France, a big Italy?

VieiraSummary

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Good morning,

Today I would like to quote that great French social philosopher, Patrick Vieira. In an interview with CNN ahead of this summer’s World Cup, Vieira talked openly about how France missed an opportunity after the 1998 World Cup win to bring the country together, politically, economically and socially.

“When we won the World Cup, we saw the change but the change was there just for a while and I think that is the problem with politics,” said Vieira.

Sixteen years after Les Bleus’ World Cup success, France is a mess.

“With what is going on in France, I feel the country is still divided because I think religion and people taking part (in politics) are trying to divide people,” Vieira said.

Vieira, brought up in one of the rough Paris suburbs which you don’t see when strolling around the Marais, points out, in a telling interview, that he feels the suburbs have gone backwards since he arrived as a boy from Senegal in the 1980s.

The deterioration of France is evident everywhere. Next time you fly into the crumbling Charles de Gaulle airport, hop on the RER into Place d’Opera. When I first did this as a wide-eyed student in the late 1980s, I was amazed at the infrastructure, the wealth and the cleanliness of everything. Today, the trains are old and rickety. The train is full of immigrants and poor immigrants to boot, but more telling are the encampments of shantytowns wedged on the embankment between the train tracks and the motorway.

Shantytowns?

This is France, for God’s sake.

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Global Macro-Daily Note 26th Aug 2014

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