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Ted

From the Financial Times, 11.4.06:

'But although many young French expatriates find satisfying work abroad some of them miss the quality of life they left behind.

Agnes Tounkara, originally from Senegal, gained French citizenship in 2000 and spent four years in Paris working as a researcher for an energy company before moving to the US to work for the French Library and Cultural Centre in Boston. She has two young children, and says she hopes to return to France.

"It's definitely easier to work and have two kids in France," she says. "When you're young and focused on a career, the US seems like heaven, but as you get older and want to work and have a family, France seems more ideal."'

Ted

I see he comes from Normandy. I don't suppose there are a lot of jobs for economics grads at that sort of salary there. But then I think that if an economics grad came from, say, Cornwall, he might also move to London.

Craig McGinty

Here is the full Financial Times article:

http://news.ft.com/cms/s/25255374-c8f8-11da-b642-0000779e2340.html

Chisky in France

I am tired of listening to my smug French work colleagues talking about their wonderful social model and deploring "Anglo-Saxon liberalism" and its inequalities. In France the word "equality" is carved or painted on every public building but it's a blatant sham. The Revolution in 1789 abolished aristocratic privileges, but now the new aristocrats of France are the unproductive and lazy state employees with their jobs for life and taxpayer funded pensions that allow retirement at a ridiculously young age.

The young people from immigrant backgrounds cannot get onto the employment ladder but the privileged and spoilt middle class French kids, who forced Mr.de Villepin to climb down, will not tolerate anything that would open up the job market at the price of shaking up their comfortable, privileged existence. I have lived here for fifteen years now and I can tell you that the housing estates around most larger cities are shocking examples of inequality and deprivation much worse than anything in the unashamedly capitalist UK. Most of the kids there would gladly take any job, secure or not. The demagogues of the left have no solutions to propose for them.

Chisky

Chris

Ah yes, the riots! I was here in 1968 when the student riots caused the fall of the then Republic. Then the protest was ideologically driven and for the "benefit" of the "workers" All of it very admirable and Marxist.

The current stuff is about a perceived threat to the status quo! Revolutionary France? Don't make me laugh, any British person that lives here in France knows that there is more spirit of '68 in any UK council estate.

Ted

Chisky:
"I am tired of listening to my smug French work colleagues talking about their wonderful social model and deploring "Anglo-Saxon liberalism" and its inequalities."

One can hardly blame them when the US/UK media and blogs are full of smug attacks on the French model.

"... now the new aristocrats of France are the unproductive and lazy state employees with their jobs for life and taxpayer funded pensions that allow retirement at a ridiculously young age."

State employees include teachers, doctors and nurses - are they all "lazy" and "unproductive" ? What is the sensible age to retire ? Aren't a lot of young business people in the UK aiming to make money fast and retire early (some appear on A Place in the Sun); sounds very sensible to me. In the UK, it looks as if people will not be able to retire till 68 - and, given the pensions crisis, some won't be able to retire, is that "ridiculous" or just more employee "flexibility"?

"The young people from immigrant backgrounds cannot get onto the employment ladder but the privileged and spoilt middle class French kids..."

What an objective approach again; are ALL the students and pupils who demonstrated "privileged" and "spoilt"? How do you know? What a caricature. They rightly objected to allowing employers to sack people for no reason - would YOU accept that? - within TWO years. Any decent employer doesn't need that long, apart from any other considerations. What they also objected to was the arrogant way Villepin tried to push it through, with no discussion, widely seen as rather stupid.

"I have lived here for fifteen years now and I can tell you that the housing estates around most larger cities are shocking examples of inequality and deprivation much worse than anything in the unashamedly capitalist UK."

And how often did you come back to do your careful survey of British cities ? Did you note this:

"The riots in Oldham, Bradford, Burnley and other cities in Northern England have exposed the enormous amount of anger of Asian youth, in particular, against the oppressive conditions under which they live.

Race discrimination is now one of the most explosive social issues in Britain, for which New Labour has no solution.

In fact their policies have led to a further increase in segregation and isolation of blacks and Asians. In mostly black or Asian areas youth unemployment can be as high as 40%."

http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/groups/B&A/perspectives.html

"Most of the kids there would gladly take any job, secure or not. The demagogues of the left have no solutions to propose for them."

Yes, desperation will make people accept almost anything, that doesn't make it OK. Of course the left is only made up of "demagogues" - in your prejudiced world - and when did you do your survey of the French Left's economic economic ideas ? In fact Villepin is now putting forward alternatives which many of the Left might have suggested, had he asked them.

Ted

Chris: "Ah yes, the riots! I was here in 1968 when the student riots caused the fall of the then Republic. Then the protest was ideologically driven and for the "benefit" of the "workers" All of it very admirable and Marxist."

