When François Hollande (PS) campaigned in 2012, he presented himself as a ‘normal’ guy (remind you of anyone else?) and someone who would end ‘austerity’ (a poke at Nicolas Sarkozy taking instructions from Frau Merkel).
Hollande is a multi-millionaire in property holdings (but to a greater extent than Ed Miliband). However, he says he doesn’t like ‘rich people’. Hmm.
Hollande also said during the summer of 2013 that he ‘is no friend of the French’. Hmm.
Hollande’s cabinet is stacked with people with a radical agenda. The only exception seems to be Secretary of the Interior Manuel Valls, a Spaniard who acquired French nationality several years ago. A favourite topic for discussion across the Channel is whether Valls really is a socialist when he seems so much like Sarkozy; the former president was in that same post a decade ago.
Christiane Taubira, Minister for Justice, gives the impression that she is more interested in protecting criminals than their victims.
The Minister for Health, Marisol Touraine, bangs on against e-cigarettes, saying that using them in public sets a bad example for other Frenchmen. She also claims that cigarette smoking is the nation’s biggest health hazard. But Touraine’s house isn’t so clean; in fact, her son is serving a prison term for extorting money from a neighbour.
But back to Hollande. In 2012, the media trumpeted the fact that the people were fed up with Sarkozy’s programme. Yet, any fool could see that the Socialists would not hesitate to adopt ‘justice’ and ‘redressing imbalances’ — income redistribution. Isn’t that also an ‘austerity’ programme?
Writing for the Mail, Simon Heffer recently warned us about giving Ed Miliband a pass. Heffer says Miliband would take up the same policies Hollande has. He says at the beginning that rEd deeply admires François.
This is some of what we could see with Labour back at the helm in 2015 (more at the link). This is what has happened since May 2012. This isn’t Heffer exaggerating, either; more than one of these topics feature in French media every day. In fact, as I write RMC’s Eric Brunet is talking about the exodus of ‘rich, poor, young, old’ from France:
Consumption is weak and property prices have nose-dived. Unemployment is up to more than 11 per cent; growth down. Productivity down. Factories closing. Investment down. Record bankruptcies. Rocketing social security spending. Debt at 97 per cent of GDP.
[T]he imposition of 75 per cent taxes for top-earners drove many successful businessmen abroad — to Geneva and London.
With all top-flight players in the 75 per cent bracket, French football clubs demanded tax exemptions in order to stay competitive with foreign clubs who can offer better financial terms to players.
Elsewhere across France, there has already been an exodus of young professional people to London to avoid high taxes. It is thought that up to 400,000 now live in Britain, and London is said to be the fifth largest ‘French’ city.
Brittany — a Socialist stronghold — has also suffered numerous factory closures, as unemployment in France relentlessly rises.
Then there are environmental taxes, such as the French Socialists’ ‘eco-tax’, much loved by Ed Miliband.
The one thing he omitted was the spike in crime, score-settling in Marseille with Kalashnikovs and the numerous jewellery shop burglaries along the Côte d’Azur.
And who is partly to blame for this state of affairs?
Those who voted for Marine Le Pen in the first round and for Hollande in the second. They thought they were ‘sticking it to Sarkozy’. Instead, they stuck it to themselves. Who’s sorry now?
Parallels with England and David Cameron in 2015? As the French would say, à mediter.