A Way of Living

September 3, 2009 at 10:11 PM Leave a comment

I’ve just managed to squeeze in my first proper holiday for some years by going to stay with friends in a tiny village in rural France. As well as having a good time enjoying the heatwave, drinking wine and sampling many fine cheeses  it gave me a chance to see experience French rural life.

What struck me was that the pace of life reminded me of Britain in my childhood. Shops weren’t open seven days a week, at lunchtime the shops actually closed and people had lunch and there was evidence of a plethora of  all kinds of event organised by the local municipalities and political parties.  I attended a fine fireworks display organised by the local communist party which was raising money for the local fire brigade and was the precursor to a Jazz festival.  It was obvious that  quality of life was very important for people and there was a strong sense of community.

Although Nicolas  Sarkozy has been trying to change the French by introducing Sunday opening laws he is not having such an easy time of it with French people who don’t see why they should work on Sunday.  The campaign against the law is just starting which might seem like closing the door after the horse has bolted but is not unusual in France where the people have often made the Government back down from changes they have made.  My observation was also that most French people regarded his as a measure for tourists and would not be going shopping on Sunday themselves.

In fact the whole thing contrast sharply with the UK where business forced through the change by breaking the law much to the delight of the Government who had failed in their previous attempts to change the law. The result for our country is that we are sold to virtually 24hours a day seven days a week.  There is no place to hide even in the privacy of your own home or walking on the streets and company representatives seem positively offended if questioned about their right to accost you on the doorstep or stop you in the street.

Now I may be coming across like a grumpy old man, but for me there is something to be said for the French valuing their quality of life.  Not seeing themselves as just consumers and believing that life is for more than just working and shopping.  It seems to me that the market rules our lives and that our choices have been reduced to what we buy.  Even when the politicians talk about choice they are talking about the choice of options that they put in front of us not about allowing us the ability to truly decide the way we live.


Entry filed under: Politics.

Thoughts on a graduation Words Words Words

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