heyrick1973 -at- yahoo -dot- co -dot uk
Immigration and colonisation
So today France votes for the President. Indications are that it will be Hollande trumping Sarkozy, to bring a shift to France to the left and a socialist outlook; though I wonder if the naff (chilly, drizzly) weather would have an influence on the outcome?
Sarkozy wants to press for continued austerity - but I suspect people are looking at Greece, the Netherlands, and even Spain, and realising that relentless austerity saves money and cuts spending, but at what cost? It is like a surgeon saying "the operation was a success, though unfortunately the patient died".
Hollande, on the other hand, wants to encourage growth. This would seem to be a more logical approach - fix the problem by expanding from it, not hacking off supposed excess - however there are numerous questions as to how exactly this might be achieved.
The more interesting thing is that people are starting to get hacked off with the EU. Whether this is right or wrong is a question, as it is common for governments unable to admit their own failings to blame the EU for all manner of things (NuLabour did it frequently, Sarkozy's UMP has been known to do likewise). This, coupled with the ECB's insistence on hard austerity reforms, are starting to cause rifts, especially when if I asked you to point to an austerity programme that is actually working, they'd have to come up with a lot of excuses to justify what "working" means.
All of this plays into the hands of skanky Nazis...sorry, the National Front. In the polls, Marine Le Pen (daughter of the infamous Le Pen that ran in the presidential elections back in 2002) run a worryingly close second place. Around here, in the small towns, the first round polls put Sarkozy first, Le Pen second, and Hollande third.
Personally, I don't like to believe that the French really want a country run by the National Front. Such a thing would fly in the face of the tricouleur and the principles France is built upon (and by telling the rest of the world to eff-off, could stand to do massive harm to the country's reputation and industry). What is, however, running as an undercurrent is the question of immigration.
There are three groups of immigrants into a country.
- Those who make an effort to integrate. I would hope to consider myself into this category. I do not believe I am "French", nor am I sure I would understand what being "French" is, exactly. However, I attempt to speak the language, I work here, I pay taxes. And I get rather annoyed at people who complain that things in France aren't like they are in England. Duh.
- Those who are here as an extended holiday This counts a lot of the ex-pat community. They don't want to learn French, they've little interest in working, it's like a giant holiday crossed with a never-ending piss-up. They're an annoyance to the residents, no doubt, but they aren't here to stay. Five years, ten if they're well off.
- Those who, frankly, abuse hospitality A group of people who have no interest to be French, who don't want to speak the language, who consider it acceptable to get themselves into the social welfare system and then support the more extreme who believe that what France really needs is to switch to a different form of law, one based on religious retributions.
I'm sure you might be able to figure out what I am referring to with the third group, however I have to be careful phrasing it because there are rules in place to prevent a variety of forms of discrimination, even in the case of discussing insolent behaviour. As a result of this, it is easy for political groups to lump "foreigners" into one tidy category, even though the only thing we all have in common is our not being born within the borders of metropolitan France.
This is, however, a question that people are going to have to get around to asking openly without fear of being branded a hater, a racist, or worse. The question of why, and by what right, does a person with no interest in assimilating into a country, come to said country?
France is not perfect, but it functions fairly well. There is a rule of law, it is fairly well organised, even if it is damn near impossible to get the Gendarmes (rural police) to come out to deal with errant cattle. The people are reasonably well educated. It runs as a democracy which is no more or less corrupt than equivalent first world countries. People often pick on France's military defeats because they are to stupid to realise that Napoléon rocked it up and down Europe for a decade. France performed spectacularly poorly in World War II, but if we're to judge all of their history upon that, kindly tell me a successful American military operation in the last century (remember - Korea and Vietman weren't exactly 'won', US involvement in the European side of WW2 was less than they take credit for, and it's not a surprise Japan waved a white flag after having been nuked...twice, then there's the lurking disaster in Afghanistan and the mess that Iraq still is - both of which will have an influence in the coming years).
France does not need a different mindset, a different religion, or a different law. If this is your opinion, the best thing you can do is go back to wherever you came from - for if this is you, you aren't an immigrant, you are a colonial at best.
People should treat living in another country not as a right (irrespective of what international agreements may say) but more as a privilege.
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