May 1, Lilies-of-the-Valley Day. (Thanks to a 1561 decree by Charles IX, who was smitten by the little flower.) The only thing you can still sell on Paris streets without a vendor’s licence! Despite a cold spring there seemed to be enough stalks to go around yesterday, as people streamed toward the Bastille to honor:
May 1, International Labor Day. But even for the demonstration-happy Parisians, not much jubilation this year, with 3,224,600 unemployed. The biggest demos seemed to be organized by immigrant groups to rouse support for, e.g., the Syrian rebel cause. Most of the music played over the PA’s was in quarter-tones, and the heady aromas came from sizzling fryers full of merguz sausages, onions and peppers, to be washed down with Moroccan mint tea.
‘President 75%’. After ‘the penguin’ – from a recently released, mocking Carla Bruni song; French women can be so mean – voila Francois Hollande’s newest nickname. 75% is the tax rate he champions for upper income brackets. 75% is also the President’s latest disapproval rate, only one year into a five year term. It would seem, by the way, that the Constitution provides no remedy for a hamstrung government. But you have to cut Hollande a soupcon of slack: he’s caught in the wrong job at the wrong time. The sclerotic statism behind France’s current downslide goes back a very long way, at least to the Mitterand years, if not to Richelieu’s reckless taxation. All the country needs now is a President with the courage to tell the truth– and then to start breaking some pottery.