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France votes - but hopefully not for Le Pen
As France heads to the polls on Sunday, let's keep our fingers crossed for Macron to come out on top. Because of the general disarray in the world, it is likely that he will face down Marine Le Pen who is the National Front. They've given themselves a new name to try to cutesify their image, but it's really the same old story.
Now, I get that Macron hasn't been able to deliver on all of his promises. This is in part due to the recent whammy years, with Covid and now the side effects of Russian aggression. We'll come back to this, it's important.
I also get that Macron appears to have difficulty working out if he is standing as the leader of France, Europe, or Earth. But at least he is standing as a leader.
The National Front, by whatever guise they come, should not be trusted. I mean, it wasn't until forty-some days ago that Le Pen understood that being Putin's puppy was a rather bad idea. Though, it does make me wonder, if she had been the President, whose side would she have been on?
Likewise, Le Pen was all for Frexit, until she saw what was happening with the UK and decided that it wasn't such a great idea after all...except now she's changed her mind again.
I tend to think of the far right like I think of The Raving Loonies (in UK politics). Sure, some of what they say makes sense, they may even have a few actual good ideas.... but do you really want them running the country?
The problem with the right is that it thrives on hate and division. A good case of "us versus them". Whether it be Muslims, Romanians, or whatever, it is a series of simple sounding solutions and quick soundbites. Reality, however, is not like that. It is extremely easy to lose trust, and it is remarkably easy to destroy things (Russia has wrecked entire cities in days), but it is much harder to create and to gain trust. This is why the far right should never win. All they know is destruction.
You don't need to take my word for it, just look at Britain and what damage has been wrought by a minority far right nationalist party led by a demagogue who was never actually elected in Westminster - ever.
Look, carefully, at Britain. That's what a country looks like when it is led by hypocritical chancers who are, themselves, sufficiently right wing that they'll blithely steer the country on a crash course for the nearest iceberg while telling everybody that everything's fine.
So let me ask you - what does Le Pen really think she is capable of doing? We live in a globalised world now. Sure, Le Pen could, I guess, slam the door and section France off from the world (her infamous 144 point manifesto more than hints at a desire to want to do such a thing - and this, sadly, isn't even the scary parts). Except France has some major global car brands. France also has a major airplane industry, the one where the planes don't have a worrying tendency of falling out of the sky. And as we have seen with the rocketing price of electricity, fuel, and foods... a steroid-infused-Slavic-shit waging war on a neighbouring country has repercussions across the world. France, unless it wants to isolate itself from everybody, is going to be affected by all of this. The policies of the far right simply cannot work.
But, let's say France became Franceland and the rest of the world was marked "Here be dragons", then what? You're going to be looking at massive unemployment. Because in the days of old before the Modern Era, France had a much smaller population, and a lot of them were farmers. Well, actually, a lot of them were serfs and did what they were told and didn't enjoy the many varied perks of life as we know it now.
This cannot be returned to. The reason why is mechanisation. Do you remember the small field sizes? When it was a parcel of land about big enough to build three or four allotements on, and probably lined with trees?
The field size of an "acre" is how much one man can plough with an ox in one day. It's about four tenths of a hectare.
These days? One man in a tractor can easily plough one or two hundred acres in a day. With two men and two tractors, they can do it like they do here - one man ploughs in strips, and the other, with a delay, follows behind tilling the ground smooth and sowing seeds at the same time.
Two people used to be able to plough a little under a hectare in a day, with tilling and sowing coming on subsequent days.
Now, two poeple can completely prepare a hundred hectares in a day. That being done, there's little to do other than management (spray the crops, irrigation if necessary). Then it comes to harvesting. Again, a two man job. One drives the harvester, the other drives the tractor with the big trailer to collect the grain from the harvester.
Actually, the harvesters are so big and fast that it's a three man job, you need two trailers in alternation to keep up. The field? Harvested. All of it. Done. One day? No, one afternoon.
So, tell me, what are people going to do for work? How is the country going to raise money through taxation to fund things?
Macron, for his faults, passionately believes in a more integrated Europe. Given what has happened pretty much out of the blue from Russia, this may well come to pass. With him running France, the country will play an integral part in all of this. With the nazis running the show... god, I dread to think.
This isn't to say that there aren't valid points being made by the right. Points that the mainstream parties will need to look at, lest they be accused of ignoring people's concerns. But Le Pen, for all her words, does not offer viable solutions, or answers. She would like to hold a referendum on bailing out of... well... planet Earth. She's also quite happy with giving the president (herself) much greater scope via referenda and bypassing parliament. The parliament itself would be downsized and all of the local government structures thrown away. France's many regions? Forget about regional devolution, Paris will run the show now thank you.
She wants to recruit many more policemen to keep France safe, plus bring in a presumption of legitimate defence. In other words, she's perfectly okay with police brutality.
On the plus side, she has dropped her advocacy for reinstating the death sentence...for now.
Migration is about 140,000 people a year. She wants to aim for 10,000 tops. Dumping Schengen and creating six thousand frontier police ought to help with that. She also wants to make it far harder for immigrants to be naturalised in the first place, never mind bringing their families. She, of course, leaves out the fact that it is, already, a lengthy complicated and expensive process. I, for example, am not even going to bother trying to be naturalised. I would like to be, but the process is quite onerous.
I mentioned the car brands previously. She would like to re-industrialise France in order to create jobs and make things profitable, applying heavy tariffs to companies that outsource their labour to eastern Europe. Of course, she might not have entirely considered the import/export tariffs that would apply in obtaining the raw materials and selling the finished car, as a non-EU country (where suddenly the German brands will be a lot cheaper in comparison). Just, you know, look at Britain.
