Sunday, October 22, 2006

112

That's the number of cars that are burnt-out every day in France this year. 112. And that's just the average figure. The true figure is likely even more unbeliveable, considering what actually goes unreported.

Can you say "Class War"? Anyone?

Attacks on police and emergency services are up for something like 10% this year, while little has changed in the suburbs that were the focal point of last years riots. By and large though, little has changed in France for the last 10 years, other than the introduction of more state repression. Thank SarkoNazi for that. And Chirac.



As France stumbles headlong into another Presidential election, this is likely to become one of the major concerns thrown at the voting populace by the turgid "official" media. The problem I have with this "failure of state-control" is that it is never recognised as an inherent failure of capitalism, but as some form of aberrant behaviour on the part of a "miscreant section" of the population.

France's model of social integration sucks big time and that is the real problem. Sarko's response, as #1 copper in the land, has been to throw more boere at the problem. The people's response can be measured by the fact that more police are being injured every day in violent clashes.

More so now than ever before, the police are perceived as the enemy because they are at the front-line of the repressive state's attack on the population. This will not change until the people wake up and realise that they have voted for the problem and not a solution. But short of another revolution, this wake-up call looks to be a long-time coming.

Revolt Now! OK!

Post Scriptum: As an anti-carist, I say; only 112 a day? Surely more can be done than that?!

Long live public transport!

Post Post Scriptum: I'd never throw a molotov cocktail into a public bus. I see far too many people in their cars by themselves every morning while I am sitting on the bus on the way to work. My molotovs are reserved for them. Only.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

You know you live in a banana republic when…

With the entire hullabaloo about the 2007 Presidential elections starting already, one generally over-looked story was the re-election of Alain Juppé as Mayor of Bordeaux last Sunday. After his disgrace of being found guilty of the misuse of public funds, or, should we just say corruption, Alain has made his triumphant return to public life after his self-imposed exile in Quebec.

Elected against the backdrop of one of the lowest voter turn-outs in the last 200 years, there is already talk of his Presidential candidacy, if not in 2007 then quite possibly in 2012. As an ex-Prime Minister and loyal Chirac supporter he has a political pedigree unmatched by Sarko or Dominique. He’d probably be up against Sarko for the nomination if this little scandal hadn’t got in the way.

Actually, it’s not really a little scandal, it’s a big deal – how can the people trust a politician once they have been found guilty of fraud and corruption. Ok, some people would argue that all politicians are of the same ilk, and poor Alain was just one of the unlucky ones who got caught. In fact this was expressed to me by one of Alain’s more trenchant supporters.

My argument is that politicians aren’t above the law and should be held to a higher standard of accountability when public trust and money is at stake. Alain got his sentence reduced on appeal, but the fact is that he was guilty and he has still not apologised for the abuse he committed. His defence was basically that “everyone else was doing it”. I don’t trust him and don’t believe for one moment that he has the interests of the people or even the city of Bordeaux at heart.

He is a career politician who has his sights set on the highest office in the land and it is a shame on France that the ruling class is riddled with similar career orientated politicians. What also irks me is how so-called developed countries like to pretend that Africa is a basket case of corrupt politicians where you can do anything for a fist full of dollars, whilst turning a blind eye to their own nefarious deeds.

Tony Yengeni might be getting 5-star treatment in the chookie, but the difference is that he is in the chookie.

Go Figure.

Or Not. OK. Now

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Unchillfiltered


It's been so long since I've had a chance to just sit down and blog a bit. The last two months have been quite hectic and I'm still recovering from my near mugging experience. In the meantime though, I squeezed in a holiday before starting a new job, but my blogging time has been severely limited in the last month or so.

The holiday was spent with my folks and we got to see some amazing places in France that I'd never been to before; Monet's Garden in Giverny, The Bayeux Tapestry of William the Conqueror's invasion of Grand Bretagne in 1066, La Mémorial de Caen, the Point du Hoc of the D-Day landings, Omaha Beach and the American Cemetery there, Mont St Michel and various megalithic sites near Carnac in Brittany.

All in all, it was great to have a break from the routine, especially before being plunged back into the routine of 9 to 5. Getting out and about in the different regions of France always introduces one to new spaces and places; not to mention different regional specialities in the all-impotant food and drink department.

This trip was very much about Normandy and Brittany, which is very much crêpe and seafood country. As I have a new appreciation for fish soup, I was well pleased with the versions I tasted in Brittany.

To drink is apple juice: cider, Pommeau and Calvados. Even breakfast starts with Calavdos. I also got to sample some excellent beers from Brittany, my favourite being the Lancelot Cervoise which has a noticeable ginger flavour. Although the real beer highlight of the holiday was enjoying a bottle of real Belgian Trappist beer; Westvleteren - a truly rare experience. Thanks Jan.

Yeesh am I talking about alcohol again? Well then, I might as well go the whole hog;

Unchillfiltered Whisky.

It was in the Honky Tonk Pub in the small port of St Goustan, that the barman introduced me to Unchillfiltered Whisky, or Whisky as it should be. Apparently the chill filtering process began because consumers did not like the fact that Whisky turned hazy or cloudy when water was added, much like pastis does. Thus began the process of chill filtering to appease the market. Purists believe that chill filtering removes some of the flavour, and until the fortunate introduction I had, I thought that Unchillfiltered Whisky was all but extinct.

The two Whiskies, Te Bheag and Poit Dhubh, I tasted were remarkable and I am now a convert to them, although if forced to, I'll still have a wee dram of Lagavulin.