and teaching unions. I thought that I might include the list of email addresses being bombarded by the Free French forces, just in case any foreigners might wish to add their comments:
firstname.lastname@example.org; SUD-Rail@wanadoo.fr; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; emploi-garanties-coll.@cgt.fr; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
Vive La France Libre!