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Category Archives: Politics & Public Policy

France 2017: And then there were eleven

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Why do they do it? Just for four precious weeks of fame? For seeing their faces on billboards and being invited to Parisian television studios? For walking into the polling station on election day and finding their names printed on the ballots in the same font and size as the big political celebrities? For fulfilling […]

France 2017: The Party Formerly Known as Socialist

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On a study trip to Brussels about fifteen years ago, a major French socialist MEP gave a good lesson in French political semantics to my student group. In a nutshell, she explained that she and her group were perfectly at ease working with all the Social-Democrats from Germany or Sweden and elsewhere, as well as […]

France 2017: The unexpected rehabilitation of an adjective

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For as long as I have lived in this country – a quarter century, after all – the surest way for French politicians to put an end to their political career was to make a statement, however prudent, in favour of ‘liberalism’. Once labelled a ‘liberal’, you could be sure to be turned in no […]

France 2017: Just do it!

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I did it! I participated in the primary of the right and the centre on Sunday around lunchtime. It didn’t even hurt. I paid my contribution of 2 Euros, took the 7 ballot papers, and signed, without any conflict of conscience, the ‘Charte de l’alternance’, confirming that I was in favour of political change (which […]

France 2017: How the padlock was shut

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Remember The Day of the Jackal? This thrilling movie released in 1973 and featuring Edward Fox as enigmatic contract killer, is based on the failed attempt to assassinate Charles de Gaulle on 22 August 1962 by the paramilitary underground organisation OAS (‘Organisation de l’armée secrète’), composed by extreme right-wing activists who considered the Evian Treaty, […]

France 2017: The primaries and the secondaries

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The French are still numerous to consider voting both a right and a duty (‘un devoir citoyen’, as they say). This is probably why turnout – despite a wide-spread feeling that nothing ever changes – has been remarkably stable over the decades, especially at the presidential elections. Even the lowest participation ever (71.6% in the […]

Scottish referendum – A humble opinion from France

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In February 2005, three months before the French referendum on the constitutional treaty, I went to some of the first public information meetings on the stakes of the vote to come. One was organised by a local pro-European association, one by a local Member of the French parliament. At that time, the polls predicted a boring campaign with a positive vote by […]

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