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France Territorial ReformIn the French Assembly there was a proposal going on for quite some time. In a nutshell the idea was that the French electoral districts were out of touch with reality and in need of some readjustment. Alongside with the readjustment there was supposed to be a new bill updating the necessary skills that local authorities must have.

The Senate passed the proposal (implementing a referendum) which was duly and promptly rejected by the Assembly by a large margin. The whole sordid affair was reported by the newspaper Le Monde in its article "Territorial reform: the Assembly rejected the request for a referendum from the Senate".

The strange thing about this whole event is the dividing line.

  • For the district reshuffle we have the Left Front, the Radical Left and the UMP.
  • Against the district reshuffle we have the Socialists, the Environmentalists and the UDI.

In other words, the Left is for and against the district reshuffle at the same time!

Talking about dis-coordination…

At the same time, the Senate, the organization that is supposed to look at the long term political health of the country is for the reshuffle, while the Assembly, the short term political aparatchniks are against!

Now, considering that all parties are represented in the Assembly as well as in the Senate simultaneously, how is this even possible!!??

The point we are trying to make is that in France the political discontinuities are horizontal and vertical at the same time while they are mostly from some flavor of the left while representing the very same parties.

Yes, it is that funny!

But then again, they are French.

If we try to analyze this whole mess from the standard political perspective we won't be able to reach any logical conclusion. This is exactly what the French newspapers have been trying to do for the last few weeks without any success and less interest.

Why is this so?

Because the division lines are not drawn by political points of view but by self-interest.

The whole thing is quite simple.

Senators are for because it is their opportunity to reshuffle local politicians to better suit their needs. Why is this important? Because in France senators are not elected by the people but by other politicians. Consider this. If a Senator draws a political line in such a manner that it favors a local politician, this will ensure the politician's continuous employment. This politician will be taking on debt which will repay when it comes time to re-elect senators. Quid-pro-quo.

Members of the Assembly are against because the lines are being drawn by the Senators, which means that it is extremely likely that their power base (i.e. "their" voters) will be scattered. No voters mans no votes and no votes means no job.

It is for this reason that the division line crosses the French parliament horizontally and vertically and across all political parties. Because the key discriminating element is whether or not a politician will be more or less likely to keep their job post-reshuffle.

Why is this French example important?

Because it highlights in a very practical and obvious manner what we have been saying ever since we started: politicians are into it because it means job security; everything else is secondary… or tertiary… or… who cares? Right?

Consider this. Do you honestly believe that a democratic system will be shattered or shocked in any meaningful way just because of a few adjustments in political boundaries? Of course not!

That's precisely the point. It is not about Democracy, it is about job security.

And if you believe that you are safe from such idiocies, take a look at your politicians and how your political boundaries seem to get adjusted all the time backwards and forwards for no apparent reason.

There you have it; Democracy at work.

Enjoy! Or not. Your choice.

Note: please see the Glossary if you are unfamiliar with certain words.

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