We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Samizdata quote of the day

“Thatcher had to see off the fury of miners fighting pit closures, a dispute that dragged on for a year but which failed to mobilise other industries or the public at large. Macron is confronted by a nationwide rebellion that unites people of different regions, classes, occupations and political allegiances. While protestors rampaged through Paris last Saturday there was also violent unrest in Toulouse, Bordeaux, Calais, Marseille, Narbonne, Nantes and many towns. This week, more than 100 high schools have been blockaded by pupils who, emboldened by the gilets jaunes, have relaunched their springtime protest movement against educational reform. Farmers, lorry drivers, construction workers and ambulance staff are also threatening to go yellow.”

“It has been said that the gilets jaunes movement is to Emmanuel Macron what the miners’ strike was to Margaret Thatcher in the mid-1980s. Not in the slightest. While the comparison might please Macron — who, from the moment he was elected, has staked his reputation on his determination not only to reform his country’s economic model but also to stand firm when the inevitable backlash erupted — it hides the fact that what the French President faces is far more serious.”  

Gavin Mortimer, Spectator (£).

19 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • pete

    Hollande and now Macron.

    The French are making a habit of electing no-hopers just because they are not Ms Le Pen.

    After choosing their president in such negative way the French should not expect too much from him and the protests are therefore silly. They’ve brought this mess upon themselves.

  • llamas

    Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy 😀 .

    On a tangent – there’s a guy who lives down the street from me – literally – in darkest Michigan. He used to be a UK coal miner, went through the 1984-85 strike, and ended up being laid off anyway. He was young enough that he easily went (back) to college, studied CFD, and now he works on combustion analysis for one of the Big Three.

    For all of the received history about how the miner’s strike(s) and the subsequent pit closures were such an awful blow to the working man and British industry – it’s about time that somebody did a study of what happened to all those fit young men who used to dig coal and who have now had a long working life doing – something else. It would be fascinating to learn what-all they did – like my neighbor – when the market told them that their work in ‘t pit was no longer economically efficient.



  • monoi

    The thing is that Macron isn’t doing anything different from the previous losers. He’s a Sarkozy clone, all hot air and no substance, and is a pure product of the system. The French elect the same losers and expect something new. Except that they don’t really want something new if it was even offered, and which Macron only paid lip service to.

    That said, the GJ demands are too stupid for words: less taxes but at the same time, more state involvement like higher minimum wages, subsidies, higher pensions, etc…

    It is a lot more similar to 1995.

    He’s not a Thatcher or a Trump unfortunately.

  • Rudolph Hucker

    Re the miner’s strike(s) … it’s about time that somebody did a study of what happened to all those fit young men who used to dig coal and who have now had a long working life doing – something else. It would be fascinating to learn what-all they did

    Ref the Kent coalfield

    Coal was discovered in the area in 1890 while borings for an early Channel Tunnel project were taking place


    Betteshanger had a tradition of union militancy. Many of the miners who moved to Kent to work at Betteshanger had been blacklisted in their home areas after the 1926 strike, so there was a high proportion of “hardline union men”. It was the first pit to come out on strike during the Second World War and took active part in the miners’ strikes of 1969, 1972, 1974 and 1984/85. … Betteshanger was actually the last pit in Britain to return to work after the strike


    What’s the betting that some of the Kent ex-miners signed-on as Channel Tunnellers?

  • llamas

    It’s hard to avoid drawing the conclusion that the protestors are protesting, not because taxes are being raised per se, but because they are being raised on the wrong people to be spent on the wrong things.



  • Penseivat

    To many people in the North East and Midlands of the UK, Margaret Thatcher is seen as the wicked witch who shut the pits down. Yet, she didn’t. The then Prime Minister, Harold Wilson, and Trade Secretary Tony Benn closed down more than Margaret Thatcher did, yet you never hear of ex miners insulting their memory, or danced in the streets, as the people of Durham disgracefully did on hearing of Thatcher’s death. Also, when the miners went on strike, on the instructions of Scargill’s NUM, they conveniently forget that Scargill also insisted that those engineers who maintained the equipment that prevented flooding, join the strike. The result was that several mines not destined for closure had to be abandoned ad the equipment designed to prevent flooding was underwater. It’s strange how the Left change history to suit their warped ideals. My Dad was a Nottingham miner and never again voted Labour while he was alive.

  • staghounds

    Many of the same people who curse Thatcher for closing the mines believe that the use of coal causes global warming and should be put an end to by closing the remaining mines…

  • It’s hard to avoid drawing the conclusion that the protestors are protesting, not because taxes are being raised per se, but because they are being raised on the wrong people to be spent on the wrong things.

