She used her allocation for parliamentary assistants for paying the salary of her personal bodyguard and a secretary back in Paris at Front National headquarters. These allocations can only be used for people working at the European parliament. Other people have been nailed on this subject, too.
As for her defence, it was the usual bullshit: "Anything that can help me do my job as an elected European official counts as a valid expense."
It's interesting the way characters like Farage, Le Pen and Trump are dependent on using the very organisations they espouse to detest in order to get a profile for themselves.
Farage and Le Pen built their profiles in the European Parliament (both were virtually unelectable in their own countries before embarking on a form of EU 'entryism').
And Trump gained his position by snatching the nomination of a political party which would never have selected him for any office.
Very Trotskyite in its execution, particularly the selection of well-defined 'enemies' and others' to oppose and demonise.
With a degree of 'Gramsci-ism' thrown in by their ability to subvert the culture of the debate, particularly by the exploitation of new media...
I too find it ironic that these people who spend their time criticizing the EU are living off the money they earn there. Farage should have made a show of leaving his MEP post once he "succeeded" with the Brexit vote.
I liked the British MEP who held up a sign behind Farage the other day saying, "He's lying to you."
Well There is hope because : Brexit came as a result of a referendum and a badly organized one. In the past when Chirac found himself against Le Pen he got elected with more than 80pc of the votes. Which means that the French when confronted with cholera and the flu choose the flu. So the general idea is that Le pen will win first round with about 30 pc of the votes but that the guy against her will then win the second round with a very large majority. And a lot of rightist would vote Macron and a lot of leftists would vote Fillion who is still on the left of Le Pen. That is the big difference with US : we have parties from liar left to far right. And most centrists will oppose voting far left/right. Or should at least.
I kept my spelling error of liar left instead of far left. Sounds good to me as it also applicable to liar right.
I just heard some commentary about Velcro Fillon and Teflon le Pen and possible voting in the second round. Much is being made of polls being wrong in the UK and the USA, but indeed things are looking good for Macron.
Le Pen will keep her core supporters, convinced that the judicial inquiry against her is a conspiracy destined to prevent her from coming to power. The inquiry doesn't say she had fake jobs for herself but for the party. Fillon is losing support and the mud is sticking because he had presented himself as Mr Clean and is accused of personal enrichment with those fake jobs.Both are attacking the judiciary and the media, a bad move in my opinion.
Meanwhile Macron got the support from a centrist who has run for president 3 times, so is experienced in politics, even though he always lost. This gave him a boost in the polls. I am beginning to see posters for Macron here and got information about all kinds of meetings by his supporters for specific subjects around Toulouse.
I am keeping an eye on Nathalie Arthaud. She may hold a rally that I could attend in aubervilliers. Must be better than the Stones at parc les Princes !
I went to an Arlette Laguiller rally in the old days, and it was amazing. What is disturbing about the Trotskyist firebrands is that just about everything they say is true (capitalist greed, closing profitable factories to distribute higher dividends to shareholders, immoral tax shelters, decent wages for all, the importance of immigrants, the need to put an end to slum housing, etc...), but for some strange reason none of their solutions is viable.
Meanwhile, you need 5% of the vote to be reimbursed for campaign expenses, which must under no circumstances exceed 16,166,000 euros for the first round and 21,954,000 euros for the second round. So only 5 candidates will reach the 5% level although Dupont-Aignan always says that not only will he exceed 5% but he will win in the end. Note that there is no Communist party candidate this year because of an agreement with the Leftist party.
