I suspect one of the reasons this particular Slog column remains popular is that it relates macro socio-cultural problems to our everyday experiences. I’m delighted by that, because the connection between the State’s greedy stupidity and the citizen’s often silent anger about it was one of the first things that attracted me to blogging.
For example, I was more than a little choked off three weeks ago when the local council’s workers here turned up to do the fauchage along the ditch and verges at the front of my property. (Fauchage means to cut down/hack at long grass, but it also means ‘slaughter’ in a battle. During the First World War, Marshal Foch gained the grisly nickname ‘Fauch’ for his willingness to allow a thousand men to die pointlessly getting from one trench to another. Later this month we will be ‘celebrating’ the end of that particular spectator sport).
It’s great that France invests in the upkeep of its agricultural resources, but less than wonderful when two boneheads turn up and gouge enormous holes in the road while doing it. But as a resident rather than a citoyen, I decided discretion was the better part of valour on the issue.
Last week, I returned from a brief visit to Spain to discover that the entire stretch of the road from my place to the nearest communal highway had been brand-spanking renewed. What a happy bunny I was.
Until, that is, it dawned on me that, as a taxpayer, I along with 83 other souls had paid for a piece of crass idiocy. The thought chastened me as – having extracted my mail from the box – I opened a bill demanding a whopping taxe foncière supplement…..rationalised as a result of the ‘rising cost of maintaining local facilities to a high standard’.
The link to the macro picture (or should I say the Macron picture?) is that every hour of every day, central government throughout the world wastes vast amounts of money as a result of incompetence. And every elected “leader” lies his or her head off 24/7 about the control of that money.
Macron got elected President partly on a promise to abolish the French poll tax called the taxe d’habitation. But of course, all that’s happened is that local département and commune officials have simply shifted the burden on the citizen to the other tax they control. Far from being a criticism of devolution, this is to me evidence of the need for more of it: waste you can directly see and experience makes for infinitely more accountability. Silly money spent building a battleship that can’t afford to sail anywhere is the subject of one Sun front page – but soon thereafter, a distant memory. Local monies obviously wasted lead to awkward questions at election time from the locals.
But like it or not, the Macronisation of France continues. Thinking French people now have a good steer on what Emmanuel and la directrice are up to. For they are nothing more than the agents of Gigarich influence, determined to balance the fiscal books and continue to play a central role in the accelerating development of an armed United States of Europe. The decline and fall of Mutti Merkel will surely only feed the megalomania of the crypto-royal couple as they become increasingly removed from the sans culottes, who are now ever more likely to be without regular employment as well as underwear.
There is a potential battle in the making between the intensely patriotic and well-trained ‘ENARC’ senior civil servants on the one hand, and the globalist neoliberalism of Macron and his banker backers on the other. France continues to invest massively in its infrastructure – a sound (but bureaucratic rather than political) policy given the coming global financial collapse. I have to believe that MacroNapoleon the cutter is biting off considerably more than he can chew here.
As I write, Paris is awash with rumours that the President is “crippled by nervous exhaustion”. Speaking to reporters in the northern fishing port of Honfleur, Mr Macron said, “Everything is fine… I am not losing my grip on anything. I just value a balanced family life.” Don’t we all: but according to a poll published two days ago, only just over 20% of French voters support his actions as President.
“Yes, but apart from crime rising in Spain following inward migrant flows, the entire Italian government defying Brussels-am-Berlin austerity, turmoil in Britain as some form of Brexit deal approaches, Hungary remaining united behind nationalism rather than supranationalism, and the eastern European bloc refusing to to swamped by migration, what else apart from German division, Austrian confusion, ECB pauperised division, Greek poverty and French internal conflict would make anyone want to leave the European Union?”
This is a question you will never hear asked by Tony Blair, Alastair Campbell, Lord Adonis, Caroline Lucas, Yvette Cooper, Nick Clegg, Lord Mandelson, Lord Kinnock, Ken Clarke, George Osborne, Vince Cable or Philip Hammond.
But you will hear it asked ironically by every dissident American and European with functioning brain. And there are more of us than there are of them.