Thursday night was perhaps the first time in our 15 year tenure in France that we actually sat down as a family to listen to the President’s speech, and understood 95% of what he was talking about. The announcement of school closures was, of course, met with rapture and grins by those in the throes of an education.
Knowing how hypochondriac the French nation is, if Macron had announced anything short of total lockdown – there would have been widespread outrage. Indeed, the slightest sniffle is seen as a valid excuse for a week off work in the Republic; so this is serious! Because of this attitude, that has every French person hammering on the door of their local GP every time they feel slightly off colour, it’s safe to say that the published figures for positive tests are most likely among the most accurate in the world. Unlike the USA where people are either unable to get tested or unable to afford to get a test should they feel unwell.
So, considering that any gathering over more than 50 people in any confined space/area is now forbidden, it seems odd that the authorities chose not to postpone the local elections. The first round is tomorrow, the second next week. How better to spread a virus than to have every citizen pass through the same point in the space of 12 hours? It makes no sense whatsoever. Is it any wonder that there is so little trust in our politicians?
So, I, like many of my fellow countrymen, will be heading to the polls as early as possible tomorrow, as the risk of contracting something will be far higher at the end of the day. Many, no doubt, will not go at all.
The question is – who, exactly, will vote? Will the National-Front-voting xenophobes/idiots come out in force, regardless of the risk to their health? Will the educated bourgeois stay at home? Will the elderly, infirm and sick decide to give it a miss, as well they should?
My greatest fear is that the “intelligent” among us will decide to stay away from polling stations for their own safety and thereby hand victory to the populist parties. I hope I am wrong.
Anyway, here’s a quick run down of the main lists who are battling in the first round for the Eurometropole de Strasbourg:
- The Anticapitalist party. Main policy – make it illegal to sack or make civil servants redundant, regardless of how hopelessly incompetent they might be
- Fight for the Workers party. Main policy – Oppose everything suggested by Macron’s government, even if it’s a good idea.
- The National Assembly (Front). Main policy – plant the seed of separatism for the nation of Alsace!
- The Concerned Citizens’ party. Main policy – let’s muddle through together.
- Rebel France (unbowed). Main policy – local referendums on stuff we can’t make a decision on.
- Sfaxi and Arbogast. Main policy – erm, yes well, can’t say we have one.
- The Republicans. Main policy – free parking at lunchtime, add more roadspace and fill it with polluting diesel cars.
- Socialist party. Main policy – install insect hotels in every back yard.
- The Republic at work. Main policy – crown Alain Fontanel as mayor, because it’s his turn.
- Ecologist party. Main policy – free public transport (and cardigans.)
I know who I’ll be voting for. I could do with a cardigan.
PS: You can’t vote if you’re not an EU citizen. Sorry UK.