Page 16

16 Letters

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EU needs us more

They said it … He is a king. Unfortunately, he’s going to end up like Louis XVI. An unnamed gilets jaunes protester A member of the grassroots movement’s view of President Macron

Politics is the showbusiness of ugly people William Boyd

The novelist holds little back in a piece for L’Obs

I am just a loser who got very lucky Jean-Louis Trintignant Photo: Antoine Lamielle _ CC BY-SA 4.0_ wikimedia

The veteran actor on his long career

We have arrived at a dangerous time for our country Jean Lassalle

The MP explains why he broke National Assembly dress code rules and donned a gilet jaune jacket in the chamber

The Paris Agreement isn’t working out so well for Paris. Protests and riots all over France. People do not want to pay large sums of money, much to third world countries (that are questionably run), in order to maybe protect the environment. Chanting “We Want Trump!” President Donald Trump

The US President falsely claims gilets jaunes chanted his name during violent protests on the Champs-Elysees that had nothing to do with the Paris Climate Agreement See page 10 for France’s reaction

What motivates fraudulent bosses is the game Eva Joly

The former financial judge in L’Obs on Renault CEO Carlos Ghosn who is charged with financial misconduct re his personal tax declarations

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I WRITE in reply to your web article from Nick Inman about the EU bringing peace (EU membership a small price to pay for peace). Both world wars were not started by a “clash of nation states” but by the ambition of Germany to dominate Europe. In Hitler’s case, to unify what he saw as the Germanic people and create what he referred to as Germania. Prior to that, it was the Kaiser. Earlier, Napoleon aimed to spread French influence across Europe. I viewed the creation of the Common Market as a realistic and welcome move towards co-operation and free trade in Europe. The Maastricht Treaty, however, was a cynical hijacking by a power-hungry bureaucracy to turn it into a vast federation. Mr Inman’s own expressions of “self-serving Eurocrats of Brussels” and “flawed and bumbling institutions of the EU” acknowledge the potential. Germany pulls the strings of the EU and the current man-

Nothing humiliating about cartes

oeuvring of Macron as Merkel loses influence should give pause to any notion it is the EU that is preventing another war. With some reservation, I supported Brexit (I didn’t get a vote). But given the recent attitude of those Eurocrats to the UK vote to leave, the fixation that they must prevail against the democratic choice of the Brits, I am now firmly for Brexit and, adding in other current stresses, suggest the disintegration of the EU may not be long delayed. I am reminded of a conversation I had recently with a French neighbour. Discussing Brexit, he said at one point “don’t leave us”. I initially assumed he meant “don’t Brexit”. Further discussion clarified he meant “be around when the EU goes pear-shaped”. Our government has made a total mess of negotiations. The EU have ensured they would prevail. We are just at the beginning of an emotive and difficult period, however this plays out. David Homewood by email

Papers piling up

It would be easier to accept the French government’s professed concern for the environment if there were evidence that it designed its administrative procedures with the health of the planet in mind. I make this observation because I am currently involved in the process of assembling the paperwork for an application for a carte de séjour and so far have amassed around half a kilogramme of paper – I accept some of this paper mountain is “just in case”, but even so! Additionally, it seems I must make at least two trips to the prefecture, which is more than 100km from where I live. Overall, not exactly an environmentally friendly process. Accepting the conditions that one must have lived in France for at least five years and have sufficient income not to be a burden on the French state, surely all the evidence required to prove these facts is contained in one’s French income tax returns for those five years: a communication between the Fisc and the prefecture could verify this. And all the bills etc said to prove residence in France without periods of absence of more than two weeks or so at a time in fact do nothing of the sort! As for the fingerprint requirement, that could be done at a local gendarmerie. Just my pennyworth to help save the planet, reduce the workload at the prefecture and last, but not least, save me a lot of time and expense. Malcolm EVANS Haute-Garonne

January 2019

Re: Humiliating faff for carte Letters, December edition. One of the tenets of the European Union is freedom of movement, thanks to which British people have been able to reside in France with the minimum bureaucracy, and likewise EU citizens’ ability to reside in the UK. Each member country has, however, been at liberty to implement their own immigration policies and procedures. I would hazard a guess that the vast majority of UK immigrants into the EU never even bothered to apply for cartes de séjour until the events of June 2016 put this freedom in jeopardy, and have now done so in the hope the carte will stand us in good stead

whatever the outcome of Brexit. I fail to see any “humiliation” in providing documents which the French government decided long ago were necessary to prove residency, financial means, etc. Contrast your letter headline of the same issue “French law will protect Britons in Brexit chaos” (sadly not as straightforward as it reads, I’m afraid!) with May’s disgraceful comments about EU citizens “queue jumping”. And perhaps your respondent should ponder on the true meaning of humiliation, such as that visited on some of the “Windrush’” generations by the UK government. Julia Higginbotham Lot-et-Garonne

Why the gilets annoy me

THERE is one aspect of the gilets jaunes I find intensely annoying. If you need a tunic to be seen in the dark on a bike, you have to buy a yellow one. I wear mine a lot. A turning point came when I was cheered by lycéens as I sped past their school in a balaclava for the cold. I’m not a militant, I just don’t want to be run over by a car. I found other colours online but orange suggests a council worker; green, eco-activism... finally I found and ordered a royal blue. Miles CLERY-FOX, by email

GDP protects the rich

The use by Eurostat of taxation as a percentage of GDP is as false a measure as is GDP. Gross Domestic Product ignores all collateral and consequential damage (eg pollution/global warming costs). It is a broad brush that reveals nothing useful to most. Up to now, the better social services in France make sense out of paying taxes, which are essential to any sane society, especially if well used by its government. Sadly, the tendency to privatise essential social services puts France on the same course we have seen in the UK since Thatcherism. In short, privatisation of social services which uses our taxes to enrich private faceless shareholders. It may be more useful, in this gilets jaunes age, to have tax levels broken down as a percentage of income and wealth by groupings (such as the 5% highest total incomes as a percentage of gross worldwide wealth, going down by

5% or 10% steps to the lowest 5%-unemployed). Last year, the “patrons” of CAC40 gave themselves 14% annual increases on huge figures. City of London Stock market bosses did better, at 25%. Then, instead of expressing our sense of injustice by inconveniencing fellow gilets jaunes, we can all be gilets jaunes targeting the real villains in our increasingly divided free market capitalist societies. I have always gladly declared and paid all my taxes both in the UK (from 1954, age 18), and now in France since 2000 where I live as a French citizen. I enjoy an adequate pension and comfortable life here but feel that the pursuit of never-ending economic growth is being outpaced by the increasing need for more and more charities to deal with the victims of the greedy few and their political allies. Brian Hurley, Dordogne

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