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jonno

French road blockades

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As I'm not able to change the booking or the port, I am going to go to Le Havre, the day before on Monday, to avoid any action if I can, that I be on time and eat out in the town.

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Why can't you change the booking? BF are normally pretty understanding when there are exceptional circumstances.

I came through Morlaix last night, there were about 30 "Gilets" filtering but not holding up the traffic.

The only one advantage of all this is every speed camera between Ouistreham and Roscoff has been taped up by the protesters!

Chris

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2 hours ago, Fine Whine said:

Why can't you change the booking? BF are normally pretty understanding when there are exceptional circumstances.

Chris

It's a job that's been given to me.

Le Havre, is on a bus route from the village I live in which only go's at 7 & 8 am the bus for Honfleur, is 6:30 which would give less to walk but I'd be late, so it's much better to go the day before just in case, as we don't know how long the blockades will go on for.

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3 hours ago, Fine Whine said:

The only one advantage of all this is every speed camera between Ouistreham and Roscoff has been taped up by the protesters!

Yes, but watch out. There was an unmarked car three hundred yards beyond one of our local cameras the other day catching all those drivers happy to flout the new speed limit. Most of the fixed cameras do however seem to have been sabotaged in one way or another - but not I suspect the average speed ones between St Malo and Rennes. Ed. 

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16 minutes ago, Cabin-boy said:

 but not I suspect the average speed ones between St Malo and Rennes. Ed. 

Yikes I didnt know there were any on that route..Any idea where exactly they are please?

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Understood Ed but don't take it from my last post I intentionally exceed the speed limit (9_9). With all the best intentions in the world unless I limit my speed at the steering wheel it's very easy not to notice the radar sign at 01h00 in the morning.

Out of interest I'm still contesting an amende on the section of the A84 heading west just past the Saint-Lô junction; sortie 40. Limited to the usual 130km/h since it was built, I went sailing past it at 127km/h on the 10th April only to be rudely awoken by the dreaded camera flash. Closer inspection on the internet:( the next morning revealed it had been reduced to 110km/h from the first of April without informing anyone - April fool or what?!

Chris

 

 

Edited by Fine Whine
Can't spell !

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5 minutes ago, Paully said:

Yikes I didnt know there were any on that route..Any idea where exactly they are please?

Southbound only near the village of La Meziere. They are about 5 kms apart (maybe less). Near the large garden centre. Ed. 

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17 minutes ago, Fine Whine said:

Closer inspection on the internet:( the next morning revealed it had been reduced to 110km/h from the first of April without informing anyone

And there were no signs to inform you of the change? Ed. 

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Nothing along the lines of "Attention, limite de vitesse modifiée". As you steam past junction 40 going uphill there is still the usual motorway signage saying 130km/h, 110 km/h when it's raining, then the round signs now showing 110km/h. But at 22h49 at night when I was officially clocked you can't expect to be on the lookout just in case, and there were plenty of HGV's around probably hiding the passenger side one. Whatever happens I'm not paying it, I pay enough tax/RSI as it is....>:(

And for those of you who don't understand what RSI means (Régime Securité Sociale des Indépendents) I am self-employed in France and the régime takes around 30% of my salary as social charges, nothing to do with income tax and on the whole of my salary.

Rant over

Chris 

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6 minutes ago, Fine Whine said:

 then the round signs now showing 110km/h

Yes, I noticed them last month. I think they've changed the speed on the other side too. 

 

7 minutes ago, Fine Whine said:

régime takes around 30% of my salary

Yes, but just think of the benefits. Ummm! Ed 

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Seems to be all kicking off in Belgium, although sadly some of those in Brussels appear to be `bandwagon jumpers`..But once again there is the common theme of complaints of high taxes and living costs..Politicians love the high taxes, it gives them more to squander!!

https://www.itv.com/news/2018-11-30/belgian-police-and-yellow-jacket-protesters-clash-in-brussels/

 

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4 minutes ago, Fine Whine said:

Yes Ed but on the other side heading to Caen it kicks in after the @#*%$!! speed camera!

