Archive for the ‘languages’ Category

The most important thing in democracy

April 17, 2009

“The most important thing in democracy is to be re-elected. Look at [Silvio] Berlusconi. He has been re-elected three times.”

This is one of many outrageous statements made by Nicholas Sarkozy at a recent lunch meeting. He is quoted at length in Libération here, but all the best bits are summed up in the Guardian here.

Sadly, Sarkozy’s statement is absolutely true, if you share his view on what democracy is – the system by which you get to the top and stay there.

Sarkozy always wanted to be President. He was open about this during his campaign. Yet his personal motive for gaining power did not put off the majority of voters any more than his unparalleled arrogance or his contempt for common folk.

Examples like Sarkozy and Berlusconi are evidence that the intended function of democracy – to ensure that all citizens have equal access to power – has been superceded by the goal of playing the game of democracy and winning it – year after year after year.

The real France in your ears

November 25, 2008

You know how you really like French, and to a certain extent the French, but you don’t really want to live in France?

The answer is RFI – Radio France Internationale – it’s like the BBC World Service for France. 106 FM if you’re in Berlin.

Like all the best things to come out of France, RFI is really, really French. So French in fact, that when I was listening this morning I was surprised to hear several songs in a row, rather than the usual furiously contested debates and abstract thoughts on concrete problems. A technical fault, surely? No, a recorded message informed me the station was on strike.

RFI, bringing the true taste of France straight to your ears.