The Corner

Ah! ça ira

Via the London Times, this is not what you would call an encouraging story:

A survey by CSA for today’s Parisien reports that 45 percent of France “finds this method of action acceptable”. Fifty percent do not. A cynic might be surprised that only 45 percent approve of sequestration, as boss-napping is politely called. Even President Sarkozy, the champion of law-and-order, has sympathy for workers who practice it though he said today that it must stop…

 

…Politicians of the centre and left have been competing to voice their understanding for the boss-nappers. Les patrons have never been popular in France, but their name is blacker than ever with fear of unemployment and the media full of fat cats awarding themselves bonuses and golden payoffs. Cashing in on the mood, Ségolène Royal, the Socialist, said that while it was illegal to deprive someone of their liberty, there were times when ”workers must smash the barriers of absolute injustice.”

Sarkozy’s government is worried that locking up bosses could presage greater violence as the sense of injustice grows with rising unemployment. François Fillon, the Prime Minister, says that he will not tolerate more “hostage taking”.

But in France, there is violence and violence, as all students of history know. Two years ago exactly, a certain presidential candidate took the side of angry fishermen who had smashed up their port. “When you resort to violence it is because you are desperate, because you feel condemned to economic death,” he told them. “I will never put the anger of fishermen who do not want to die on the same level as the gratuitous violence of thugs.”  That was N. Sarkozy.

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