jeudi, novembre 17, 2005

You could not make this up

The last three weeks have been a most interesting time in France, to say the least. As the riots appear to be running out of steam (police today claim that the number of burned cars last night was back to 'normal' ie only 100, as opposed to 1400 in one night at the height of the riots), now it's the turn of the politicians to try and clear up the mess, and exercise some much needed damage limitation. Noone can be surprised to see both individuals and parties exploiting the disturbances for their own political advantage - what politician could resist. But today's Financial Times online has a terrific story for those interested in trying to understand the more subtle details of social unrest, racism and unemployment in contemporary France.

I like the bit in the third paragraph that describes Employment Minister Gerard Larcher's extraordinarily offbeat analysis of the reasons for mass unemployment in the banlieues as part of the government's 'efforts to improve its image with the foreign media.' Hmm, I'm not sure that making the wild claim that both high unemployment statistics in the suburbs (some figures are as high as 40%) and the current wave of protest and disaffection can be blamed on polygamy of all things is going to have quite the effect he's after.

(I'm sure if Bush had only thought of it he would have been only too happy to blame the disaster of Hurricane Katrina on those polygamous fellows from foreign climes. Jolly clever wheeze, actually.)

Looks to me like this chap's PR adviser is in the enemy camp. And that by mistake he ate his brains for breakfast instead of his normal porridge.

I feel strangely like Alice after she stepped through the looking glass into an upside down world of perversely hilarious wonders.