I’m quite enjoying the run up to the French presidential elections, even though none of us Daggs can vote in them. That situation will have changed by the next Presidentielle though. As soon as Caits turns 18 in April, I shall go to the Mairie in Nouzerines and get the paperwork going for her, Benj and me to become French nationals and thereby obtain the right to vote. Rors is still too young and Chris isn’t particularly bothered.
Here’s the full list of candidates in this year’s Presidentielle:
François Hollande – Parti Socialiste
Marine Le Pen – Front National
François Bayrou – Mouvement Démocrate
Jean-Luc Mélenchon – Front de Gauche
Eva Joly – Europe Écologie Les Verts
Corinne Lepage – Cap21
Nicolas Dupont-Aignan – Debout la République
Nathalie Arthaud – Lutte Ouvrière
Frédéric Nihous – Chasse, Pêche, Nature et Traditions
Philippe Poutou – Nouveau Parti Anticapitaliste
There’s one I’d like to add: Nicolas Canteloup. He’s an impressionist who excels at politicians. He has a 10-minute slot after the news every night where he does skits on political figures. Chris and I actually understand most of what he says now. Our project of watching telly every night is really paying off. Not only are we now a lot more in touch with French affairs, but it has definitely helped our French. We chortle away at all Canteloup’s digs at the big guys and gals. Sarko is obsessed with Rolexes and conducting an affair with Angela Merkel in this alternate political reality; Hervé Morin (who recently dropped out of the Presidentielle) is always shown in his kitchen and Hollande generally makes references to flour as a weapon somewhere or other when he appears. (A disgruntled woman threw a bag of flour over M Hollande recently!) Canteloup has his finger on the political pulse and would make a brilliant president in my opinion.
I’m following most of the candidates on Twitter. Melenchon is chief Tweeter, closely followed by Sarko. However, some of them aren’t into newfangled technology like Twitter and either don’t have a Twitter account (or at least I haven’t found it yet) or Tweet about once a day. They’re missing out on good publicity in my opinion. Twitter is effective. I’ve signed up on a few of their websites too. I’ve already had a begging email from M Hollande. He wants me to give him a fiver to help his campaign (or possibly dry clean his suit to get rid of any remaining flour). Low income expat with no suffrage rights donating to millionaire politician? Sorry, I don’t think so! He also asked if I wanted to deliver leaflets etc but I politely declined. I’ve heard rumours he wants to restrict the autoentrepreneur status to a three year max, which is ridiculous, so even if I could vote, I wouldn’t be supporting him. I’m following him, and the others, out of intellectual curiosity only.
I was startled to discover that Marine Le Pen is only 42. I thought she was older than me. She hasn’t worn very well, poor dear, despite being wealthy. Now, her big idea is to reintroduce the French franc. That would be plain silly, since only a few days ago, the 17th of February, to be precise, saw the last acceptance of francs by the Bank of France. People queued for hours with bundles of old notes they’d discovered in attics, down the back of sofas, under floorboards etc to exchange them for Euros. Ten years later French people are finally turning their backs decisively on the franc. She’s missed the boat.
Finally, a quick look at slogans. Despite denying during his interview on TF1 20h journal that he had a slogan, Sarko is clearly going with La France Forte (strong France). It’s appearing everywhere. Hollande’s is Le changement, c’est maintenant (The time for change is now). (Not that he’d give me change from five euros.) Le Pen is apparently La voix du peuple (the people’s voice). Bayrou claims that Un pays unis, rien ne lui résiste (nothing can defeat a united country). The other slogans are all suitably vague and jingoistic – Aimons la France (we love France), Pour une France libre (for a free France), Le vote juste (the fair vote), Prenez le pouvoir (take power). Only a few are unsubtle like Arthaud’s Une candidate communiste and Poutou’s Aux capitalistes de payer leur crise (capitalists must sort out their own mess).
Sarkozy and Hollande are leaps and bounds ahead of the rest at this stage. Bayrou has referred bitterly to the Sarkhollandisation of this election. So will it turn into a two horse race and slanging match? Maybe, but I’m optimistic it will be more interesting than that. When anything exciting happens, I’ll let you know!