There’s nothing quite like a French election carried out after a pandemic not caused by a rat, a tasteless online video, and a duck trying to gate crash Cyrano de Bergerac performed at the Comédie Française. The second round of the local elections taking place in Paris, has got that “je ne sais quoi” feeling that made me leave France all those years ago. It’s a mixture of smelly trash, uncompromising flair, and that word the English cannot pronounce – sex.
The French can be proud of their electoral system where, if you don’t win outright the first time around, you get a second chance with half the opposition having been kicked out of the race. The second round of the Paris local elections is also an emblem for feminism. The three remaining candidates are, believe it or not, all women.
If all goes to plan, the French Socialist Party will be able to boast at least one mayor – Anne Hidalgo – who kept her calm and probably her seat. That cannot be said for her opponents who were caught up in a wrangle of “I’ve started an election during a pandemic I knew was dangerous, so I’ll finish an election during a pandemic I knew was dangerous,” and “Was that really PornTube, I thought it was YouTube.” Not forgetting your usual dose of discrimination. Yes, it’s everywhere these days, even on the non-existent cycle lanes of Paris.
But who am I to judge? I don’t live in France any more, and have never lived in Paris anyway. I have even lost the unique privilege of receiving an electoral card to vote in a town – Saint-Etienne – that I left more than twenty years ago. Believe it or not, I kept on receiving them.
First, to the Doctor – Agnes Buzyn. For those who don’t know, she was health minister. Yes, the one who warned president Macron about the severity of the coronavirus, whilst everybody else cast the little bugger away as nothing more than a runny nose. No one listened, poor soul. She did tell them, in the same vain way that Cassandra warned the Pompeians of impending doom – to no avail. She even went as far as to say that the first round of the aforementioned local elections, organised on 15th March was nothing less than a “masquerade.” Guess what she did? Resigned, of course, and enlisted on the very same most dangerous of democratic elections.
As for the schmuck – who didn’t even make it to the first round – he responds to the name, Benjamin Griveaux. It’s because of him that Buzyn ran for the hot seat, in the first place. Griveaux, co-founder of Macron’s En Marche party that swept all before it not so long ago, paid the price for mistaking YouPorn for YouTube, and his zipper for his wife’s purse. These things happen when you’re married. Nortan’s parental control pluggin may have come in handy to save his political career. Griveaux admitted later that, “it wasn’t the best initiative he ever had.” He’s absolutely right – never leave the webcam on whilst surfing the net.
But what about the duck and the muck? Since lockdown, the former is replacing the latter and the rats that go with it. There are nearly twice as many rats as Parisians, although it is sometimes difficult to tell the difference between the two, and the Parisians have had enough. Hidalgo has promised them to clean all the muck and thus banish the rats. She’s a “green” if ever I saw one, having already saved the city’s self-service bicycle system from collapse. How could you not vote for her when you see videos of ducks wading their way to the Comédie Française. Nature and culture.
In Holland, we know all about bicycles, of course. Here, you can knock down a pedestrian with your car and get away with it, but just you dare scratch a bicycle with the tip of your bumper. The last of our three women candidates, Rachida Dati, a former participant in president Sarkozy’s cabinet, doesn’t seem to think so. She describes the preferential treatment of bicycles over cars, in an attempt to lure bicycles onto the “Périphérique”, and ducks to the Elysée Palace, as nothing less than discrimination. Well, let’s hit’em hard by nicking all the bicycle pumps.
For what it’s worth, I would vote for any woman who has the courage to clean up Paris, by getting rid of the Parisians. It’s a tough ask, because there are so many of them. But how it would be nice to be able to stroll down the Champs-Elysées, in the company of the swan you love, and who loves you.