Desecration of Paris churches.
The group calling itself Femen originated in Ukraine; they have now left that country and based themselves in Paris.
The standard French stamp shows the face of Marianne (the Republic); the artist who won the competition for the current stamp (competition judged by school children) used the face of Inna Shevchenko, one of the founders of Femen, to represent the French Republic.
As a sign of gratitude, on 12 February 2013 Femen desecrated Notre Dame in Paris in their trademark way and on 20 December they staged the abortion of Jesus Christ in the Madeleine church also in Paris, declaring Christmas was thereby cancelled. Nothing was done in either case, except some weak general statement by Hollande during a speech, about ‘unacceptable acts’. Femen knew they were quite safe in their provocation. The Republic was founded against the Church, both in its origins in the 1790s and in its 3rd Republic incarnation in the 1880s. Indeed an Irish writer in the 1920s called France ‘the infidel nation’. The French government seems to be going through an other anti-religious phase at the moment. The State is meant to guarantee freedom of worship, but it does so in a lukewarm manner.
There is a petition to withdraw the stamp from circulation.
No French white feathers
The English are experts at turning shame into glory; the best example must be Dunkirk, but another one is votes for women in 1918, as compared to the tardy and reactionary French who waited till 1945. In fact giving women the vote in 1918 was a reward for women’s despicable role in the First World War in the white feather movement.
Ordinary women as well as prominent Feminists and Suffragettes blackmailed boys and men to enlist for the slaughter. At the start of the war, before conscription, Admiral Charles Fitzgerald founded the Order of the White Feather with support from the prominent author Mrs Humphrey Ward. The idea was that women put pressure on men by handing them a white feather if they were not in uniform. This became so successful and widespread that the government had to issue a silver badge of active service to protect men in civilian clothes from this assault.
In 1914 France had conscription; the war took place on her territory, therefore less desperate measures were needed to get the men to fight. England had no obviously vital need to be in the war, hence the need for intense propaganda, and blackmail in which women joined with enthusiasm, hence their reward.
An article in the Irish Times recently complained that voters in Ireland knew personally those they voted for. How awful. MPs canvassed voters, knocked on doors and knew the voters by name! The writer, one must suppose, much preferred the English system where people have no idea who is standing and don’t bother to turn out on polling day. London is at the moment discussing another way for citizens and government to connect: water cannon.
France is between Ireland and England, nearer to Ireland but leaning dangerously towards the English model. The campaign to destroy local democracy is ongoing. There are more ways than one to destroy local involvement in public affairs. Stop MPs from being involved in local affairs, by being Mayors as well as MPs. This is an old campaign.
But here is a new one, dating from 2007 and expanded in 2013. To stand for local election you have to present a list of people who will form the municipal Council if elected; the Municipal Council will vote for the Mayor, usually the first person named on the list. Electors vote for a list, list headed by a personality of a party or coalition of parties. From 2014 all lists have to include 50% women; indeed it is obligatory to list men and women’s names alternately, one man, one woman etc. It is like decreeing that 50% of First Division Football players should be women. You would do that if you wanted to destroy the sport. Needless to say, such a decree would not have a chance. But local democracy not being lucrative, you can do what you want with it.
There is a humiliating element in this. With colleagues who might be men or women, you are trying to do a serious and demanding job, that matters to your fellow citizens. But an absurd and arbitrary regulation handicaps you in the performance of that task. You could be excused for thinking that your efforts are not taken seriously. This new regulation applies for the elections taking place Sunday 23 March and Sunday 30 March. It has caused a lot of difficulty in making up lists. Social engineering is all very well, but many women are not interested in taking up politics, especially in smaller towns and villages.
The comparison with First Division Football is not totally apt, as each player is equally important in the team, unlike in a municipal council, where there are more or less important posts. The mayor is most often a man, and the important posts, finance in particular, occupied by men. Martine Aubry is by all accounts a very good mayor of Lille, nevertheless fewer than 14 % of the 36,769 mayors in France are women.
A commentator discussing this issue on Europe 1 radio pointed out that same sex marriage had done away with gender differences in law, when they were being rigorously applied in politics. The Civil Code, the ancient text that regulates life in France, was altered in 2013 to remove all mention of men and women, mothers and fathers, grand-mothers and grand-fathers. But suddenly municipal lists must have men and women specifically.
In the past, by definition, as many men as women got married. Now more men get married, as there are 3 men-only marriages for 5 same-sex marriages. Parity that existed naturally is done away with, and an artificial one is attempted.
Standing in local elections
Another way to weaken local democracy is to make the job of Mayor so hard that it becomes an intolerable burden. One way to do that is to prosecute or threaten to prosecute Mayors. Mayors are personally legally responsible for things they can’t really control and they face prosecution when things go wrong. Normally 30% of Mayors stand down at each election. This year it is 40%.
A piece of good news
An opinion poll, commissioned by le Parisien Magazine in March 2014, has come up with such an unacceptable answer for the media that it has not been published by that magazine. People were presented with 14 names of politicians and asked who in their opinion would do a better job than François Hollande as president. The name of Dominique Strauss-Kahn came up first (56%); Alain Juppé was in second place with 53%. Then Nicolas Sarkozy and Manuel Valls (the present interior minister) 49% and 48%. DSK’s name was included in the list because he had been spontaneously mentioned by the population in previous polls.
This shows that the population can think for itself, and is not the helpless victim of propaganda. They are able to distinguish the important from the unimportant. They realise that finance is a vital element in the future of the country and that the country needs experts in this field. They still believe, despite media hammering, that private life is private life and not of vital interest to the country, whether you are a politician or not.
Attacking politicians ostensibly for their use of prostitutes is a manoeuvre, generally a political attack masquerading as a moral crusade (DSK was working on an alternative to the dollar, so had to be eliminated, Eliot Spitzer was working on tax on business; in each case the presumed crime concerned irregularities regarding payment). Being able to use prostitutes without being exposed is one of the perks of towing the line, in particular the pro-dollar line. And it’s risky behaviour if you want to step out of line at any point. Women are indeed exploited, when they are used to whip up indignation against politicians who might be doing important political work that goes against prevailing interests.
It is wonderful news therefore that the French population polled that weekend were able to ignore the red rags presented to it by the media and see reality as it is. The reaction of the spurned media is comical.
Result of First Round in local elections.
65% went to the polls. The average turn out in England for local elections is around 40%. The UMP (Centre Right coalition) was ahead, then the Socialist Party. The National Front won 4% of votes. The second round will decide the final result.