Are You Bothered? Yet.....?


(Dan Wood) #21

Every country does have it’s problems Peter and l too love this country as opposed to my French wife who is feeling extraordinarily angry and ashamed with some of her compatriots. She, nor l, have ever understood the need to torch hundreds of cars every new years eve and she fears that this year will be particularly incendiary. Let’ s hope she is mistaken. However legitimate the GJ movement is it is acting as great cover for some very ‘bad actors’ indeed.

(Peter Bird) #22

Emotions run high, even around here but i’ve not witnessed any racial abuse tho’ I don’ look for trouble.
The situation was obviously ‘tense’ so why not just accept the situation for what it it/was ? This means having to bite your lip and not provoke some of the more militant GJs. The petrol pumps were blocked for a reason with the police probably not wanting to inflame the problem by an intervention.
It may not be right but that’s how it is in some parts. Many GJs are determined to get more concessions whilst others have accepted Macron’s attempts to compromise.

(Simon Armstrong) #23

Not racial abuse - more likely to be xenophobia / nationalism / fascism…?

(Dan Wood) #24

Sorry Peter my brain obviously works differently to yours and obviously many others. I know that in a democracy l have certain freedoms and the right to exercise them, as do all of us living here. So l will continue to peacefully go about my lawful business without let or hindrance from any unelected self appointed bullies. But hey, thanks for the advice.

(Dan Wood) #25

Certainly felt like racism to me, but if you want to call it by another name feel free.

(Simon Armstrong) #26

Just a point of order really - indigenous Brits are the same ‘race’ as indigenous French. Nationality is not Race.

(Warren Joiner) #27

Ariége. know the area well , just the Game of Thrones bit I didn’t get=?
When down there I set myself up around Seix in the Couserans.
Gr8 for trying to track bears or off track hiking / etc.

(Paul Flinders) #28

I confess I feel a bit exposed as a 2nd home owner. While I have sympathy for the GJs - after all I’m in the same middle income taxed-to-the-hilt bracket as many of the original protesters.

It might be true that the wealthy pay the bulk of tax on a “Western” economy but I’d argue that psychologically the burden is highest for the middle income group. Too well off to avoid tax on income grounds but not well off enough to not really be bothered by having to pay tax or make use of “interesting” tax avoidance schemes.

But having two properties almost makes me the epitome of elite, at least in some people’s view - which I can understand - except I don’t feel terribly elite. The French house was bought by re-mortgaging the UK one. Like everyone else I’m in hock for my French dream.

Thankfully things sound quiet in Brittany - my French isn’t up to a complex expression of solidarity, even if I feel it.

(Simon Armstrong) #29

Around 13% of French nationals own a second home in France - approx 3.4 million properties.


(Jane Williamson) #30

Not quite yet Simon.
We are just still EU citizens with the right to live here without documentation.

(Timothy Cole) #31

France has been fooked for years and the current leader has no more idea how to fix things than his predecessors.

Am I bothered, yes.

Can I do anything about it, no.

The best I can do is try and mitigate each bit of stupidity as it occurs and if that means hiding away whilst GJ’s disrupt people from going from A to B I will. Luckily we were on holiday in another ‘looney tunes’ country when the worst of the protests were on.

(Jane Williamson) #32

The police do not do anything at all, except in central Paris.
They allow tyres to be burnt on the roads at Calais , which is designated an important international route to be kept open at all times.
They let demonstrators chase the chief of Air France so that he was forced to scramble over wire fencing to avoid being attacked.
Around here they accuse people of traffic offences they have not done.
I have a friend from the other side of Cluny who was stopped , taken from his car and made to put his hands on the roof of his car.
They said they had followed him and he had failed to stay for three seconds at three stop signs.
He talked to others from the same village who were treated in exactly the same way on the same day.
Do not look to the gendarmerie for protection or justice.