One of the reasons that has generated my own support over time is that he fully supports the EU and does not blame immigrants for all the problems in the country. There are also a number of measures that go in the right direction, such as the 500 euro "cultural pass" given to all young people (inspired by a measure that Matteo Renzi applied in Italy). It will allow all young people to get books, tickets to spectacles, download music, enroll in classes, etc. on a site operated by the Ministry of Culture, using their accounts and their password. He also wants to extend unemployment benefits to people have resigned from their jobs or who are independent entrepreneurs, including farmers. (Oddly enough, I resigned from a job in 1974 and managed to obtain unemployment benefits, which was totally unheard of at the time, but I was able to prove that I had been pushed out by undeclared workers -- it was an American company hiring illegal Americans.) There are quite a few other measures concerning education, retirement, taxation and such, but it is already complicated enough for a lot of the French, so I really don't expect that foreign media have bothered to explain anything. What seems to interest the world is that he popped up "out of nowhere" and has made the other candidates look like repetitive has-beens who need to be put out to pasture.
His biggest challenge is not at all his programme but the fact that he created a new political party that has zero elected representatives either in the National Assembly or the Senate. Legislative elections will take place about one month after the presidential election.
Macron is not just "not le Pen" or not Fillon or not Hamon. I just spent some time reading the 15 or so pages of his platform, as compared with the one or two-page sound bites of most of the others. Indeed, he is pro-European, and actually says that France needs to change and not just go on with the traditional ways of doing things, which includes family members working for parlementarians, etc. He actually wants to cut the number of representatives and senators and get rid of their special retirement benefits.
He also wants political life to reflect French society in terms of females, people of foreign origin, etc.
There are many proposals and ideas in his program. I can't imagine it being described completely in foreign media.
Yes, normally I follow French media more closely, but I've been very busy recently. I'm sure there is far more info in Québec than in most places outside Europe, but it has been a bit sketchy.
The following mightilly pissed off some people here, but Macron did have the grace and sense that his comment did not come off as positive on this side of the pond:
Petit couac diplomatique lors de cette rencontre: le ministre français de l’Économie Emmanuel Macron, voulant vanter l’avantage que représente l’utilisation de la langue française, a dit que les Québécois sont « des Anglo-saxons » parlant français. La chose a été relevée par Jean-François Bélanger, correspondant de Radio Canada à Paris. Sans doute M. Macron était-il préoccupé par la séance de questions qui l’attendait peu après au Palais-Bourbon à l’heure où le Palais du Luxembourg allait se pencher sur sa loi supposée relancer l’économie et l’emploi en France. Toujours est-il qu’il est retourné prendre le micro pour faire une mise au point, en tutoyant Philippe Couillard, comme on a pu le voir sur RDI, la chaîne publique d’informations en français, et a qualifié les Québécois de Nord-américains parlant le français.
Naturally a politician should never say such a thing in an international context, but if truth be told, that is exactly how the French view Québec -- as French speaking "Anglo-saxons." Every element that we are shown of Québec culture corroborates this, not that there is anything wrong with it. Yesterday I saw the Québec movie 1:54 -- mostly subtitled since those of us in France can't understand most of what is said in Québecois, but not so much because of the different pronunciations of French words but because of the pollution of English expressions everywhere in the dialogue (obviously, I do not have a problem with this myself). I find this all the more strange because of the extreme restrictions of the use of English in any official text and the fact that everything must be translated into French in Québec, which is not the case in France. I don't know if you saw 1:54, Lagatta, but I saw an "American" high school, "American preoccupations," and a completely "American" way of life depicted. How could any French person see Québec as anything other than "Anglo-saxon" when its own cultural products contradict the so-called "French" culture?
I was much happier back when I was reading novels by such people as Réjean Ducharme which really made Québec seem like a lively local less polluted culture. I loved L'Hiver de Force.
Yes, In Europe, we have been forced to be used to being seen as "European" by North Americans rather than French, Portuguese, Austrian or whatever. We have learned to shrug it off, because ignorance is universal.
I do understand the combat of Canadians to be perceived as a distinct culture, but frankly the battle has been lost already. I myself can usually distinguish a Canadian accent from an American one, but very few people notice any difference. Most Americans considered the journalist Peter Jennings, for example, to be one of their own, while I clearly heard his Canadian accent.