    The issue is that “the wrong people” are the GJ’s and “the wrong things” means anything from which they don’t explicitly gain full benefit.

    Like a lot of voters all over the place, they demand taxes be raised on someone else to pay for stuff they want. The only problem is there are never enough “rich” to go around (or usually there are not enough “rich” who stick around to get fleeced)

    I’m not surprised London has the largest French community outside of France. Mostly living in Belgravia by the looks of things, so certainly not short of a bob or two.

  • Rudolph Hucker

    How might one get an article published in the Guardian praising Margaret Thatcher as a pioneer of “carbon reduction” and as an effective eco-warrior? I’d love it just for the apoplexy and cognitive dissonance of the Guardinista intelligentsia.

  • bobby b

    ” This week, more than 100 high schools have been blockaded by pupils . . . “

    This is exactly why this affair confuses many of us. It’s the mix – the conservatives and the progressives all protesting at once, under one theme.

    Usually, when I see “high school students” involved in demonstrations, it’s because someone used the wrong pronoun on someone, or they want the vote for twelve-year-olds, or their school should be using all-electric genderless vegan buses.

    It’s as if there’s no unifying theme to the protests – it’s more that someone somewhere declared that “December shall be protest month in France!”

    It even seems that the high-viz jackets have been co-opted for use in the far-left’s protests.

  • Julie near Chicago

    The one I like is the photo of the students (I assume they are students) carrying signs saying “Abolish student debt!” (This from the U.S., not La Belle France.)

    Oh, you mean Abolish Student Loans. Alright, can do.

    (I wish! Government student loans, that is. If banks want to make them, that’s on them, as it should be.)

    –I might mentioned this here before….

  • Fraser Orr

    Whenever I hear people stereotyping based on gender. “Women vote this way”, “Men act in this manner”, I am reminded of the great contrast between Britain’s two women Prime Ministers. Thatcher, won a brilliant renegotiation of the EEC, trounced the unions, denationalized vast swaths of obscene nationalized industries, and was one of the four people instrumental in ending the cold war. May, the other lady from number 10, apparently couldn’t negotiate the purchase of a sausage supper for fifty quid in the local fish and chip shop.

    Apparently, it is more to do with the content of your character than the content of your underpants.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Fraser! 😈 !!! 😆

  • Mr Black

    It seems to be yet another round of the French socialists protesting that they are footing the bill for all the socialism. When I can identify a message other than “we shouldn’t have to pay for the things we want” then it might get interesting.

  • Chip

    You can’t assess the characteristics of a groups by citing the characteristics of one or two individuals within that group. Yes, Thatcher was an incredible leader but also an anomaly for her group.

    On average, women prefer and vote for statists. If women voted as men do, Obama wouldn’t have been elected. Or Trudeau and many other leftists.

  • Paul Marks

    “Striking for jobs is like fornicating for virginity” this old saying is what the “flying pickets” (the murderers who, for example, dropped a large lump of concrete from a road bridge to crush a person in a car underneath) did not understand – the longer the strike-without-a-ballot went on the MORE (not less – MORE) jobs would be lost, as the business of British Coal was undermined.

    As for President Macron – well he has now abandoned his tax increase on fuel, but he has done so only because he is a COWARD. Macron still clings to his Economist magazine-banker view of the world (ever higher taxes on ordinary people, the destruction of traditional nations and culture, the rule of ever bigger government joined-at-the-hip with banks and other politically supported mega corporations…..), Macron was just scared out of his tax increase when ordinary people started to fight back against his aggression against them.

  • stopped doomsday clock

    Here is another list of “yellow jackets” Christmas wishes, big basket with something for everyone.



    Cut taxes, raise wages and pensions, default on debts, leave NATO. What not to like?

    But, regardless what one thinks about French revolutions, you have to admit that the French revolutionary music is superb. Listen and you too will feel the urge to chop heads!


  • The Pedant-General

    ” it hides the fact that what the French President faces is far more serious”

    I disagree entirely.

    Thatcher was fighting for the right of a non-union backed government to govern. At all. It really really actually mattered that she won. She was defending the right of the UK electorate to be governed in the manner that they chose against extremely well organised, communist funded, often violent vested interests. Macron is defending the indefensible against a leaderless group with conflicting demands.

    We are still talking, some 30 years later, about the miners’ strike. The Gilet Jaunes? Meh: it’s the French doing what they do.