“ I went down to the demonstration
To get my fair share of abuse
Saying, I’m gonna vent my frustration,
If not, I’ll blow a fifty amp fuse.”
Ah well, you can’t always get what you want, but we got what we needed – a sedate stroll in the sun and a good gossip and when the demo broke up around midday we all went for a drink.
So, just to fill you in, French public sector workers have been on strike today – the usual reasons – salaries, job security, retirement, pensions …
Yes we still want to retire early. We all want salary increases, we want we want we want – we want the government to withraw it’s package of austerity measures, but above all, we want a real French demo.
Where are the riot police ? This is an insult – two police officers on motorbikes and a couple of traffic wardens. Where are the street battles, the Molotov cocktails, the burning tyres, the smokebombs, the teargas, the barricades ? No abuse, no fuse-blowing, this isn’t a real French demo, this is just a sedate Sunday afternoon stroll in the sun. The ladies next to me are comparing cake recipes. The men are talking about last night’s football match. Further down the cortege we’re talking weather, summer holiday destinations and this evening’s TV viewing. So, I didn’t expect a revolution, but I expected something more than this – at least a meaty and lengthy political discussion. Hey guys – this is the country that gave the world it’s first successful revolution.
There is some frustration venting, as teachers at the head of the cortege sing a few anti government slogans (not w rued word can be heard.)
So, we amble along in the sunshine, and as I talk to people, I discover that no one is actually on strike. Factory workers and office workers have taken a half day off work, and those teachers that could, have cancelled classes for the morning. And this is the sad truth, we are all striking for higher pay but no one can afford to lose a day’s pay, so we’ve all taken the morning off. Can you imagine the French Revolution under such circumstances ?
“Hey there’s going to be a revolution, so take your three weeks statutory annual leave now, and reserve your ticket for the guillotine !”
Hey no one does a demo or a revolution better than the French, but frankly in modern France you couldn’t have a revolution. Those kind of events happen when you’ve got nothing left to lose or everything to gain. Nowadays we just want to hang on to the little that we’ve got left, so a sedate Sunday stroll with a few anti government chants is as good as you’re going to get .
I guess we had a récession level demo because we can’t afford a revolution