Time seems to pass more slowly in Normandy, where we are spending our Easter break. I love it here. First of all, it is completely empty and we have the beach all to ourselves. Apparently, the hordes of tourists will arrive next week. And, to top it up, the weather is simply perfect -coming here for Easter was a massive gamble, and I am pleased that we haven’t had any rain yet…
The big shock came when I started watching the news on the national TV channels. To cut a long story short, I don’t feel French any more. There is a general election at the end of the month and the campaign is simply appalling. For some reason, the candidates want to find scapegoats to explain why the economy over here is in such a dire state. Nothing is said about the mandatory age of retirement -at 62, France is one of the countries where you can retire reasonably young, given the life expectancy. Some civil servants still have the right to retire at 50 or 55 but obviously no-one talks about it. And in most places, you only have to work 35 hours a week -the rest is paid as overtime, hence you earn more. Seeing your physician will set you back by 3 Euros (you pay 23 and get reimbursed 20), and public education is very good and entirely free.
But guess what: some French have betrayed their home country: they left for tax heavens such as Belgium or …London. I am afraid I belong to the traitors now. To punish us -because we are somehow responsible for the mess- the candidates want to create an”exit tax” and various other new taxes. In short, people like me are the ones to blame for the turmoil. As you know, I am a really bad person. I totally admit it: I am much happier in London and no exit tax will make me come back. Naughty me. You can’t put a price on happiness. Even if taxes in London are high too (I am sure that French people wouldn’t believe me, but sadly that’s the case…).
And what is even funnier is the battle of the partners. French politicians seem to belong to the same circles where -once again I apologise for being so blunt- everybody slept with everybody. Segolene Royal is now campaigning for her ex-partner Francois Hollande, who left her for the journalist who was covering the French campaign, Valerie Trierweiler. As for the actual first lady, Carla Bruni, well, she had affairs with various politicians before marrying the president. It is a small world, isn’t it?
I could continue but I am sure that you see my point.
So where does this leave me? Well, I don’t know. I feel less and less French, that’s for sure. And I will get my British passport sooner rather than later.