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  #81  
Old 10.12.2015, 10:49
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Re: French far right looking to lead the election

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Does the guy with the best grade ever struggle to find a job, even if he's a complete a**hole?

Methinks we're not hearing the whole story.
Quite probably (not the whole story). I mean none of us would mention the bad stuff.

Nonetheless once in the UK he made quite a career. The person is the same, circumstances (society) changed, outcome changed. Not that it's proof as it's just a single case, but it does point to a few things.
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  #82  
Old 10.12.2015, 10:55
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Re: French far right looking to lead the election

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I agree.

I went to a French lycée for three years and several of my former classmates went the école preparatiore path and one or two of them went on to the grandes écoles. I have lost contact with them since so don't know where they are now.

From what I'm told it's very much a dog eats dog world up there. There is a brutal knockout system and everybody knows only a certain number can succeed - as in passing the end of year exam, and if you don't, you're out. Period. So nobody really seeks to help anybody else but everybody is trying to come out among those chosen few. This goes as far as pupils sabotaging one another's learning by stealing books, calculators and things.

So far from saying that in France you go to the top because you've got a rich daddy, I think there that you get to to the top because you have more pointed elbows than the next man. And in these schools, fencing is not a thing you do after hours in the fraternity, but its part of your education. You are literally required to attack your fellow pupils while your teachers look on and take notes. The French must think we Brits are right wimps. This is in my view the ultimate consequence of republican thinking. The people at the top need to deserve to be at the top and the playing field is open.

That's not to say having the right friends and family doesn't help to saome extent, but it can also harm you. Because in those circles everybody knows somebody who knows somebody else, there's not much you can hide when looking for a job afterwards. So if the teachers looked the other way because you had a rich daddy, the others are going to know that and you'll get that pretty diploma but not that nice job (unless daddy can fix that too). I'm not sure if the supposed racism that hit Thiam wasn't maybe that in reality?

In Britain, on the other hand, the old class system is still very much stronger and being able to play soggy biscuit gets you further than being able to outsmart your opponents at school.
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  #83  
Old 10.12.2015, 11:10
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Re: French far right looking to lead the election

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But does this "elitism" have to do with racism, with money or with the feeling of belonging to some prestigious club (justified or not)?
I know state universities from back home where is the same type of atmosphere, although everyone can make it provided they pass the entrance exams and had obtained their matura with top grades.
All 3- those top Private 'Universities' (Grandes Ecoles) have their own very specific entrance exams- the sort which are almost impossible to pass if you did not attend 1 or several years at special 'preparation' schools (which are hugely expensive)- that prepare you for those very specific exams.

Truly, if you have not studied that system or experienced it, either yourself, or via close friends or family- you can't possible imagine how 'closed' those 'Universities' are, and later the 'top jobs' doors too. Believe me or not.

In the UK, anyone who works hard can access top universities and qualifications, and will have no problem finding top jobs afterwards. I could write pages about people I know from a North African background- totally integrated, without any outward signs of their religion, with great qualifications- who just cannot get work experience, and just cannot get access to good, let alone great jobs- or as said before, a flat in a decent area, or a bank loan for a start up, etc, etc, - simply because the name on the application form. Which just doesn't happen to any significant extent in the UK- where their name, colour or religions just was not a problem- if their qualifications, etc, were at the right level.

I wonder how much contact those of you who lived in France and say this is not the case, have had with schools and people in ZEPS and ZUPS?