(David Martin) #33

Do you think that there ever was a worst period in your area Tim, one that would have disrupted your everyday life? I live not far from you and the actions of the GJs have not impacted on my everyday life in any noticeable way although my neighbour said that some shelves in the supermarket that she uses were bare. There has been significant disruption on the important N road that passes near me but those places are well advertised and local radio gave up to date reports so it was easy to use different routes to avoid the black spots. I am a sympathetic to the GJs’ cause, reinforced by the passionate support that my friends show, they are so pleased to see that their plight is being represented but I can understand why do many right of centre expats find the position unsatisfactory.

(Jane Jones) #34

What is quite interesting is that it shows up the different cultural approaches to effective protesting. In the UK this sort of violence generally doesn’t work - think miner’s strike- or is squashed very heavily - think poll tax riots. And the fuel tax protests in 2000 were generally conducted without mass violence, as it was clear the protest was against government actions and not directed at fellow citizens. My sister is a doctor and protesters used to escort her through the blockade to fill up her car…

But since 1968 (maybe even before, but don’t know) it seems that the idea that violence is accepted as a form of protest in France? There have been interviews with people recently saying “I’m a peaceful person, but that doesn’t work so I have to be violent to have my voice heard”.

(Simon Armstrong) #35

On Wednesday, I witnessed our local Jilly Joneses (around 100ish) blocking the Southbound A66 nears Pamiers by walking in procession down the carriageway - ‘accompanied’ by the police! Massive traffic queue behind them. I can only assume that walking down the middle of an Autoroute is legal (when it suits!) in France…

Anyway - I’m off into Foix this morning - free parking everywhere as all the parking machines have been ‘glued’ , sprayed or burned. Every cloud…

Happy days… :crazy_face::crazy_face::crazy_face:

(Peter Bird) #36

No need for the sarcasm Dan.

There are many ways to kill a cat. You can ‘go with the flow’ and put up with what the GJs are doing to give yourself an easier life or you can confront them. The law enforcement officers were obviously told not to intervene in order to minimilise confrontation hence the burning of tyres, blockading at roundabouts et al. What they did and are still doing in some areas is wrong but hey, if you want to confront them then yes, move their cones and provoke a response. I , like the majority, display my GJ on the dashboard as a passport to an easier passage through roadblocks, I sign their petitions when asked and accept their rules to make life easier.
It’s a bit like agreeing with 'er indoors in order to have a quiet(er) life.

I spent time with them in the early days to show my support but I now believe Macron has done enough to earn a ‘ceasefire’, albeit temporarily.

(Jane Jones) #37

@Peter_Bird. Hmmmm, didn’t problems start in Germany after 1923 because people went with the flow to have an easier life?

I do actually agree with some of the issues the GJs are protesting about. But I absolutely do not accept their right to tell me what to put on my dashboard. If I choose to wear a political badge/T-shirt/GJ that’s my choice, no-one else’s.

(Dan Wood) #38

Your ‘Accept their rules to make life easier’ sounds like you don’t think freedom of choice is something worth standing up for.

(Peter Bird) #39

More like the events of 1789 I would say…

I too agree with much of what the GJs are advocating but I believe the Wealth Tax (ISF) doesn’t do anything other than drive the very rich from France to more friendly tax havens. The wealth of the nation should stay in the nation and not driven away IMO.

(Peter Bird) #40

Freedom of choice isn’t the issue here. You (us/we) need to understand the mentality of some of the French. The forces of order are told not to intervene when the roads are blockaded by GJs or the farmers when they have a dispute or the truckers etc in order to prevent further confrontation. It’s not right maybe but that’s just how it is in France.
If I burn a tyre in my garden I will get fined but it’s ok for protestors and the like to do it without penalty. Hardly ‘Equality’ but that’s how it is here.
I feel much the same as you but going against the protestors will make you unpopular. I’m happy to keep my thoughts to myself and put up with the inconveniences which so far hasn’t really affected my life to any great extent.