All of it ? Some of it was romantic utopianism, with such unmarxist slogans - in graffiti - as: "The beach is under the pavement". Marxists sometimes pick up paving stones in demos, but not in search of a beach.

"The current stuff is about a perceived threat to the status quo! Revolutionary France? Don't make me laugh, any British person that lives here in France knows that there is more spirit of '68 in any UK council estate."

Yes, we've heard this line endlessly from the right-wing press; as if they cared about really radical values.

In fact there were changes after 68 (trades unions were involved), but also before it, and these were often hard-won gains and formed what many are now decrying as unrealistically socialist in a world of capitalist globalization. So, no, the students don't want to see that heritage torn up, they fought to preserve the gains of earlier revolutions. That doesn't make them into reactionaries. We'll have to see whether these students and pupils remain as radical as they are in defense of a somewhat more socialist system than the UK, or whether they end up like some of the '68 bunch:

"As always, the media are looking for a photogenic young revolutionary leader, a modern replica of '68 pinups like Daniel Cohn-Bendit, "Danny the Red." But the teenager who more than anyone is pulling the strings of the schoolyard revolt isn't interested in fame. Karl Stoeckel, 19, could not be further from the romantic, preening revolutionaries of '68. He emerges from his tiny back office in a neat sweater, beige trousers and polished shoes, apologizing for the mess left by his comrades. "The '68 leaders were completely different people," he says. "Maybe they were more romantic. But I would not want to become what they have turned into now. It's a little tragic when you see some of them. They are the greatest capitalists in the world."

http://www.guardian.co.uk/france/story/0,,1742624,00.html

chris

Bored with life in retirement are we Ted? In fact, so bored that you have decided to become a pathetic anglophobe apologist for France.

I mourn the passing of the personal diary, unlike weblogs they were a private affair.

Please get a life.

Chisky in France

Always a pleasure Ted. I did note that you had selected some of my posting to thisfrenchlife to post on your weblog under the heading "Anglo-Saxon attitudes" or something like that I think.

I would like to piont out that my heritage is anything but Anglo-Saxon old chap.

Polish father, Scottish mother (with some Irish thrown in for good measure) and finally I was born in Wales.

I notice that you lectured in media when you had something worthwhile to occupy your self with. Am I to understand that you do actually beleive what is written in the newspapers? Funny, I thought that you were an adult.

Chisky

Ted

>Bored with life in retirement are we Ted? In fact, so bored that you have decided to become a pathetic anglophobe apologist for France.<

Life's good thanks. Where do you get the "anglophobe" from; it's like accusing those who criticise Bush and co. of anti-Americanism. A New labour phobe - yes.

"I mourn the passing of the personal diary, unlike weblogs they were a private affair. Please get a life."

In other words you don't have any arguments, how sad :-)

Ted

Chisky: "Always a pleasure Ted. I did note that you had selected some of my posting to thisfrenchlife to post on your weblog under the heading "Anglo-Saxon attitudes" or something like that I think.

I would like to piont out that my heritage is anything but Anglo-Saxon old chap.

Polish father, Scottish mother (with some Irish thrown in for good measure) and finally I was born in Wales.<

Of course, this doesn't mean that your ATTITUDES aren't rather typical of Anglo-Saxon ones, as US/UK economic policies are often described - rather unfairly to Anglo-Saxons actually :-) Cf: "The idea of an early Anglo-Saxon democracy inspired the Levellers and is at the core of the English radical tradition" The French students would be in sympathy with this kind of attitude. It was a play on the title of Angus Wilson's novel and there's this in Through the Looking Glass:

"... Alice...'But he's coming very slowly—and what curious attitudes he goes into!'
(For the Messenger kept skipping up and down, and wriggling like an eel, as he came along, with his great hands spread out like fans on each side.)
'Not at all,' said the King. 'He's an Anglo-Saxon Messenger—and those are Anglo-Saxon attitudes.'"


"I notice that you lectured in media when you had something worthwhile to occupy your self with. Am I to understand that you do actually beleive what is written in the newspapers?"

A complete dismissal of newspapers would be as stupid as believing everything thing one reads in them. As Noam Chomsky points out, some journalists do try to tell the truth even when it goes against mainstream opinion, e.g. Seymour Hersh broke the stories about My Lai and Abu Ghraib, which were very unwelcome to US government and most Americans, cf:

"There's plenty of opportunities to do very good work," says Chomsky. "Take say Brian Toohey, he gets things through. There's plenty of other people.

"There's going to be strains, and you'll be pressing against limits. If you go too far they'll turn you off; if you keep at it too much you may be thrown out. But within that framework there are plenty of things to do.

