Posted by / Category Politics /

It’s starting again. The French general election is looming, and I keep receiving emails from far too many candidates essentially saying ‘Vote for me!’

The truth is, I don’t read them any more. It’s like deja-vu all over again. Frankly, I can’t be bothered. I still read French newspapers, but it seems to me that, over the last years, France has remained stuck in its old way, and things are not going to change any time soon.

New ideas seem to emerge, like the basic income (which, as I understand it, means that everybody would receive an unconditional sum of money), and I feel like France, once again, hasn’t changed. It’s all nice and well to give money away, but who is going to finance it? France already has one of the highest tax rates in the world! This would cost c. 25% of France GDP, or over 550 Billions Euros. Where would they come from? The already hard-pressed taxpayers and businesses? Seriously? And what about the culture of entitlement that we are going to perpetuate if this is implemented? Who is going to do the hard work, such as collecting the bins, caring about the elderly, cleaning, stacking the shelves…if it’s easier to sit on the sofa and wait for a guaranteed paycheck? As much as the idea can appeal from a theoretical point of view, I find it completely unrealistic.

In fact, from personal experience, sharing and helping must take place in a strong network of reciprocal obligations to be effective. That’s just me, I suppose.

But back to the elections. I don’t read the opinion polls any more. Because if we have learned something in 2016, it’s that opinion polls are wrong more often than not.

Then you have the scandals. It is common practice, in France, when you are a MP, to employ a member of your family to assist you. I have read somewhere that 10 to 15% of MPs do it. Apparently, one of the presidential hopefuls, Francois Fillon, has employed his wife, and all hell is breaking loose because of it. From experience, there will soon be additional scandals, involving usually corruption or sex life. We’ll see. The press will have a field day. What fun! Once again, same old, same old.

Let’s face it, the French presidential election is set to be a closely fought battle between Marine Le Pen, Francois Fillon and possibly Emmanuel Macron. But hey, things can change pretty fast.

In the meantime, unemployment in France remains very high, the black economy is thriving and it’s all about ‘do as I say, not as I do’. You may remember my post on the fact that the French taxman owes me some money (read here: Well, almost 2 years down the line, I am pleased to report that half of what is owed to me was reimbursed…and I have to go to court for the rest, because suddenly the French treasury has gone radio silence, and despite my many calls, emails, letters…. I have no news. They are probably waiting for the next President! Obviously, if I don’t pay my taxes on time, I’ll have to pay a 10% penalty. Such is life.

In short, I am starting to wonder whether it is all worth it. Not to mention that voting in London takes about a couple of hours. So why do I still care? I wonder…