Wednesday, November 9

The revolting French

This blog focusses, as the title suggests, on British political issues. Only occasionally do we venture into other nations' political issues unless they have a direct bearing on the British national scene. The French riots are so horrendous, with 15 cities in turmoil and over 4,000 vehicles burnt (so far) that comment, on this blog is clearly needed.

The biggest explosion of street violence in France since the late 1960's has jolted the country into confronting its failure to include its seven million residents of Arab and African origin into the national French mainstream society.

President Chirac and his Prime Minister, Dominic de Villepin, seem at a loss as to how to deal with the current situation both in the short and long terms. The situation is complex and has its roots in the influx of immigrant workers who came to France in the 1950s and 60s from the former colonies in North and central Africa.

In practice France turned its back on the minority immigrants over many decades, shunting them into suburban cities denying them access to the so called censeur social (social elevator) that was supposed to lift immigrants into the mainstreem.

France has always deemed its model superior to the Anglo-Saxon approach of diversity. Clearly the system of 'communarianism' is not all that it is cracked up to be. So far, as is almost traditional in France every 30 years or so, neither the peasants (sorry, rural French people) nor the students have joined in the riots. When they do, as is inevitable La belle France will be truly revolting - yet again.
Perhaps the French should take up Cricket, but thats another piece for another day.
Flashback to the storming of the Bastille, 14th July, 1789.

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