And, of course, national preference will be written into the constitution, so if there are two candidates for a job, the Frenchie will be favoured. Ditto companies and state contracts... which of course means that it'll be damn near impossible for a Frenchie to work outside of France.
An official version of French history will be introduced into schools and taught. None of this leftie crap like apologising for the historical cock-ups. Note that this isn't France alone - Britain was a major colonial power, and the royal family were heavily involved in stealing black people from their homes and shipping them en-masse over to The New World to do the jobs the white man was too lazy/proud to do. Only by understanding our history, including all the shitty bits, can we have any hope of attempting to do better in the future.
As for her manifesto, well, it's very typical far right nonsense. There's a bit of Trump, a bit of Putin, and all the things we thought had been put to bed seventy seven years ago.
Vote for that... well... vote for that and you'll get the catastrophe that you deserve. I recall saying the same sort of thing about Brexit and, guess what, every week delivers a new headline.
No, Akshata Murty isn't "just a private citizen"
If you don't know the name, it's the very wealthy (Infosys is the family businesS) wife of Rishi Sunak. If you don't know that name, it's the current Chancellor of the Exchequor (the money man) in British politics.
It turns out that she has been claiming to be non-domiciled in the UK. Apparently one can pay something like £30,000 to be a non-dom. There is nothing unlawful about this. But, wait. Being non-dom means she pays tax in the UK on money earned in the UK. She doesn't, as a non-dom, have to pay tax on overseas earnings. That thirty thousand is likely a drop in the ocean compared to the millions saved.
This coming as the Chancellor raises taxes on ordinary British citizens... who don't get to claim to be non-dom anywhere to escape paying them.
This is why Akshata isn't "just a private citizen" whose affairs are her own and none of our business. She is the wife of a major man in government, which means she will be subjected to being looked at, just as Carrie Symonds was prior to her marrying the buffoon.
But more than that, it is the direct partner of the government money man being immoral in a way that is staggering, even by Tory standards.
Just remember - when you are struggling to pay your taxes, the wife of the chancellor doesn't pay hers.
And when you are struggling to pay the rather large fines handed out for breaking Covid restrictions, the partying people at #10 have been given £50 fixed penalty notices.
This is how the Tory party rolls. Their reality isn't your reality, and they make no effort to hide their lack of interest in yours.
Aside: Paying to be registered as non-domiciled. Who knew that was even a thing? Clearly one rule for the rich and another for the rest of us. Kind of makes you wonder who else is claiming this in order to avoid their rightful taxation...
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|Rick, 8th April 2022, 20:00|
It would seem that the manifesto site (http://www.frontnational.com/le-projet-de-marine-le-pen) is not working. It's giving messages about an unconfigured firewall.
|J.G.Harston, 8th April 2022, 20:24|
"Just remember - when you are struggling to pay your taxes, the wife of the chancellor doesn't pay hers."
Just to point out, that actually she *does* pay her taxes. She pays her Indian taxes on her Indian income from her Indian assets in India.
Admittedly, the optics are really bad, but it's fundamentally no different to me when I was living in Hong Kong and I was paying UK taxes on my UK income from my UK assets.
And isn't it the "progressive" thing that income should be taxed where it's generated anyway? Facebook's UK profits should be taxed in the UK, etc.
|J.G.Harston, 8th April 2022, 20:27|
The other thought is: how has she not been deported by now? I and my then-wife had to struggle through seven years of renewing residencey visas to eventually get British citizenship. Ms Murthy is not a UK citizen, and stubbornly remains a non-UK citizen, surely she's overstayed by a decade or so. Surely the Tories should be gung-ho about ejecting over-stayers who don't contribute to the economy. ;)
|J.G.Harston, 8th April 2022, 20:33|
"One man in a tractor can easily plough one or two hundred acres in a day."
It's a trope, but the invention of the tractor gave us the NHS. With 80% of the population scraping food out of the dirt, there just was not sufficient people to go around to have have the luxury of millions of people working in and all the various chains that feed into having an health system. People who demand the reversal of modern farming methods must be forced to realise that results in loosing probably 90%+ of the modern civilisation they take for granted.
|Rick, 8th April 2022, 21:36|
Clearly if registering as a non-dom allegedly saves a few million, then she's *only* paying Indian tax, and not whatever she would be liable to in the UK.
She won't be deported because, well, because she's loaded. The Tories hate pretty much everyone except the faces on the banknotes.
Oh, I'm not suggesting getting rid of modern farming, I'm using that to highlight the major difference between France in antiquity and France now, to illustrate that when the country of old was pretty much a self contained entity, those who weren't lords or clergy or actual royalty were probably serfs and most of the population (all ~18M of them in 1600) had a place.
One can't go back to those days, so if you're going to yank France out of the world, you'd better have a damned good idea what you're going to do with seventy million people.
|Rick, 10th April 2022, 19:02|
Who will come out on top? It's certainly *not* a sure thing for Macron given that the voter turnout is only around 65% (as of 5pm, the lowest since 2002).
|David Pilling, 11th April 2022, 13:45|
Tony Blair said "globalisation is a fact not a choice", but that was back then. Covid, the war in Ukraine have shown the obvious, you can't have suppliers of vital commodities that are actively seeking to destroy you - capitalists selling you the rope to hang them and all that.
As to Sunak - seemingly unlike footballers, globalisation does not apply to politicians, quelle surprise.
Although EU countries are still handing Putin 1 billion a day.
I am inclined to think TV flogging Le Pen to keep up viewing figures, like always giving the England football team a hope.
|Rick, 11th April 2022, 14:14|
The problem with your analogy is that once in a while, England does actually win.
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