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“The ninth weekend of the gilet jaune protest movement was a mixed result for Emmanuel Macron. The nationwide demonstrations were relatively peaceful with only minor skirmishes between protestors and police, but numbers were up, with a total of 84,000 taking to the streets, 34,000 more than the previous Saturday.
This is an impressive figure given that we are in the depth of the northern hemisphere winter, but what are rain, sleet and sub-zero temperatures when the future of one’s country is at stake?
With that in mind Macron launches his Big Debate on Tuesday in the hope that consultation will supplant confrontation and a consensus can be reached behind which the country can unite and move forward.
The odds of that happening appear to be slim. Scepticism is the order of the day with a poll last week reporting that seventy per cent of those asked believe the nationwide Big Debate, which runs until March 15, will fail in its aim.
Why the pessimism? Because France has been here before. In 2009 president Nicolas Sarkozy launched with much fanfare a debate on ‘French identity’ amid growing unease about Islam and immigration. The indignation of politicians and journalists on the left was so great that Sarkozy ended up apologising for the initiative.”
JJ Editor's Picks
"On Christmas Eve of 1966, Paddy Roy Bates, a retired British army major, drove a small boat with an outboard motor seven miles off the coast of England into the North Sea. He had sneaked out of his house in the middle of the night, inspired..."
"The book that changed lecturer, activist, and current presidential candidate Marianne Williamson’s life, A Course in Miracles, is not available for free online, but its workbook is. You can find it on the website for the Foundation for..."
"Here are two sets of statements from far-distant opposites in the climate change debate. The first is from Naomi Klein, who in her book This Changes Everything paints a bleak picture of a global socioeconomic system gone wrong: “There is a..."
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"With the presidential campaign under way, expect to hear a lot more about a shiny new toy of progressive economic thinking, “modern monetary theory.” It seems to be the only intellectual contortion that might allow candidates to promise..."
"“We don’t want to fight y’all. We’re not trying to go to jail.” That’s what A$AP Rocky, the 30-year-old New York City rapper, can be heard saying in a video of an encounter with strangers in Sweden that has ballooned into an international crisis."
"Israel’s top officials are considering denying Reps. Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib entry to their country due to their outspoken, controversial criticism of Israel’s policy toward Palestinians, not to mention their slurs against American Jews as..."
"For most of our lives, we have been conditioned to share a piece of personal information without a moment’s hesitation: our phone number. We punch in our digits at the grocery store to get a member discount or at the pharmacy to pick up..."