Articles

Things must be bad

In Uncategorized on October 27, 2011 by grahamharrowell

The Masterchef semi-final tonight has been put back to allow TF1 to broadcast (simultaneously with FR2) a special programme featuring President Sarkozy on the outcome of the Euro negotiations. The satirical programme that usually follows the news on TF1 has been dropped, probably because it can be difficult to distinguish between the president and the comedian taking the rise out of him. The special could be an indication that things rather than getting better may be getting worse.
One indication of this was a hint from ex-PM Jean-Pierre Raffarin that there may be an increase in VAT to top up the nation’s coffers. This is controversial, not only because there are those who would suggest that VAT should instead be lowered to boost consumption (and possibly in increase in overall VAT take as a result) and with it recovery. The suggestion that there will be a new rate for some goods currently rated at 5.5% and that this will be nowhere near the top 19.6% rate is also a bit controversial. Sarkozy not long ago fulfilled the wishes of the French by successfully negotiating the OK to lower VAT on restaurant meals. This popular measure has been bewildering because somehow restaurateurs have managed to reduce the price of only some of the dishes on their menus. How does that work?
Confirmation that the Finance Ministry can muck about with VAT rates was given by the head of the Finance Council, a certain Louis Giscard-d’Estaing. Just as in the UK, it clearly helps in France to be “somebody’s” kid. I haven’t come across the chap before but he can’t be more odious that the Rees-Mogg children.
I was also a bit disappointed last night. I was watching the European leaders arriving in Brussels. Merkel, Sarkozy and Cameron all arrived in shiny limousines and stepped out to be greeted by the press. I was hoping Berlusconi would arrive in a little red and yellow car which, having stopped would have the doors fall off, steam come out of the bonnet and the headlamps pop out on stalks. I’m certain he could make his hair stick up and wear those long shoes they have in the circus. If he stays much longer the Italian national anthem will have to change to The Entry of the Gladiators.

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