A friend of mine, born in France of Morrocan parents had no choice but to do telesales after her Degree. She had a perfect French accent- but was told to change her name to Claire Martin, as she would never sell anything with her right name. Could that happen in the UK- I'd say no- and she would get serious Union back-up if it did. I could roll off so many examples.
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  #84  
Old 10.12.2015, 11:24
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Re: French far right looking to lead the election

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A friend of mine, born in France of Morrocan parents had no choice but to do telesales after her Degree. She had a perfect French accent- but was told to change her name to Claire Martin, as she would never sell anything with her right name. Could that happen in the UK- I'd say no- and she would get serious Union back-up if it did. I could roll off so many examples.
You mean all those guys in the Indian call centres who introduce themselves using some very British sounding name, are actually using their real names?
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  #85  
Old 10.12.2015, 11:28
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Re: French far right looking to lead the election

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All 3- those top Private 'Universities' (Grandes Ecoles) have their own very specific entrance exams- the sort which are almost impossible to pass if you did not attend 1 or several years at special 'preparation' schools (which are hugely expensive)- that prepare you for those very specific exams.
What is hugely expensive?

When I applied for the Lycée Kleber they never mentioned tuition fees (or if they did, it wasn't a sum that would have put anybody off). I would have had to pay for accomodation of course.

I didn't drop that idea for the costs but because I decided I didn't want to go the French path and didn't like the schoolish nature of it all.
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Old 10.12.2015, 11:35
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Re: French far right looking to lead the election

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In the UK, anyone who works hard can access top universities and qualifications, and will have no problem finding top jobs afterwards.

This is simply not true.
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  #87  
Old 10.12.2015, 11:54
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Re: French far right looking to lead the election

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A friend of mine, born in France of Morrocan parents had no choice but to do telesales after her Degree. She had a perfect French accent- but was told to change her name to Claire Martin, as she would never sell anything with her right name. Could that happen in the UK- I'd say no- and she would get serious Union back-up if it did. I could roll off so many examples.
Not happen in the UK? Could happen in the USA as well, hell they tell women that if they have straight hair vs curls (on white women even) they are more likely to be hired. How is that for stupid.

She will already have serious issues being a woman and then an uncommon name? Just more to add to the "different isn't good" list.

The minorities I know in the UK would just have sucked it up and moved on, it happened all the time to them. So I don't know about these unions. Maybe they are new? Can you fight each time? How do you even prove it?
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Old 10.12.2015, 11:59
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Re: French far right looking to lead the election

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What is hugely expensive?

When I applied for the Lycée Kleber they never mentioned tuition fees (or if they did, it wasn't a sum that would have put anybody off). I would have had to pay for accomodation of course.

Before the "ecole preparatoire", which is just the last 2 years, there are other schools, which perform supposedly very badly in impoverished French neighborhoods, while in the better off places and private one function way better. It is like in India actually - better off parents send their kids to private elementary and high schools to help them get into elite state universities.
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  #89  
Old 10.12.2015, 12:08
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Re: French far right looking to lead the election

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All 3- those top Private 'Universities' (Grandes Ecoles) have their own very specific entrance exams- the sort which are almost impossible to pass if you did not attend 1 or several years at special 'preparation' schools (which are hugely expensive)- that prepare you for those very specific exams.

Truly, if you have not studied that system or experienced it, either yourself, or via close friends or family- you can't possible imagine how 'closed' those 'Universities' are, and later the 'top jobs' doors too. Believe me or not.

In the UK, anyone who works hard can access top universities and qualifications, and will have no problem finding top jobs afterwards. I could write pages about people I know from a North African background- totally integrated, without any outward signs of their religion, with great qualifications- who just cannot get work experience, and just cannot get access to good, let alone great jobs- or as said before, a flat in a decent area, or a bank loan for a start up, etc, etc, - simply because the name on the application form. Which just doesn't happen to any significant extent in the UK- where their name, colour or religions just was not a problem- if their qualifications, etc, were at the right level.

I wonder how much contact those of you who lived in France and say this is not the case, have had with schools and people in ZEPS and ZUPS?
I have and I know several people personally who are of North African descent who would also disagree with you.

As for the UK I think you are being extremely naive if you think it doesn't happen there too.
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Old 10.12.2015, 12:09
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Re: French far right looking to lead the election

Well, who works hard and who is bright... ok. The Old School Network is till quite strong in places like the City- but apart from that.

