Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Making France More Like Britain

Yesterday, France was rocked by a general strike called by the largest national labor union, the CGT—which has long been allied with the French Communist Party.

The strikers and their anarchist fellow-travelers did not storm the Bastille, but they caused a bit of damage anyway. The French are so used to this form of street theatre that it barely registered.

The Daily Mail has the story:

Violence broke out during the first major street protest against Emmanuel Macron's presidency today as the head of state was accused of trying to turn 'France into Britain'.

A so-called 'Black Tuesday' saw militant trade unions leading demonstrations against British and American-style liberal reforms aimed at reducing unemployment.

They have infuriated agitators, some of whom today fought running battles with riot police close to Bastille square, in Paris, using Molotov cocktails.

Radical leftist Jean-Luc Melenchon got straight to the point. President Macron’s reforms are unacceptable, he said, because they would turn France into Britain. The horror of it all:

Former presidential candidate and leading Left wing MP Jean-Luc Melenchon joined a protest in Marseille, on the Mediterranean coast, and said Mr Macron would be 'forced to give ground'.

Mr Melenchon added: 'This country doesn't want to be part of the liberal world, France isn't Britain.'

Personally, I like the part about the liberal world. From being the moniker of all serious American leftists "liberal" has returned to its roots as British free market and free trade policy… a bit closer to libertarianism than to progressivism.

Consider the horrors that await France if it became more like Great Britain. For one, its unemployment rate would be halved:

Earlier, Mr Macron had lashed out at the 'lazy, cynical and extremists' who opposed his plans to overhaul the country's complicated labour laws.

The 39-year-old sees a revamp as being essential to cut down on a jobless rate of 9.5 per cent – almost twice Britain's.

Mr Macron wants to make it easier to hire and fire, and to cut down on trade union collective bargaining in favour of local discussions between bosses and employees.

Of course, the same drama has taken place in the streets of France for years now. Successive presidents have tried and failed to make France more like Britain. Time will tell whether the young and clumsy Macron can succeed.

1 comment:

Sam L. said...

Sacre' bleu! Ze Fronch would 'av to eat boiled beef! Un desecration!