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Colin Randall wrote here on France, things Anglo-French and more......but has moved

April 03, 2007

Wined-up boy racers get presidential champion

This site has now moved to Salut!

Back from London, and those raucous late-night shrieks as the binge-drinking young take to the streets, I ran straight into Jean-Marie Le Pen's latest campaign pledges.

You'll have gathered, I imagine, that while the Front National leader was given a surprisingly cushy ride by my former paper, he is not Salut!'s candidate of choice.

But what should we make of his attempt to capture the roadhog vote?

If I heard my France Info broadcast correctly this morning, the rabble-rousing old rogue of the far Right has been on his feet demanding a higher blood/alcohol limit for drivers.

He also wants to push up motorway speed limits from their present maximum of 130kph to 150kph and has a thing about speed cameras.

Having just checked on two reports of his actual words, uttered during a visit to a motor museum in Rheims, I think he was serious on both matters.

So just as France seems to be starting to get to grips with the appalling carnage on its roads, and bringing the death toll down, Le Pen offers a recipe for more danger, more crashes and presumably more deaths.

But why leave it at drink and speed? Why not make at least one bald tyre compulsory? Require no one to light up in namby-pamby fashion when it is dark or murky? And discourage insurance cover and the French version of the MoT test, the Controle Technique?

Naturally, Le Pen doesn't see it thay way. He wants a special tax on foreign lorries entering France, claiming that European freight hauliers' vehicles are involved in nine crashes in 10. And he argues that car drivers have come to be treated almost as presumed delinquents.

I am sure it cannot be that FN supporters of an especially evil bent reckon that most casualties of this tomfoolery would be of immigrant stock, and have urged their leader - innocent of such thoughts, of course - to encourage more accidents.

Indeed, Le Pen denies that his proposals would make the roads any less safe.

I'll say one thing in fainress: the French drink-driving limit is lower than the British one, so that Henri Paul was roughly twice ours but three times France's when he drove Princess Diana to his death.

But that's where the fairness ends. Let's hope that Le Pen's latest opinion roll rating - stuck on 13.5 per cent - is the one figure we can trust.

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This site has now moved to Salut!


At April 03, 2007 5:26 PM, Blogger Bill Taylor said...

A Reuter story today, about Bayrou's campaign losing momentum, says French pollsters "always have to adjust their raw data to take into account that voters have historically been reluctant to admit they back Le Pen." So perhaps he's stronger than we're led to believe.

At April 03, 2007 7:01 PM, Blogger Louise said...

I am in no way a supporter of le Pen - but I would love the speed limit to go up to 150kph! Up to the individual to calculate how much extra fuel he uses. Le Pen voters often don't publicly admit they vote for him so his popularity is difficult to assess - with the result we saw in the last election. I don't think he will get as many votes this time around as Bayrou has appeared on the scene and the le Pen voters who were rather ashamed of voting for him last time around will probably vote Sarko - more PC.

As the Frogs say, the first round of an election you vote with your heart, the second round you vote with your head...

At April 03, 2007 7:05 PM, Blogger Gigi said...

I (usually) stick to the speed limit but I'm often the slowest jalopy on the motorway - most people whizz gaily past me. I suppose studies have been done proving that more speed equals more deaths but to be honest, some stretches of motorway are so empty (like the bit between Sisteron and Aix-en-Provence) that driving at 150 kmh doesn't seem reckless at all...

Then again, driving faster apparently uses more fuel and that means more pollution...so I'm afraid I can't agree with LePen on this one after all.

Phew! That's a relief...for a moment there I thought I was turning into a fascist...:-)

At April 03, 2007 8:09 PM, Blogger richard of orleans said...

I think that the 130km limit on autoroutes has been carefully set so that it is safe to read the Figaro while driving.

If they increased the speed limit, it is not sure that I would be able to get through all the newspapers before I arrive at my destination.

At April 03, 2007 8:17 PM, Blogger Louise said...

If you read the Daily Mail, you could drive at 200kph!

At April 03, 2007 11:08 PM, Blogger Louise said...

Enough of all this chit-chat about politics, we are all waiting to see who has won the prize. Hippo's socks seem to have been withdrawn.

At April 03, 2007 11:25 PM, Blogger Bill Taylor said...

I expect anonyhamster won them.
Whatever happened to anonyhamster, do you suppose?


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