Fact is, although there are 100s of private schools in the UK, from the sublime to the ridiculous, and also so called 'public schools' which are of course the least 'public' of all- there are NO private Universities, and the selection process generally is geared towards finding the brightest students, irrespective of race, religion or social class. Oxford and Cambridge are have actually been trying positive discrimination to attract more students from more moedest backgrounds and ethnic minorities- without great success as students do not feel comfortable in those surroundings. Those universities that have an entrance exams have exams that will give the brightest the opportunity to shine out- not the sort of exams for Grandes Ecoles- which are based on the teaching received on the expensive pre schools (a couple of years beyond the baccalauréate) - which do not allow external students to shine.

Had a lodger from Morrocco for 2 years in the UK, family emigrated to FRance when she was a toodler. She had come over after spending over 1 year searching for a job after getting her Degree in IT in France. Totally integrated, no accent, good French education. The Leonardo Vinci programme sent her to do intensive English followed by 3 months work experience. For the first time, she was trusted, listened to, part of a team where nobody seem to notice she was a female of Arab descent - just a bright colleague. She was offered a job at the end of her work experience and stayed. After lodging with us, she bought a house, and 2 years later had climbed the ranks at work. She had to go back to France to look after her mother and she made a very tidy profit on the house + her savings.

Could she find a flat in Paris? She had all that cash and yet, and estate agents were falling over to get her the best places on the phone (Management post, cash in hand, etc) but as soon as she turned up for the visits woudl be told 'oh we are so sorry Mrs XYZ (Morrocan name) we made a mistake and my colleague has already rented it out and didn't inform me (and yes, it was advertised again the next week)....Second week-end, her and her sister and 4 other friends went to to a disco/club- bouncers at the door rejected both her and her sister- let the others in- they were dressed the same, same age, etc. Again in the UK, this would have a/not been likely to happen- and if it did, a complaint would have been followed up and sanctions imposed. In FRance, not even worth trying to object. And so on... As said, unless you have experienced this at close hand - you just can't imagine.

A great song describes this daily alienation well- by ZEBDA a group from Toulouse of North AFrican origin (born and bred in France of course) - Ah Non, ça va pas être possible... ah non. The reply given when looking for a job, even menial and with a degree in your pocket, a flat, a loan, a rental car- etc. AGain, believe me or not.
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  #91  
Old 10.12.2015, 12:18
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Re: French far right looking to lead the election

BM, of course it happens in the UK too- but not to the same extent, it is not endemic. Teachers from North AFrica in France find it very difficult to get the CAPES, never mind the AGREG. I haven't got the figures- but I'd wager the % of teachers with the AGREG from Magrebin background is very small. Same for senior management all over France. Anybody who denies that is very naïve indeed.

I remember watching 'Questions pour un Champion' - a famous TV quizz on FRench telly. This series was like University Challenge- but 'Grandes Ecoles against Grandes Ecoles' and day after day, I kept thinking- something is bizarre here. Now of course it looked strange as many of those 'Grandes Ecoles' wear very fancy uniforms, with golden épaulettes, etc- but that was not it. Then I realised- in the whole series of the games, there was not a single brown face, let alone a black one, or one from any other ethnic group.
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Old 10.12.2015, 12:20
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Re: French far right looking to lead the election

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Before the "ecole preparatoire", which is just the last 2 years, there are other schools, which perform supposedly very badly in impoverished French neighborhoods, while in the better off places and private one function way better. It is like in India actually - better off parents send their kids to private elementary and high schools to help them get into elite state universities.
Exactly. But this is not racism. It's a structural problem that poor and disadvantaged areas have poor schools. I think you'll find much the same in the UK or in the US. In fact in the UK its actually white kids from poor areas are among the most disadvantaged of all.

