World view – Friday

Thursday GMT


For posting on events, news, opinions and anything of interest from around the world.

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  1. The Consultant

     /  7th December 2018

    The Betrayal of Macron:

    Although he probably thinks it the other way around, I am referring to the betrayal by President Macron of those who voted for him.

    Lots of interesting insights into France’s current problems.

    t is, BTW, impossible to live in rural or even smallish town France without access to a personal motor vehicle unless one is wealthy (and even then not simple).

    You see most public transport, except that within Nice and within some other coastal towns (but not between said towns) shuts down around 9pm.

    The result are apparently plenty of drivers who – while not smashes – are at or slightly over the blood/alcohol limit as a result of having that extra tipple of brandy after dinner. But the French solve this in their classic manner:

    In fact at this time of year on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday night I’d guess that about 90% of the vehicles driving after about 9pm on country lanes are being driven by someone in that state. They aren’t tested and arrested because the Gendarmes know full well that a crackdown on this would catch their friends, colleagues and bosses and because (see the recent protests and riots), a Gendarmerie that did so would probably be besieged by the locals who would be noting names and license plate numbers if they weren’t pelting the entire place with manure or petrol bombs.

    The writer goes on to say that, outside of the tourist trails, rural France is slowly dying.

    He also points out the problems with their labour laws, such as companies wasting money to artificially split when they approach the 50 employee mark because the red tape for companies with over 50 employees is a nightmare. It’s also led to decades of youth unemployment hovering around 25%. Macron said he would fix all this but…

    That’s the background to Macron deciding that if he was going to do something unpopular he’d rather kiss up to the environmentalists than enrage the unions. Plus this would appear statesmanlike and allow him to take his divinely appointed place as the primary European leader and stand up to that horrible Trump person.

    This is not what he was elected to do. His voters wanted him to fix France and the French economy.

    I don’t think it’s fixable in the classic manner. I think a fair amount of crash and burn has to happen first otherwise people won’t accept that there’s any need to change. But there may be a bigger problem, considering that Macron came out of nowhere to win, as the old parties died, and is now seen as a dead-man-walking himself:

    The problem is that the 2017 election saw the destruction of all major traditional parties/groupings to the benefit of En Marche and the extremists of the far left and far right. At this point no one sees any of the traditional politicians as electable in 2022.

    Plus an even bigger problem:

    At some point, it is too much. Just as the citizens suffering under Soviet rule finally said no more, the people suffering under social-democratic rule might someday do the same. Observers have waited decades to see reforms that might forestall such a thing. Reforms haven’t happened. Now the people are in the streets, setting fires and protesting the police.

    And it’s not just France. It’s spreading to Belgium and the Netherlands – the building of a European Spring.

    What we see in Paris today might be the end of social democracy as we know it. What comes in its place is what the battle of ideas today is really about.

    As usual, I wouldn’t get too smug about our Kiwi Social Democracy.

  2. Blazer

     /  7th December 2018

    Sarkozy,Hollande,Macron….little men,with little impact.
    France needs a bold new leader,maybe a Gaulist Merkel….(not La Penn.)

  3. The Consultant

     /  7th December 2018

    Had to chuckle about this, Trump saying out loud what other people think.:

    The friction came to a head in early 2017 when senior officials offered Trump charts and graphics laying out the numbers and showing a “hockey stick” spike in the national debt in the not-too-distant future. In response, Trump noted that the data suggested the debt would reach a critical mass only after his possible second term in office.

    “Yeah, but I won’t be here,” the president bluntly said, according to a source who was in the room when Trump made this comment during discussions on the debt…

    Several people close to the president, both within and outside his administration, confirmed that the national debt has never bothered him in a truly meaningful way, despite his public lip service. “I never once heard him talk about the debt,” one former senior White House official attested.

    As the writer – the aways funny “Allahpundit”, who regularly harvests grief from Trump-worshippers on that Rightwing site – points out, nobody cares about the US deficit and debt, despite all the lip service:

    Did Ryan and McConnell try to get him to think seriously about the debt? If the party’s conservative ideologues don’t care about this issue, why on earth would he?

    Five years later they would be handed total control of government, free to pursue whatever bold reforms they chose and with the power if need be to eliminate the filibuster in the Senate to enact them. What’d they do with that power?

    Zip. Nothing. Nada! But as the writer argues:

    Don’t be too hard on him, though. Congress is paralyzed on this issue because the public is. A sober electorate willing to reckon with the consequences of entitlement-driven debt slowly cannibalizing the federal budget would accept some pain in the interest of long-term sustainability. Our electorate isn’t sober and isn’t willing to reckon with those consequences in a serious way. Vote against Social Security and Medicare and you’re finished politically. We get the leaders we deserve.

  4. Gezza

     /  7th December 2018

    I notice that “The Caravan” seems to have fallen right off the radar of the usual suspects in the msm. Guessing that, as expected, it was obvious even to Trump’s most parochial and hypocritical of critics, no country was going to let any group of potentially thousands of foreigners ignore their borders, and their right to decide who can immigrate, and walk on in to settle.

    Putting the military on the border, and having them fire off a few cannisters of teargas at the first unarmed assault on the fences, seems to have clarified the matter for everyone, including Mexico, without inflicting any casualties.

    The UN needs to gets its arse into gear to sort this issue out.

  5. The Consultant

     /  7th December 2018

    In praise of the Gilets jaunes:

    leftists in Britain and the US have been largely silent, or at least antsy, about this people’s revolt. The same people who got so excited about the staid, static Occupy movement a few years ago — which couldn’t even been arsed to march, never mind riot — seem struck dumb by the sight of tens of thousands of French people taking to the barricades against Macronism.

    Hmmmmm!!!!!! I’m trying to remember the last time that the global Left was not super-excited about “People Protests”. Maybe during the US Teaparty protests in ’09-’10?

    It isn’t hard to see why. It’s because this revolt is as much against their political orthodoxies as it is against Macron’s out-of-touch and monarchical style. Most strikingly this is a people’s rebellion against the onerous consequences of climate-change policy, against the politics of environmentalism and its tendency to punish the little people for daring to live relatively modern, fossil-fuelled lives.

    Luckily for the Green-Labour government in NZ, Kiwis are incredibly apathetic about protests nowadays. The 1980’s had a surge, but that was as much about Muldoon, on top of almost two decades of unbroken National rule (’72-’75 Labour a mere blip), plus a reaction to old “conservative” New Zealand as the 60’s Boomers really came of age and the follow-up generations showed how fed up with the status quo they were too.

    But in the wake of the dashing of all the hopes and dreams of Lange’s Labour, followed by Helen’s Labour, together with go-along-to-get-along National, there just does not seem much for Kiwis to get excited or angry about.

    So Green-Labour can win on this issue where Macron has failed.

  6. The Consultant

     /  7th December 2018

    This photoshopped image of Macro did not come from some fringe website, but the Economist:

  7. The Consultant

     /  7th December 2018

    For your viewing pleasure…


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