"Actually academic scholarship isn't all that different. If people start breaking out of the expected framework - if they are esoteric enough it may not matter - but if they are anywhere near issues of policy of power, they may find themselves in trouble."

http://www.zmag.org/chomsky/interviews/9501-journalism.html

Chisky: "Funny, I thought that you were an adult."

I see that you don't have any arguments either :-)

Chisky

Ted! I rest my case.

Robert

Who is this man TED? We do not need people like him to defend us, our country, our system nor our social problems. Mr. Ted please worry about your own country, we are very happy with ours thankyou.

bien cordialement

Robert

Ted

Chisky: "Ted! I rest my case."

You never had a case - and still don't present one.

Ted


"Who is this man TED? We do not need people like him to defend us, our country, our system nor our social problems. Mr. Ted please worry about your own country, we are very happy with ours thankyou."

I AM worried about my own country.

You may not have noticed, but your country is being attacked, not just here, but widely in the US/UK media. Perhaps that doesn't worry you - it ought to, given that the attacks are based on lies and misrepresentation. But while you might not "need" me, I'm sure you'd accept that I have at least brought a little balance to this discussion. Why didn't you ?

For a good dissection of the US/UK media attacks see (from a Parisian):

http://www.eurotrib.com/?op=displaystory;sid=2006/3/28/85714/5270

bien cordialement

Ted

Robert

Mr. Ted, What you say about foreign press and political attacks is probably correct but why should I care when there is someone like you to worry on behalf of the French nation?

But how can I say this in order that you may completely understand?I must resort to course american phrases to get through to you!

BUTT OUT BUDDY it is not your fight.

Please do not bother to respond.

Merci infiniment.

Robert

Ted


It's no bother. What an absurd response - it seems it's OK for Americans and Brits to attack France, but not Ok for a Brit to defend it, even here where no French people were countering the criticisms which had been made - by Brits. It seems you don't understand the nature of this site. This is an English language site about France, and this area is for the discussion of issues relating to France by people of ANY nationality.

Fortunately other French people are rather more gracious than you, e.g. this from a French woman:

"Thank you so much for expressing this point of view. I've seen so many stupid comments, including from foreigners living in France, I was desperate to find a blogger using his brain and really checking the real facts! France might be sometimes difficult to understand, even for us, but these constant critics about cowardness, fear of change, fear of progress, etc. aren't always very fair."

Anyway, the issue isn't a narrowly nationalistic one, it's really about alternative approaches to politics and economic policies, wherever they are applied.

Since you have added nothing constructive to the discussion, if anyone should "butt out" it's you - buddy.


Jim

Hi folks, I've been reading this blog with interest, very amusing indeed, almost like a sit-com this string. I've got a lull at work at the moment so I thought that I might add a bit too. First time for me so please be gentle with me Ted! Here goes.

Bravo Ted! Although from my vantage point, I am a bit of a cynic by the way, it seems that some mischevious individuals have been winding you up. If this is the case then you have taken the bait royally and maybe deserve all that you get, who knows? If not? I suggest that you "Relax Max" and take time to enjoy life a little more and please, don't take things quite so seriously.

Keep up the good work Ted, I haven't laughed so much in a long while.

All the very best to you,

Jim

Sally Spedding

I'd just like to say that anyone thinking of leaving the UK to live in France, should look carefully at the xenophobic undercurrents there.
We've had a house in the Pyrenees for 18 years where I write/research, but no way would I live there permanently. Our villagers love Le Pen (who won the Languedoc/Roussillon
in 2004. They hate the Spanish and Arabs and as for Jews, there's a huge military camp nearby from where the Drancy deportations very zealously began. The French secret service still has all the addresses of Jewish families in Paris. Pourquoi?
Please read my latest crime novel Prey Silence, just published, as a warning. Don't fall for all the lifestyle stuff. What's going on in the French psyche is much more interesting.

Guillaume Barlet

Dear Sally,

I am sure that if I roam around in some parts of the English countryside, I would find a village very keen to the BNP's ideas. Does that mean that the population of the UK is xenophobic?

It is actually even more disappointing to read such point as statistically the South West is a region where very few people are prone to vote for Le Pen.

Also, I am from the Pyrenees region and indeed, you can come across with backwards people in the middle of nowhere. However, I think I know which place you are talking about and I would like you to question yourself: Why would a racist region keep an old concentration camp? This reminds them everyday of what happened there and I doubt Le Pen would be very keen on keeping such a reminder to something he denies existed.

I advise you to take a bike to travel along the mountains and meet people. I am sure you would be surprised.

Best Wishes

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