This may come from a mixture of different effects. Poor communities cannot generate the tax revenue to create good schools. Good teachers, who have the choice, prefer to teach in good schools where they can concentrate on their subject rather than struggle to maintain discipline. Bad schools get the teachers who are left over after the good schools have creamed off the good ones. Children from homes where there isn't a culture of academia and learning are more likely to underperform at school. Children whose parents don't encourage them to do their homework are more likely to underperform. The few pupils who try nevertheless will be held back by a largely underperforming and unruly classroom. None of these reasons has much to do with race but with the structure of society and attitudes as a whole.
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Old 10.12.2015, 12:25
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Re: French far right looking to lead the election

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BM, of course it happens in the UK too- but not to the same extent, it is not endemic. Teachers from North AFrica in France find it very difficult to get the CAPES, never mind the AGREG. I haven't got the figures- but I'd wager the % of teachers with the AGREG from Magrebin background is very small. Same for senior management all over France. Anybody who denies that is very naïve indeed.
When I was in a French school we had several teachers from Senegal, and very good teachers they were too. One of them was head master even. He had graduated at the Sorbonne on 19th Century French literature and been awarded the highest honours.

The problem is thus not racism as such but possibly a problem within the Maghrebian community itself, or at least within parts of it.
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  #94  
Old 10.12.2015, 23:16
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Re: French far right looking to lead the election

I am amazed at the breadth of support FN has. A friend in Paris was just telling me how the prospects of Marine Le Pen is actually positive, and he's a gay Moroccan Muslim. So that right-wing Nazi stigma been shed? It looks like there is a good chance FN will actually win something here.
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Old 11.12.2015, 10:17
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Re: French far right looking to lead the election

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Could she find a flat in Paris? She had all that cash and yet, and estate agents were falling over to get her the best places on the phone (Management post, cash in hand, etc) but as soon as she turned up for the visits woudl be told 'oh we are so sorry Mrs XYZ (Morrocan name) we made a mistake and my colleague has already rented it out and didn't inform me (and yes, it was advertised again the next week)....Second week-end, her and her sister and 4 other friends went to to a disco/club- bouncers at the door rejected both her and her sister- let the others in- they were dressed the same, same age, etc. Again in the UK, this would have a/not been likely to happen- and if it did, a complaint would have been followed up and sanctions imposed. In FRance, not even worth trying to object. And so on... As said, unless you have experienced this at close hand - you just can't imagine.
I'm pretty sure this is just business as usual in French real-estate. 'Work' is a four-letter word for them (actually it's much longer, but n'importe d'quoi).
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Old 11.12.2015, 11:10
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Re: French far right looking to lead the election

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None of these reasons has much to do with race but with the structure of society and attitudes as a whole.
Can't you see that it is all linked though? Who sets priorities? Again, the situation in the UK is totally different re integration, help and support in education. And also the attitude of staff. In France, staff are allocated to areas and schools, and have practically no choice in the matter. In the UK, staff choose where they want to teach, and a great majority of those who choose to teach in 'difficult' areas do so with enthusiasm and the desire to help.

The political structure and how it is linked to attitudes to children from different ethnic groups is totally different too. I've witnesses dreadful reactions to Muslim children in France from two distinct groups of teachers. As we expect, the right and extreme right- perhaps similar to the UK, but the huge surprise for me (over the 30+ years of doing French exchanges with schools in a variety of towns and areas in France) - was the reaction of the 'left' - where their absolute attachment to 'Laïcité' (secularity) and the rights of women (feminism) lead many to a visceral hatred of Islam I never ever encountered in the UK. If the hardest working girl in a school, the most pleasant, polite, intelligent, etc, girl, come to school wearing a brightly coloured simple scarf- she gets walked out of school and gets excluded.

I've told the story before, but here goes. When we welcomed our French exchange group to my school (early 90s- but it would be the same now, I'm sure) - one of the girls was missing. We were told she had not come because of a bereavement in the family. The girl who was supposed to host her, one of our best students, whose parents were both doctors, joined us on all the activities of course. And the teachers told us the French family would actually not be able to host her- family problems, etc. So we asked them to find another family for her- and they squirmed and said that would be very difficult, blablabla. We insisted. After the exchange, i phoned the French teachers in charge every week to ask if they had found a family for our student. Excuse, after excuse- and then the penny dropped!

