Left Right, Left Right, Where are we going?

I'm not usually stirred to comment on political matters but the first round of voting in the 'Départmentales' seems to have put 'le chat parmi les pigeons'. Ok it may only be the first round but the signs are clear. The UMP led by Sarko has swept aside the Socialists led by PM Valls and Hollande and dumped them into third place with Marine le Pen and her Front National party claiming second place, reinforcing the increasing popularity of the new top two over the PS after last years Municipale elections.

Mme le Pen was aiming for the magical and psychological barrier of 30% of the vote which would have made her lot the top team though at 25% she must be pretty pleased with life despite political commentator's efforts to wind her up and admit that her party had done less well than she had anticipated. The FN has seen big changes since Marine took over from her dad Jean-Marie with the party manifesto doing it's best to distance itself from the old racist ticket for a more 'localised' train of ideas with the community and welfare of the country as a whole on the agenda. Whatever she has done seems to have done the trick, well so far anyway.

The electorate is changing, as is the make-up of the parties with a dramatic 10% fall in the average age of candidate fom 61 years four years ago to 51 for this present campaign. Seems like the 'old guard' of pensioners are making way for the younger folk. Indeed, 17 of the candidates are 18 which is either encouraging or dangerous, depending on ones point of view ?

The first round saw sweeping changes in the north with many potential banana skins coming up next weekend for the second round of voting. At least 15 fairly solid PS seats are under serious threat from Sarko and/or Marine including Holland's homeland stronghold of the Corrèze. Hence the rallying call from Valls to keep the FN out at all costs. Indeed both the PS and UMP are strongly unging the new found floating voters to vote for anyone or abstain rather than vote for the National Front.

How did I vote ? Well, I didn't as I arrived at the polling station five minutes after the station closed ...............ZUT !

Another man of few words.....

You've hit the nail on the head with Hollande - he just doesn't seem to have any idea of the mess France is in, could sarko do any better, I don't like him but I think he could, I'd prefer to see Juppé or Fillon at the helm but I think it'll be Napoléon again. Anyway, let's be honest, Hollande didn't win the presidential elections, Sarko lost..!

Just had a word with our neighbour as he passed. He is delighted. Last week he told us how he got a doing over by FN supporters in a supermarket car park in Bordeaux a few years ago. He had just taken his son's car to pop out for some shopping, but because it had a Che Guevara on the screen he got the dusting down. He just said that in a gesture of goodwill he would send Marine a box of tissues for her tears - but used ones... Some people just do not like FN, I wonder why?

Loads of apathy around the country with Hollande running out of ideas as unemployment remains out of control. I've no idea if Sarko can make a difference but surely something has to change ? Problem for me Andrew is that the President doesn't appear to accept there is actually a probem !!! I suppose it will be on the cards that Valls, probably the only 'credible' PS candidate at the moment prepares himself for the elections in two years time.

Yes, it has restored my faith in common sense with the refusal of the french public to be taken in by these sheep in wolves clothing, however well they have been able to change their political persona. Good to see common sense has prevailed with the normal tit for tat political gravy train the order of the day.

chuffed that the corrèze has returned to its chirac roots, apparently hollande made a right mess of running it, a sign of what was to come but nobody took the trouble to look at what he'd done...! and as for bleu marine - well people were just too frightened or still not bold enough to give her a go, having said that she's made enormous progress in the last few years, not quite sure where she'll get to but she's on a roll and will keep going if the UMP don't get their act together behind the napoleonic dwarf!

However, it does go to show that when push comes to shove, the electorate rattle their sabres (last week) then after the threat do what they always do (this week) and Marine is left free to sulk for a couple of years until she thinks she has it all in her hands all over again to learn all over again that a leopard never changes its spots, well OK, the Sarko gang instead of Hollande's flan gang, but they take turns anyway.

Marine le Pen bites the dust. She is not a happy bunny as the UMP, lead by Sarko sweeps across many parts of the Hexagon. The FN finds itself with no overall control anywhere in France though the party did enough to frighten off the important floating voters to either abstain or deliberately spoil their voting papers, about 10% in this area. The UMP took control of the Corrèze, the homeland of Hollande who, like PM Valls remained sheepish about the overall results though the President didnt cover himself in glory when he declared to his populus "We lost but nothing will change".............

"Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose"

Problem is the FN isn't a minority party any more. It's currently in second place thanks to the perceived bad jobs done by the main parties plus a professional PR job by Marine le Pen to remodel her party.

It seems here in France its Conservative on the Left and the Right as neither Party wants change The PS will get hammered because Valls should have been PM from day one He is the only one who has shown some balls to implement the changes that are needed in the Public Sector As for FN its like UKIP in the UK one policy will solve all stop Immigration and destroy Europe what folley is that

There is no doubt both parties are frightened to death of FN and rightly so But unless France gets a grip and moves with the times minority parties will have a big say in the future direction of the country

Time to contrive a French equivalent of 'cock up' for them for such situations. Not only did I not know, but the at least one dozen volunteers and proper adjudicators (for under 340 voters if all turn out!) didn't know, but then I get the feeling that when they all saw the two ancient couples who arrived at the same time as me all were so busy with the bises that none of the dozen actually got anything right.

I knew the three running the show too - they gave me the envelope, off I went into the isoloire and did my bit, they duly took my voting card but then they had to tick me off the list and that's where it all came to a standstill...!

Michael Portillo - Apricot molehill

Margaret Thatcher - That great charmer

I realised that later. I knew all of the people in the mairie and I suspect they were so busy chatting to each other and me that they just doled out the envelope and slip, didn't bother too much about the list, although I am sure someone ticked it, so was it the mairie's list (?) if I am on it? I found it odd I didn't sign and just dropped my envelope in the box. Anyway, that aside I wouldn't bother next week anyway because here there is no need to block THEM!

I wonder how many mistakes like that are made in small communes like this where everybody knows each other and things are done on the assumption that...

As for your 'visit', at the time of the last local elections my friend who was a candidate pointed out that because of all the posters with faces they slap up everywhere here, everybody gets to see who is who and who they do not want around better keep their profile low or totally invisible. He was talking about THEM at the time.

We had the local top-of-the-list FN candidates in the tabac yesterday persued by TF cameras and journalist wanting to do an interview - no comment was all they got!

As for voting, well I've got my electoral card and I'm on the list at my mairie but wasn't allowed to vote (caused absolute chaos on sunday morning) as I wasn't on the list sent by the préfecture. All had a good laugh about it -fortunately I know the people involved. Had a look later and no I wasn't allowed - we (non-French EU nationals) are only allowed to vote in the municipales and européennes :-( But I'm sure I voted in the cantonales last time round - how did you manage to vote, Brian?


Francois Hollande - Refashion old clan

Nicolas Sarkozy - A lazy crook sins

;-) both