An untypical protest

Heh:

France’s PM has announced a six-month suspension of a fuel tax rise which has led to weeks of violent protests.

Edouard Philippe said that people’s anger must be heard, and the measures would not be applied until there had been proper debate with those affected.

Good work, comrades.

The difficulty for Emmanuel Macron is that this is exactly the kind of capitulation to the street that he has vowed to stop. There will be no change of direction, he repeats to all who will hear, because that would only store up worse problems for the future.

The thing is – and I defy you to show me a British newspaper that makes this distinction – the French public were ready to accept reforms to the labour laws of the sort that traditionally bring the unions onto the streets. In fact, Macron did push through such reforms and the unions did strike, and the public refused to back the strikers. I remember all the complaining about the disruption to SNCF services when I was working in Paris, but the majority knew major reforms are necessary. What they clearly don’t support is their foppish president sacrificing the living standards of ordinary people on the altar of environmental hysteria. Most commentators will say this was a typical French uprising against reform and modernisation – plus ça change – but it wasn’t.

Macron had all the goodwill he could have wished for from a population who wanted to change; instead he chose to hit them hardest on a vanity project. That should be the story here.

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12 thoughts on “An untypical protest

  1. It’s a mystery why he squandered so much political capital on something so insignificant (in the grand scheme of things). Who is he trying to impress – Angela Merkel?

  2. It’s a mystery why he squandered so much political capital on something so insignificant (in the grand scheme of things).

    See my previous post: to those who sit in comfy offices in cities and have never encountered the world outside their bubble, this is of critical importance.

  3. I think you are overthinking it. Think back to the Blair era, when the government would announce six unpalatable things before breakfast and U-turn on five of them by lunchtime.

    It’s the oldest trick in the political book, and exactly what Macron is doing. Get the important stuff done by including an easily-reversible thing that is practically guaranteed to get people out on the streets. Then you’ve conceded (and can rinse and repeat in 6 months time), listened to the people, discredited your rioting opponents, and probably improved your popularity rating at the same time.

  4. I think the objective here is to reduce France’s dependence on oil imports. Recent measures such as phasing out of oil fired central heating boilers, stricter checks on cars so they get scrapped earlier, plus the petrol price rises and the reduction in the national speed limit on single carriageway roads, all point towards reduced oil imports.

  5. Dependency on internationally traded and produced oil down.

    Dependency on sun and wind up.

    Not sure about that trade off.

  6. It’s the oldest trick in the political book, and exactly what Macron is doing

    Threaten something he intends to back down on once tens of thousands of people are on the street and Paris is on fire? Not sure I saw that under Blair. The closest he came was, now you mention it, the fuel protests.

  7. Dream on Biggie–the shortarsed Bodyguard Toy no more dreamt the present goings-on up as a plan than the tide planned to come in.

    This “6 months delay” caper is classic polipig tactics to take the steam out. Hope that the heat will be gone in 6 months and the fickle mundanes will lose cohesion.

    The thing to do –which I have heard some reports of the Yellow Jackets doing– is doubling down and telling TPTB to piss off. Don’t stop until short arse is just an ordinary private pervert once again.

  8. Well that’s just the typical French reaction to politics they don’t like, isn’t it? It’s not a real protest until there are animal carcassess being burned on the Champs Elysees. The British are a bit more restrained, don’t like to make so much of a fuss, that’s all.

    Oh, poll tax riots?

  9. “Threaten something he intends to back down on once tens of thousands of people are on the street and Paris is on fire? Not sure I saw that under Blair. The closest he came was, now you mention it, the fuel protests.”

    And Blair got blindsided by those as well.

  10. I am off on leave this Friday and won’t be attending the works Christmas Party so I brought forward the end of year Tool Box Talk and breakfast barbecue with the workforce to this fine summer morning at 5.30 am.

    For a fleeting moment I looked on the many, young and strong high viz clad workers in a different light, although that quickly dissipated as I spoke to them collectively about their achievements (never mention anyone by name) over the year, thanked them for their efforts and wished them a safe holiday and looked forward to seeing them all again for a fresh start next year. Following the talk, I mingled with the crews as we ate breakfast and specifically mentioned directly with them their notable personal achievements this year (pre-scripted) with a little bit more heart felt recognition than usual.

  11. Of course in the UK, we couldn’t have fuel protests now like happened to Blair. The scumbag changed the law to make it illegal didn’t he.

    I’m guessing he didn’t much fancy it becoming a regular occurrence (particularly as essentially the whole country was in agreement with the protesters).

  12. Blair made fuel protests illegal.

    So what? Which bit of what the YJ are up to is legal? And which copper is going to step up and arrest them?

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