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Peter B
Peter B
4 months ago

Am I alone in sensing a certain “de haut en bas” self-satisfaction in the tone of this article ? “We’ve seen off this bunch of losers and I reckon they won’t be coming back … good riddance”.
They were a protest movement for a very large group of people who’d been ignored and exploited for a long time. I don’t ever remembering them putting themselves forward as a coherent political party. They did what they could. And perhaps Covid conveniently broke the narrative before they could do more.
But that’s OK. Let’s just go on ignoring them. No need to think about solutions that might help them, is there ? I’m sure France will continue doing just fine without them …
“The Gilets Jaunes detested Macron because, they said, he had claimed to be a different kind of politician, but he was the same as his predecessors.”
Written as if there were any doubt about it ! And exactly my beef with Blair and his ilk.

Bruno Lucy
Bruno Lucy
4 months ago
Reply to  Peter B

No Peter, you are no alone. Mr Litchfield article just confirms what General de Gaulle used to say at the end of his life : « la vieillesse est un naufrage Â» and I am sure Charles will only confirm this.
The yellow jacket movement was started after the fuel prices were raised 
.just a notch, supposedly to finance the ecological transition, which they, like us city slickers, knew was a lie. That broke the camel’s back. I can remember Edouard Philippe the then PM, on the Sunday evening news claiming « there is no alternative Â» Angela Merkel favourite punt, es gibt keine Alternativ !! Not being a Macron fan, fairness forces me to admit that he never was party to this lunacy but had to pick up the remains of this mess. Edouard Philippe sees himself as the next in line for presidency

..not my president for sure !!!
I regularly go to Corrùze, things in the country are pretty much the same, even if not worse since interest rates were increased. 40 % of loan applications are refused by the banks the “ reste à vivre” or what remains after fixed costs, is not enough. What I see when I drive down there, are hard working people trying to make ends meet

.not “ploucs” as Mr Lictchfield relishes to call them.
You ought to be ashamed and crawl back under the stone you came from Mr Litchfield and since you are living in the Normandy countryside, I am amazed that you didn’t get a truckload of manure on your front door porch

your “ ploucs “ neighbours never heard of UnHerd probably.
i just found this on you tube, quite by luck. I don’t see Ploucs expressing themselves et even if you don’t speak French, pictures speak volume.
https://youtu.be/fqBhOXqJnxU?si=ZAUyccOFdTsy81wK

Last edited 4 months ago by Bruno Lucy
Mike Downing
Mike Downing
4 months ago
Reply to  Bruno Lucy

That would be Blighty I’m ashamed to admit. Typical expat (but he does parler français au moins).

Peter B
Peter B
4 months ago
Reply to  Bruno Lucy

[comment removed – superfluous]

Last edited 4 months ago by Peter B
Bruno Lucy
Bruno Lucy
4 months ago
Reply to  Peter B

Upset me ??’ the very contrary, I am in total agreement. I suggest you pause and read again what I said which was directly meant for Mr Lichfield


I come from a very posh and dismissive family when it comes to “ploucs” 

they would probably worship Trump who embodies “ ploutocratie “ 

..thing is
..this “ plouc” has tons of money which makes him acceptable and “un ploucs” him.
One of Macron advisers Benjamin Grivaux coined it by saying about the yellow jackets “ they smoke fags and drive diesel”

..life being the b***h it is, the very Grivaux was later caught filming himself masturbating for the benefit of a mistress. Not sure the word leak fits for this one 

.but it did leak
..on social media and Mr Grivaux political career went up in smoke

..and we all cruelly had a big laugh.
So

when I hear a snob mocking “ ploucs” I immediately become suspicious of his spare time activities.

Last edited 4 months ago by Bruno Lucy
Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
4 months ago
Reply to  Bruno Lucy

Just had to bury my Chief of Staff
..so yes.

Klive Roland
Klive Roland
4 months ago
Reply to  Bruno Lucy

But “ploucs” there are, as chronicled by Édouard Louis in his excellent book ‘The End of Eddy’. Attitudes in some parts of rural France are a million miles from those in the cities: unemployed men who won’t let their wives work as they can’t suffer the thought of the woman being the bread-winner; teenage girls who are written off as strumpets if they’ve had more than two boyfriends; boys who don’t conform to traditional ideas of masculinity being beaten up every day at school…

Bruno Lucy
Bruno Lucy
4 months ago
Reply to  Klive Roland

Klive, the vast majority of yellow jackets were working people just blowing their tops off under the symbolic and useless raise of petrol prices. Things had been simmering for a while. Eddy, as interesting as his book might be, is a totally different thing.
So
..to have Litchfield call these people ploucs is really insulting.
No doubts that things went totally out of control, gazillions of euros of destruction. Is this inexcusable ? Yes it is. Did they achieve anything ? again, no and the population after having supported them, got very tired of this, longing for a peaceful Xmas. But Lictchfield dismisses their case in an unacceptable insulting manner. Did the miners achieve anything in the UK back then in 
..1982 ? no. Did they have a cause ? Yes, they did and I would never label these guys 

.as Ploucs. The man needs a rest and a long one. Anne Marie Moutet is far more qualified to write about French matters.