Because of the extreme difference in accents, the Québecois are rarely mistaken for French, but there are quite a few Québecois actors who have conducted successful careers in France masquerading as French or at least speaking in "standard" French accents -- Marc-André Grondin, Anne Dorval, Marie-Josée Croze, Olivier Dion, Suzanne Clément, etc. And naturally the numerous singing stars or comedians also speak standard French here -- Céline Dion, Garou, Stéphane Rousseau, Anthony Kavanagh...
So when we see the Québecois at home acting the way they normally do, it looks... American. It is not an insult, just a categorization of cultures. No matter how much you want to appear otherwise, the vast dominant culture of the continent has enveloped you more than you are able to imagine.
Please explain the contemptuous macho sadist bit, because I am at a loss. I was referring to Québec as a whole, not to you personally at all. I am well aware the you defend Québec culture at every possibile opportunity. But from a European point of view, Québec looks more like "America" every day. We can have a debate about that if you like.
'but if truth be told, that is exactly how the French view Québec ' Not in Belgium.
'Even in Ontario, people would be very annoyed to be seen as "American".' Yes, I once called a French by somebody in Quebec. I said, no I'm Belgian. She countered by saying it is the same, and I said yes, in the same respect as you are American. She apologized.
I have no problem being called European, that is what we are and we have a lot in common with Italians, Portugese, Spanish (latin origins I guess) and also a lot with Germans and others inc Polish - as far as I'm concerned.
However I have little in common with Americans. And clearly Canadians are much closer to Europe than US. Maybe Ker has spent too much time in US and cannot see obvious differences or similarities.
Now truth be told, I feel a lot in common with Indians : they have the same red blood as mine.
I removed the potty language. I was very, very angry, but don't usually write like that.
By Indians, do you mean people from India, or Indigenous peoples of the Americas? Well, we all have red blood (unless we are very ill) whatever our skin colour.
It is true that Belgians tend to "get" our situation more. There are a lot of things I utterly hate here, in particular the growth of suburbia, but that is not only a North American phenomenon.
The anglo-saxon thing (among the French from France) annoys and amuses many people. Of course the English haven't been anglo-saxons since the Norman invasions, and Britain also includes Celtic nations and peoples (including the Cornish and Manx who don't have the status that Scotland, Wales and the northern part of Ireland do). And I suspect the most "white-proud" Bannon supporters are more likely to have some African and some Indigenous American DNA than they'd ever admit.
And no, neither Québécois nor residents of the English-speaking provinces hate (US) Americans. There is always a resentment of larger and more powerful neighbours, and Trumpism obviously boosts this, but it is a long way from how the Poles feel about their western and eastern neighbours, and there again, the ill feelings refer to deep historical harm, not to current Germans or Russians.
Of course we loved Bernie, and not only people on the left did. He was our friendly neighbour...
As an outsider who - 1) has travelled around Canada but not much in the French influenced areas, and, 2) has travelled and lived for several months in the USA, and, 3) could be classed as an experienced traveller (also tourist)
I - 1) cannot tell the difference between a standard US or Canadian accent, 2) cannot tell the difference by the way they dress (unless I see the Canadian flag sewn on the backpack), 3) couldn't see much of a difference in general foodstuffs as I travelled, ate and shopped, 4) could only tell the difference when entering into conversation and revealing attitudes to certain things.
However, substitute France/Belgium/Luxembourg, Australia/New Zealand, Austria/Switzerland, Mauritania/Mali, Ethiopia/Somalia, Zambia/Zimbabwe, Slovenia/Croatia and tons of others if I thought about it, and the same would apply.
One indicator to me as to how different neighbouring countries are is simply to cross the border between the two. Instances are Syria/Jordan/Egypt, France/Spain, Switzerland/Italy, Albania/Greece, D.R. Congo/Uganda, Zimbabwe/South Africa, Turkey/Iran and others. I'm afraid crossing between the USA and Canada left me wondering when things would change - though in fairness I appreciate both countries are rather large and changes do occur the further you get in.