 

Ahh. Well, look on the bright side. At least you know for next time, eh! Ed. 

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I downloaded Snapchat months ago and have never used it but it seems to be a great unreliable but reliable way to find out where the protests currently are, just as a matter of interest what are fuel prices like ? I notice here that there’s a 12p or more difference between petrol and diesel now, and any sign of a resolution to the protest?

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Diesel is around 1.40€ per litre, unleaded 98 nearer 1.50€, if you can get any that is. Local fuel depots have been blocaded since Tuesday and most pumps have run dry in and around Roscoff. It's all kicking off on the Champs Elysées this morning with riot police firing tear gas, watching live images this morning it's looking more like a war zone so no Neil, there is no sign at all of a resolution especially with M. Macron away on G20 duty.

Chris

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I'm heading home now but have been watching live images from the capital all day. It's been pure anarchy, with dozens of burnt out vehicles, shops and banks ransacked, over 200 people arrested, police injured, buildings set alight. I still fail to comprehend how a country that can appear so calm and peaceful during the summer holidays can turn so aggressively violent seemingly at the drop of a hat.....:(

Chris

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Yes, it's really disconcerting. I thought the split within the UK over Brexit was bad enough bit this is several magnitudes in excess. Law and order seems to have broken down in what I had always considered to be a civilised country.

Definitely think twice about visiting France in future - I don't want my car torched!

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I think, in fairness, there are few ordinary Citizens involved in this particular piece of Parisien anarchy..Whenever a punch up is in the offing the thugs of both the left and right unite to indulge, in this sort of orgy, before returning to their otherwise indolent lives. Macron I think will be shocked at the level of opposition to him around the country. If he doesnt address the immediate causes and quickly, he could find the situation running away from him.

   He has no previous political experience, never before elected to public office and making a tawse of it..Mind you he`s not alone in that is he?

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The violence we are seeing in France is equivalent to something similar in London's Oxford Street which I think most Brits would consider to be unthinkable - for now anyway.

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10 hours ago, cvabishop said:

The violence we are seeing in France is equivalent to something similar in London's Oxford Street which I think most Brits would consider to be unthinkable - for now anyway.

Unthinkable for many perhaps, but not unheard-of. Think back to the riots which began in Tottenham (albeit for very different reasons) in 2011.

Unfortunately this type of mob violence has become the norm in France and can happen on the fringes of any protest movement (new airport plans, teaching reforms) or popular event (World Cup defeat or victory).

The unions are always very swift in condemning such events and distancing themselves from the 'casseurs' (thugs, rioters, looters - whatever you wish to call them) but in this situation there is no leadership willing to be identified for fear of reprisals (on their family - there have been reports of anonymous threats) or prosecution (for organising illegal meetings). Several spokespeople for the 'Yellow Jackets' have appeared but in most cases are either regional or simply after their 15 minutes of fame. 

The press has reported growing public support for the movement (not the violence) over the past fortnight with figures of 75% and upwards. However, if you drive around, or walk through, a town centre I'd say less than 20% of cars have a hi-vis jacket prominently displayed on the dashboard. The problem is that people are surveyed (with leading questions) and respond positively because they all, at the back of their minds, are hoping for their taxes to go down in the long term as a result of the protests. 

Having spoken to pehaps 20 of my students since the protests began to gauge their opinions (from a range of social levels and in widely differing positions of responsibility) I'd put the support for the protests at no more than 50% as the other half are pragmatic and know that any change will be short-lived to satisfy the protesters and calm the situation.

Those who do support the movement range from doctors (who like the aims but dare not turn up at the protests for fear of ridicule once their profession - and salary levels - are revealed) to those who are manning the barricades at supermarkets and roundabouts. The classic justification given by the latter group is they they often can't make ends meet at the end of the month.

Having known many of them for years, and aware of their personal, professional and social circumstances, I challenged two in particular to explain why that should be the case.

