Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Anglo-Saxon Attitudes

Comment in the This French Life site:

"I am tired of listening to my smug French work colleagues talking about their wonderful social model and deploring "Anglo-Saxon liberalism" and its inequalities."

One can hardly blame them when the US/UK media and blogs are full of smug attacks on the French model.

"... now the new aristocrats of France are the unproductive and lazy state employees with their jobs for life and taxpayer funded pensions that allow retirement at a ridiculously young age."

State employees include teachers, doctors and nurses - are they all "lazy" and "unproductive" ? What is the sensible age to retire ? Aren't a lot of young business people in the UK aiming to make money fast and retire early (some appear on A Place in the Sun); sounds very sensible to me. In the UK, it looks as if people will not be able to retire till 68 - and, given the pensions crisis, some won't be able to retire, is that "ridiculous" or just more employee "flexibility"?

"The young people from immigrant backgrounds cannot get onto the employment ladder but the privileged and spoilt middle class French kids..."

What an objective approach again; are ALL the students and pupils who demonstrated are "privileged" ? and you of course know that they are all "spoilt". What a caricature. They rightly objected to allowing employers to sack people for no reason - would YOU accept that? - within TWO years. Any decent employer doesn't need that long, apart from any other considerations. What they also objected to was the arrogant way Villepin tried to push it through, with no discussion, widely seen as rather stupid.

"I have lived here for fifteen years now and I can tell you that the housing estates around most larger cities are shocking examples of inequality and deprivation much worse than anything in the unashamedly capitalist UK."

And how often did you come back to do your careful survey of British cities ? Did you note this:

"The riots in Oldham, Bradford, Burnley and other cities in Northern England have exposed the enormous amount of anger of Asian youth, in particular, against the oppressive conditions under which they live.

Race discrimination is now one of the most explosive social issues in Britain, for which New Labour has no solution.

In fact their policies have led to a further increase in segregation and isolation of blacks and Asians. In mostly black or Asian areas youth unemployment can be as high as 40%."

"Most of the kids there would gladly take any job, secure or not. The demagogues of the left have no solutions to propose for them."

Yes, desperation will make people accept almost anything, that doesn't make it OK. Of course the left is only made up of "demagogues" - in your prejudiced world - and when did you do your survey of the French Left's economic ideas ? In fact Villepin is now putting forward alternatives which many of the Left might have suggested, had he asked them.


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