Klive Roland
Klive Roland
4 months ago
Reply to  Bruno Lucy

In fairness to the author, the use of the word ‘plouc’ was intended to signal how Parisians regarded the Gilets jaunes at the time. I don’t think it’s fair to accuse him of calling them ploucs.
Nevertheless, I agree that there is a slightly dismissive tone to the article, not helped by the headline (which, if I understand correctly, the author does not write).
To understand who the Gilets jaunes are you could do worse than to look at Christophe Guilluy’s book ‘La France PĂ©riphĂ©rique’ which dwells on the winners and losers of globalisation and the resentment of elites which has built up in rural France.
With this in mind I think Lichfield is right when he casts the Gilets jaunes as “Brexiteers without Boris or Trumpers without Trump”. The phenomenon is happening seemingly everywhere….there was an interesting piece in The Guardian (yes really!) this week about the Dutch farmers…so many obvious parallels with the Gilets Jaunes.

Last edited 4 months ago by Klive Roland
Bruno Lucy
Bruno Lucy
4 months ago
Reply to  Klive Roland

Christophe Guilly I agree will give a far better understanding of where the yellow jackets were coming from from and why. The fact is that he had been alerting for a while without being listened to. Eddy’s book on the other hand, is a personal account of a young man having to deal with his homosexuality in a family and extended circle that would not tolerate it. That would sum up the yellow jackets as a bunch of homophobic red necks as group.

james elliott
james elliott
4 months ago
Reply to  Peter B

There is an air of ‘let them eat cake, as long as its halal, and they can still afford it under hyper-inflation’, yes.

Bret Larson
Bret Larson
4 months ago
Reply to  Peter B

It’s the same group that all governing western party’s are ignoring as fast as they can. Those who depend on commodity production. It’s a convenient wedge issue to get elected, after all urban elites can get all their commodities from free trade cheaper than buying from local yokels. They say nothing about how co2 intense their habits of imports from across the globe.

Saul D
Saul D
4 months ago

It’s no so simple. At one level the initial Gilets Jaunes focus was on the price of diesel, particularly in the countryside. The French government changed course or at least gave some concessions. It also pulled Macron back from being a Europe-first president to being a French first president and pushing more strongly for nuclear power.
The same type of pushback against green regulations took place with the Truckers protests in Canada and is also happening with the Farmers Party in the Netherlands. Heat pump protests hit Germany. And the fear of the public reaction to fuel price increases led both France and Spain to subsidize fuel prices at the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. While there is general support for climate change policies, it can’t come at the cost of impoverishing parts of the community. We’re told energy should be getting cheaper because of renewables, and yet it isn’t.

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
4 months ago

Good God, what an insufferable snob.

Charles Stanhope
Charles Stanhope
4 months ago

Thank you for that excellent synopsis of La Belle France.
Perhaps next time, and there WILL be a ‘next time’.

Christopher Chantrill
Christopher Chantrill
4 months ago

Obviously the gilets jaunes are like the other populist movements across the western world.
Here in the US we’ve had Nixon’s Silent Majority, Reagan’s Reagan Democrats, the Tea Party, the Trump MAGAs and Car Parades.
And nothing has changed. Except that the urban educated class has decided that the ordinary middle class are really white oppressors and The Enemy of all good people.
Don’t miss the next exciting episode of The Revolt of the Commoners.

Last edited 4 months ago by Christopher Chantrill
Paul Hemphill
Paul Hemphill
4 months ago

The article is quite condescending but paints what is probably a realistic picture. In Australia, extreme right wing and mostly white male politicians and “identities” endeavoured to get an Aussie equivalent up to capitalise on a widespread culture of grievance amongst folk in rural and regional areas and urban fringes who felt ignored, excluded and unlisted to by the “elites, the insiders, affluent and educated townies, and the powers that be. They managed to rustle up the odd protest and blockade, with the yellow vests we call “high vis” (much favoured by workmen and politicians seeking photo opportunities), but nothing every really came of it. We don’t do revolution and rebellion like Frenchies can, particularly if these get in the way of long weekends, public holidays and major sporting events. Our wannabe ‘jacquerie’ morphed into antivaxxers, conspiritualists, “sovereign citizens” and sundry others during the Covid lockdowns, earning the subriquet “cookers” or RWNJs (right wing nut jobs), whilst many broke cover during our recent referendum on an indigenous Voice to Parliament to add to climate of fear and loathing.