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Winning hearts and minds. Very slowly.

Harvard's Centre for European Studies invited Ségolène Royal to address an audience on the topic of 'Rebuilding the European left'. And.....

...the address was made to "about 50 students and some lecturers".

I realise they are a serious-minded bunch in Cambridge, MA, and so would not be impressed by Sego's star quality. Unless, unless - it was because she was speaking in French maybe?

The abstract suggests that all she had to say was a daisy chain of clichés, so not much was missed.

Sticking with matters Gallic, just to show that I do not only mock goings-on Outremanche, here are some headline findings from a survey that puts the British political class to shame:

"70% of French people have met their mayor, 12% just the once, and 58% several times".

Lest one thinks this is all down to folk living in small communes, note this: "92% of the French living in rural communes (2000 inhabitants or fewer) have met their mayor, compared to 58% in communes of 100,000 or more".

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Anonymous verity said... 1:44 am

Get those figures from Maman, did you?


Actually, I met my mayor when I lived in France - in a village, admittedly - and all the staff in the mairie were quite jolly in that uppity, pursed lip French way.

Also, because teens - and under - had been storming into our village and partying in the churchyard, tanked up on those cans of tequila and beer mixes unknown outside France, and playing loud music, and being uncatchable because they were driving their scooters between villages and coordinating on their cell phones, - anyway, where was I? ...

Oh, yes, we demanded that the head of the Gendarmerie in our closest town come up and discuss this with us. And sure enough, he came out for a well-advertised meeting, with a couple of lieutenants, and sat through a lengthy, lengthy meeting facing about 150 of us and answering endless questions and demands from the floor.

He accepted that he was on the spot with a problem he had to solve. No politically correct slush. He knew he had to solve it.

It was truly local democracy in action.

We got a report of the meeting later.

And actually, they managed a reduction in the disturbances immediately, and eventually all but did away with it.

It didn't become some other villages' problem, because the local Gendarmerie was over all the villages in our area.

Rural France works extremely well.  

Blogger Croydonian said... 9:53 am

The experience of Ma C - a sometime councillor in her village - with mayors and rural democracy is quite encouraging. The mayor seems a pleasant enough chap, and keeps getting re-elected despite being a Gaullist in a largely red village. I think the previous mayor was a Communist, but the personal vote is evidently /the/ factor at election time.  

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