The first (very militant and believing everything to be an establishment conspiracy) refused to accept that abandoning his smoking habit (30€-40€ a week) and annual acquisition of tattoos could help to boost his finances. He said that they were his pleasure, right and not relevant to the overall situation.

The second (less militant but believing he pays too much tax) maintained that spending 900+€ on a new golden retriever for the family in September was prudent while struggling to pay other bills or feed his 4 children and pay maintenance to his ex-wife. (I suggested that a piglet might have been a better investment - than the dog, not ex-wife, obviously).

I personally think that those out at the protests are in far less precarious situations than they'd have us believe. Those who are in financial difficulty are still hard at work. The liklihood is that they simply have too many loans running concurrently (for TVs, fridges, sofas and holidays etc) because it's easy to sign up for them. Most have no financial training, budgeting experience or real grasp of what they will need to pay over the next 12 months and simply live from one paycheck to the next. 

None of them will publicly support the violence we have seen, but secretly (and I suspect Cabin-girl shares the view) believe that it may be the only way to bring about the change they feel is needed in France. I don't recall seeing so many French flags being waved at previous protests which suggests that, unless President Macron makes some concessions (and I personally hope he sticks to his guns as his reforms will over time lead to a better, more modern and progressive France), he's running the risk of being forced out of office.

There is also another factor which is likely to aggravate the situation. France switches to the PAYE system in January (and about time too, with only Switzerland and Singapore not using it among developed economies) and at the end of the month some people will find their take-home income goes down. The preparation and communication has been fairly shambolic and many people still don't seem to fully grasp the principle. Those who don't pay tax will not notice any real change but those in the lower-middle class, and prominent in the protest movement, will be the most affected. If the public fervour has not fizzled out by then it could well flare up once again. 

Ed. 

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A very interesting, acerbic and amusing view from ground level Ed..As always, the wallet is the keynote to everything these days. Certainly though some joined up thinking is going to be needed in the coming weeks within the Government. The French do not take to change easily. Hopefully by next summer they will have drunk some more wine (lots), eaten some more cheese(lots), the sun will be out and they will have got used to the PAYE system......

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Well put Ed, I quite agree with you - I think I might go out and buy myself a piglet in the morning!

i see that M Macron is heading back from Argentina for an emergency meeting this afternoon with his inner circle, it shows the gravity of the situation. I still fail to understand how a country can vote in a new President just 18 months ago with such hope, fervour and confidence, with a mandate to turn the country around, reform what should have been reformed years ago, and actually make the it great again. My French business partner said at the time the French economy is akin to a sports car with the handbrake still on, there was so much optimism and yet within just a few weeks the firebrand M Mélenchon was back beating his drum ( having been soundly beaten at the Presidential elections) and the country is back to the bad old ways. After months of silence even that ‘horrible woman’ (and I don’t say that often) Marine Le Pen is joining the bandwagon.

Personally I feel M Macron is made of pretty strong stuff, he’s shown it before and won’t be bullied into changing course. Where he has maybe naiively underestimated the public ( or perhaps it’s a deliberate plan) is it’s all very well saying I’m putting up fuel duty to stop people using fossil fuels,  when the options for most French to do so are limited as it’s generally not in their mindset or financial ability to change the car every 3 years. I can remember quite clearly on my return to France in January this year having to look twice at the forecourt price of diesel, around 1.07€ when I left before Christmas and 1.30€ When I got back. It’s now 1.40€ with another hike planned for next month. He may have to look again at this option...

Again you’re  correct about the PAYE scenario Ed, unless it’s better explained and quickly it could all kick off again, and can you imagine the deafening roar of defiance when the country is told retirement age might have to go up to 65?..

 

Chris

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I still fail to understand how a country can vote in a new President just 18 months ago with such hope, fervour and confidence, with a mandate to turn the country around, reform what should have been reformed years ago, and actually make the it great again.

Because, as with Trump in the US, Brexit here and, to a lesser extent the moves to restore PS Ryde, an awful lot of people have a propensity to believe what they are being told/promised even when it flies in the face of commonsense or the facts which they choose to disregard. I believe it is called democracy. 😕

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