Let’s start with the fact that I am upset. To me, French politicians in general and the actual government in particular have lost any credibility whatsoever. The last straw was a few days ago when the Budget minister, who was in charge of tackling tax evasion, admitted to having a hidden account in Switzerland with €600 000 on it. In itself, this is not illegal. What is illegal is the fact that he didn’t declare it and repeatedly said that the allegations of tax evasion against him were false, even threatening to sue anyone who would report them. He lied to his colleagues, to the Parliament, and tried to intimidate anyone who would dare to mention the matter until, eventually, he had no choice but to admit the truth. The whole saga lasted a few months.
The French media were surprisingly polite and considerate in reporting this. You may remember that a newspaper insulted businessman Bernard Arnault (f… Off, rich c****) just for wanting to become Belgian and our Prime Minister said that the actor Gerard Depardieu was ‘pathetic’ because he wanted to move to Russia. Well, I couldn’t find any insults in the newspapers this time around and the word ‘pathetic’ wasn’t used at all. A clear case of double standard. Journalists and politicians have always had a cosy relationship in France. Very cosy indeed.
But fear not: in order for my readers to understand what this is all about, I have decided to compile a list of the skills that you need to have if you want to make it as a politician in France. This list will be useful next time you hear another big fat lie or another lecture citing French philosophers coming from one of our beloved leaders.
1. Being a sex pervert is seen as a quality (DSK);
2. Having lots of affairs is a sign of good health (F. Hollande, J Chirac, F Mitterrand….the list is too long and I would need several posts to be exhaustive);
3. You don’t need to apply the principles that you preach. Principles are completely disconnected from the reality and laws don’t apply to you anyway (see Jerome Cahuzac). Of course they don’t;
4. It is all about scoring points and not doing things. Debating is much more important than solving problems. After all, you need to be popular, not solve issues, right?
5. If something goes wrong, just create a new law/decree/rule (it is a shame that there is no law against hypocrisy and incompetence). See, you have done something! No wonder we end up with so many laws and rules;
6. It helps to be married to a journalist (a lot), or to have one as a lover;
7. It also helps to have a degree of Ecole Nationale d’Administration (for some reason, most French politicians have the same academic background. Exactly the same. And it is not about what you learn, it is about your grades. Go figure);
8. No need to speak English or any other language. Who needs anything else when you speak French?
9. No need to have any work experience. Having worked in the private sector is actually frowned upon;
10. You can change side. Clearly, it doesn’t matter as long as you remain in power. Francois Mitterand used to support Petain before becoming a resistant of the eleventh hour at the end of WW2. He then became a socialist.
In short, I am gutted. Is it the same everywhere? Older generations have fought hard for a democracy and this is what we get! I can’t believe it. I am so angry that I am considering getting rid of my French citizenship. I probably need to calm down. What would you do?
Muriel – A French Yummy Mummy In London