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France 2017: Two years on, how Charlie can you be?

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Already two years since the Charlie Hebdo shootings, which in hindsight look like a prelude to a series the end of which does not seem to be in sight. Is Europe still Charlie? Many Europeans, the large majority of whom had never heard of this magazine before, still claim they are, and there is no […]

France 2017: Happy New Year? You must be joking!

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Come January, social pressure runs higher than ever in France. If you do not wish a smashing ‘Bonne année!’ to absolutely anybody you may come across during the entire month, you’re a social outcast. The Elysée is of course not exempt from this pressure: one of the most bizarre rituals of the French Republican Monarchy […]

France 2017: Jerrycans for Christmas!

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  In case you have friends or family in France and you don’t know what to offer them for Christmas, my suggestion is: buy them a set of jerrycans. They may come handy in 2017. Not at once, but once the summer is over, they might be more useful than ever. This advice is based […]

France 2017: The Undertakers

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After yet another eventful week marked by Hollande’s renouncement television address, French citizens can now be sure that neither of their two last presidents will be on their ballots for the presidential elections next spring. While the media would have loved to play a game of thrones, unfolding the ‘revenge’ narrative and ask Sam to […]

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 […]

Ref: France (2017), Campaigns, Elections, Hangover (forthcoming).

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Before the next Tour de France starts on the 1st of July from the banks of the Rhine, the entire country will embark on a seven-month election marathon, beginning with three primaries, one of which (the Greens’) is already half-way through, with ‘the Right and the Centre’ to follow in November and the Socialists (or […]

Brexit, the new ‘Arlésienne’?

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Ever heard of ‘L’Arlésienne’, a short story written by French novelist Alphonse Daudet in 1869 and included in his famous ‘Letters from my Windmill’? The title refers to a lady from the city of Arles, who is central to the plot, but never appears on the stage. No one ever sees her, and yet everyone […]

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