The View From France

Tuesday 24th March

We generally watch British TV here in Eymet.  But some days it is just too awful, even with many channels on Sky to watch.  Out of boredom and tiredness brought on by eating too much I expect we decided to watch French news (in English – we aren’t that good at French).  And it is quite different from our news.  You forget that what is news in the U.K; another Tory parliamentary Candidate being forced to resign; Milliband re-iterating that he will not do a deal with the SNP, or Theresa May promising more anti-extremist measures is of no interest to the French.  Their news leads with the Front National and Marine Le Pen, who has co-incidentally shaken up French Politics in much the same way, but with even more success than Nigel Farage has in Britain.  And their second story was the civil war in Yemen, which we hardly hear about at all.

So in a similar way to our politics there is a fracturing of the old established powerful parties here in France. The extreme right-wing, which was once laughed at is now gaining ground.  There is now open discussion of issues which were once not talked about.  Anti European and anti immigrant rhetoric is now acceptable in a way that even UKIP seems reticent about here.  And of course, for us British living and enjoying our lives out here it is starting to become a bit worrying.  It feels as if the European Union may not actually survive for that much longer.  What was once ‘Le Grand Projet’ is now on the defensive and being attacked on all sides.  And what everyone fears is a referendum, where the gloves will be off and the media will play on people’s fears and before we know where we are either Britain or France or any of the larger countries will vote to leave.  And once one goes it will so much harder to hold the thing together.  Quite what this will mean for people who are living in a different country no-one quite knows, but is not unimaginable that if this xenophobia continues not only Muslims and blacks and Jews will be targeted but maybe we British too.  Internationalism is now almost a dirty word and as the economy stagnates the Right wing are looking for somebody to blame.  Scary stuff…