Wednesday, November 14, 2007

French turn against the unionists

Nicolas Sarkozy is having what some have called his "Thatcher" moment, when confronting the old fashioned privileges of socialist France he is standing steady. As the first high speed Eurostar train from St. Pancras arrived at Gare du Nord - almost the entire French national rail network, and the Paris Metro were strikebound, along with bus services and cuts in gas and power due to energy worker strikes. Add in postal workers, teachers and judges, and you're in for the typical French socialist union attitude - go on strike if anyone dares suggest you get something less than the generous terms and conditions currently offered. There will be weeks of strikes in France, it is the final showdown between liberalism and socialism.
However, something has changed in France. You see, the trains aren't running because the government is demanding that locomotive drivers retire later than 50. 50 was the retirement age when driving a locomotive meant shovelling coal - now it means sitting and moving a throttle. Similar ridiculous feather bedding has cost France, and the vast majority of French people who are NOT in such industries or the state sector are sick of it all. They are fighting back. With state debt at 70% of GDP, calls to keep this bloated public sector are looking unsustainable, and calls by unions to increase taxes to pay for it are not kidding most people.
You see, while the trains are on strike, there were hundreds of commuters handing out anti-strike leaflets opposing the unions, confronting them. After all, Sarkozy won the last election - something the left kind of forgets, and no doubt thinks he somehow cheated his way there, but the reality is this - the majority of French voters chose Sarkozy over Royale the socialist candidate. He has a popular mandate to change France, and the public are standing beside him,
84% of those polled say the government will not surrender to the unions, but more importantly 71% think it should NOT surrender. Something for John Key and David Cameron to think about - Sarkozy has a pair of what neither of these men seem to display. May he hold firm, because we are all better off if France's economy can be saved, freed and allow to grow.

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