"Who are you going to vote for, mummy?" asked my eldest today.
"No one," I had to reply, "I can't vote."
He was quite stunned and well he might be. I might be able to vote in European elections (big deal, I'm sure that's just because the voting numbers are so dismal that they are desperate to involve the bottom of the pilers - foreigners) but I cannot vote in the one that counts. The election to choose the President of the Republic is not for me. I am not French. End of story.
However, the Republic is perfectly happy for me to pay my taxes and social contributions; they insist, in fact, but prevent me from adding my voice to how all my tax euros are to be spent, despite my being part of the happy, inclusive Euro family, as a Brit.
So, I can barely drum up any enthusiasm for the election at all. I have no voice, cannot influence the outcome, so why should I care? I can't do anything about it, there'll probably be no big changes that affect me anyway as there hardly ever are (except the 35hr week - yippee!), so I'm pretty apathetic about Sego and her white jacket, or Sarko and his hyperactive bouncing about.
I'm deeply suspicious of politicians, especially those on election campaigns. We hear words and promises, rallying calls to the population etc. etc. and it's all empty. Empty words, empty promises. The best liar wins. You just have to look at Blair to see how empty his words are, and Gordon Brown is even worse. He's a thieving, lying, manipulative, smug piece of shit, and that's being generous.
Chirac is rotten to the core as was Mitterand. They are all out for themselves; their self-aggrandisement, enrichment and rapacious political ambition come what may. Will Gordon Brown resign over the pensions fiasco? I doubt it. Has his pension or any other minister's been affected by his thieving grab? Yeah, right. He's all right, Jack. Stuff the public, they're all worn down by over-taxation, over-work and excessive surveillance anyway; they won't fuss for long... Slap another tax on them (preferably green to take the moral high ground), that'll shut them up.
A parent would have been proud that their child become Prime Minister, or President in days gone by. Today, politicians have to show such dastardly characteristics that frankly, I hope my two steer well clear of politics.
The last time I voted was for Harold Wilson when he was MP for Huyton. Ever since then I've been living abroad when the elections come around and anyway, I'm a bit of an apathetic voter myself. I can't pretend to follow politics but I do know that I have lived in France with Mitterand and Chirac and my life hasn't changed significantly.ReplyDelete
I've lived here for 20 years and have never been able to vote - yet this is my home. If I were allowed, I probably would. Why should I vote in the British elections if they don't affect me?
My eldest daughter gets to vote for the first time this year. She still doesn't know who she's going to choose, though!
Be honest if you decided to adopt French nationality then you could vote. It seems normal, why should you be able to vote while retaining the nationality of the enemy.ReplyDelete
I've only voted once in my life, the last Euro elections, I doubt I will again. I've got out of the habit and it suits me.
But what has nationality got to do with it? I pay my taxes, I should vote.ReplyDelete
I did decide to adopt French nationality when I got married, Richard - but the paperwork defeated me! I gave up in the end and sometimes I wonder if that wasn't the idea :-)ReplyDelete
It is the act of asking for French nationality that indicates that you are prepared to be loyal to the French nation and assume the responsibilties of a French national. Granted it does not prove you will be loyal but at least it is a step in the right direction ,whereas not taking the nationality, even though you are fully entited to do so, shows a rejection of the country. Or in my case a feeling of unworthiness to be a member of that great nation given my personal history.ReplyDelete
Gigi your inabilty to negotiate a few simple forms just proves you're a Brit.
Paying taxes has nothing to do with it. You can use the roads, hospitals and all the rest of the excellent services. But to get the vote you need to say 'I do'. After all being French is not like English. The English are subjects of Liz, the French are citizens of the Republique, a true honour. But it carries responsibilities. It is a very different situation.
What nationality are you, Richard?ReplyDelete
I tried at one time to get French nationality and I too was totally defeated. As a lady in the Prefecture said to me 'Ah, Madame, si vous etiez Arabe...'
Ha! A few simple forms? No Richard - not simple for me! I've lived here for over 20 years so I'm French-ish as well as British - and there's nothing wrong with being a métisse ( and after all, I'm only 10 years less French than you :-)) But when it comes to forms, my Britishness does indeed come to the fore. Please don't try to deny that French bureauc - damn, can't spell it - red-tape is frustrating. If you don't have 'the profile' - if you don't fit the mould - then you don't get whatever it is you want to get. I'm having trouble with the CAF at the moment simply because I wanted to declare money I was given in order not to cheat and receive benefits I wasn't entitled to. My rant is too long to deliver here but it boils down to this: if I want my allocations I'm going to have to lie... (in fact, I don't think the amount I tried to declare would make any difference but it's the principle...)ReplyDelete
Sorry for hijacking your blog, Sarah :-)
My passport is English. I feel like a Tory who has left the party but realizes that you can never be credible if you join the opposition.Better to say your misfortune in life was to start out on the wrong side of the Channel. No you can never be French and have the vote, but you have that delightful feeling of having chosen your life rather than it happening by chance.ReplyDelete
French administration is wonderful, efficient and we live in a well organised country. The British have never experienced a properly administered country and don't recognise it when they see it. Ignorant lot.
Alors moi, je vote, et depuis 40 ans......j'ai adopté immédiatement la nationalité française, car la France m'a donné mes diplômes, mon epoux, mes enfants et mes petits enfants - je suis française...d'origine anglo-américaine, et aussi fière d'être française que de mes origines! Les papiers ne me cause pas de problèmes - cela fut un peu longue, mais ma terre nourricière fut la France....alors je vote, et je suis très fière de l'etre française....comme je suis fière de feu mon Papa american et Madame Mere très très Britanique...gosh & gadzooks, so green welly boots and all and all, Barbour, Hollonde and Hollande, Lillywhites and Sloane Square. Mais mon coeur est très très française et je ne sais dire des choses douce et aimante qu'en français, car en anglais je ne les avait jamais entendu!!!ReplyDelete
L'hybride a bien des avantagres - le melting pot de plusiers cultres tres heureux comme melange...le meileur de plusiers cultures.
I'm not that desperate to vote that I'd become French to do so. My ex-h is French. Nuff said!ReplyDelete
I feel the same as you, Sarah. I've been here for 15 years but after changing my driving licence, getting a carte de sejour, opening a bank account and then getting married here, I couldn't face any more paperwork. Anyway, the whole campaign is aimed at the FRENCH, flag waving, anti-European (or any other nationality that isn't FRENCH for that matter) So much debate about the FRENCH and who they are and what they want (or don't want). And the promises are getting more ridiculous as time goes on.ReplyDelete