Tuesday, 24 April 2007

A day's work versus A day on the beach

I can't in all honesty say that the French elections would usually hold much interest for me but this year is different. It is all rather reminiscent of the 1980's and Margaret Thatcher. Are the French prepared to vote for a day's work or would they rather have a day at the beach? It looks like they are going to vote for a day's work. Which brings me back to the 1980's. Many people in the UK have either forgotten the way things used to be here or are too young to remember. When I was a child growing up in the 1970's barely a week seemed to go by without some part of the state going on strike and in those days the state owned rather a lot of the economy - electricity, gas, phones, water, British Airways, British Rail, London Transport etc. And strikes caused real inconvenience and in some cases outright hardship. I can recall many evenings spent doing homework by candlelight and some days at school with no heating in midwinter - now, of course, the teachers would refuse to work and everyone would go home. We clearly were all made of sterner stuff. And Maggie tapped into that. When faced with over mighty unions and restrictions on their earning powers, most people find they actually want to work and think it should be left to them to decide how much.

When listening to French people talk about the choices facing them, the language they use is very similar to the language of the 80's and a million miles from the language of David Cameron. But that's as it should be. The French are facing the decline that we faced thirty years ago while we face a completely different set of problems - many of them the result of the successes of the Thatcherite revolution and Britain's historic unwillingness (at least since the Victorians) to invest in infrastructure.

I personally would vote for Sarkozy but then I'm one of Thatcher's children.

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