Tuesday, June 13, 2017

The bitter, bad losers of the French parliamentary election

Macron's party appears to be heading towards absolute control of parliament. Under the French presidential system Macron will have more or less total control of how the country is governed.

However there is something very wrong with the French electoral system if one believes in parliamentary democracy.

Over 51% of the country did not vote. Plus those who voted blanc. Of those that did vote his party got just under a third of the vote. That means his popular support is less than a third of less than 50%.

Not exactly a massive support on the part of the French people. He was too young to have known 1968; not even born in fact.  Everyone of my generation has his own '68, be it Paris, Prague or Saigon. We of course are "yesterday's men" whose opinions are not fit for the dustbin.

If he doesn't deliver on what he's promised ( I can't exactly remember what that was) the French are likely to resort to their favourite oppositon platform, that is the street.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

I wonder if the French railways, SNCF, are not entering the silly season.

I wonder if the French railways, SNCF, are not entering  the silly season.

I was at the booking office to get some tickets to go to Paris to collect my grandson for the weekend.

The clerk there suggested I go to Paris First class as the ticket was cheaper than the Second class. A little odd that. Then I asked for a return to Paris from Orléans Sunday morning. Sorry she said no trains Saturday or Sunday morning; first train 4.30 Sunday evening. OK I said I’ll take 2 reservations on that. “Sorry that train is full, so are all the others after it”. I had to get to Paris Sunday (grandson has school Monday morning) and I had to get back to Orléans Sunday evening.

So I had to buy 2 tickets to Paris with the prospect of standing in the corridor all the way.  There’s a heat wave on, I’m 78 and grandson 7.

I also have to be in Paris on 4th June for a meeting. The clerk, “Sorry no trains that weekend either. Services are down for maintenance. I’ve been travelling this line for 40 years now. Once upon a time things were simple. Now booking is becoming a headache. If there are problems it’s because non prestigious lines have been neglected for the TGV, high speed trains on major lines which of course are more prestigious for the government.

I imagine I’ll be reduced to trying  BlaBlaCar with some unknown driver. That is if I succeed in using my Smartphone  app and there is in fact a driver going in my direction at the right time. I no longer drive, in fact I loathe being driven by anyone else as well.

So much for the Macron Presidency!  It’s already broken down in my opinion.