I phoned the 6th Former who had stayed with us (as I had girls the same age) and asked her what she thought- she had got on really well with out student, albeit quite a bit younger. 5 mins later her mum phoned and said she can come and stay with us (with me too) no problem- looking forward to it. So I phoned the teacher in charge and told here the good news. She went ballistic- and said no way was out student coming onto the school wearing her scarf - over he dead body. I phone the Head of the school- also a Senegalese (yes, very very rich boys from very rich families manage to study in France and do well- a tiny number, and from very specific background)- and said, I am totally with you here, but my hands are tied. I shall have a riot on my hands if I support you in this matter.

We talked as sensitively as we could to the parents of the girl about the principle of laicity in France, etc, etc- and they said fine, she does not have to wear a scarf in France- she will make the choice. So she came, and didn't wear her scarf. Had she and her family decided that she should not compromise- we would have taken her with us- and I have no idea what would have happened.

I truly resent the comments about the examples given earlier being about 'lazyness'. The 3 youngsters I mentioned from that family of Morrocan origin all did well at school, and all got good qualifications, despite it all. But they still found it impossible to find decent work- and even when returning with management experience and pockets full of money- could not find a nice flat in a non 'ghetto' area of Paris- due to- what else do you want to call it- discrimination, racism, whatever.

France expects immigrants to assimilate, the UK expects immigrants to integrate (and yet keep strong links with their culture, etc) - and yes, it does seem that the UK's tolerance has led to some not doing either in some areas.
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Old 11.12.2015, 11:11
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Re: French far right looking to lead the election

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None of these reasons has much to do with race but with the structure of society and attitudes as a whole.
Can't you see that it is all linked though? Who sets priorities? Again, the situation in the UK is totally different re integration, help and support in education. And also the attitude of staff. In France, staff are allocated to areas and schools, and have practically no choice in the matter. In the UK, staff choose where they want to teach, and a great majority of those who choose to teach in 'difficult' areas do so with enthusiasm and the desire to help.

The political structure and how it is linked to attitudes to children from different ethnic groups is totally different too. I've witnesses dreadful reactions to Muslim children in France from two distinct groups of teachers. As we expect, the right and extreme right- perhaps similar to the UK, but the huge surprise for me (over the 30+ years of doing French exchanges with schools in a variety of towns and areas in France) - was the reaction of the 'left' - where their absolute attachment to 'Laïcité' (secularity) and the rights of women (feminism) lead many to a visceral hatred of Islam I never ever encountered in the UK. If the hardest working girl in a school, the most pleasant, polite, intelligent, etc, girl, come to school wearing a brightly coloured simple scarf- she gets walked out of school and gets excluded.

I've told the story before, but here goes. When we welcomed our French exchange group to my school (early 90s- but it would be the same now, I'm sure) - one of the girls was missing. We were told she had not come because of a bereavement in the family. The girl who was supposed to host her, one of our best students, whose parents were both doctors, joined us on all the activities of course. And the teachers told us the French family would actually not be able to host her- family problems, etc. So we asked them to find another family for her- and they squirmed and said that would be very difficult, blablabla. We insisted. After the exchange, i phoned the French teachers in charge every week to ask if they had found a family for our student. Excuse, after excuse- and then the penny dropped!

I phoned the 6th Former who had stayed with us (as I had girls the same age) and asked her what she thought- she had got on really well with out student, albeit quite a bit younger. 5 mins later her mum phoned and said she can come and stay with us (with me too) no problem- looking forward to it. So I phoned the teacher in charge and told here the good news. She went ballistic- and said no way was out student coming onto the school wearing her scarf - over he dead body. I phone the Head of the school- also a Senegalese (yes, very very rich boys from very rich families manage to study in France and do well- a tiny number, and from very specific background)- and said, I am totally with you here, but my hands are tied. I shall have a riot on my hands if I support you in this matter.

We talked as sensitively as we could to the parents of the girl about the principle of laicity in France, etc, etc- and they said fine, she does not have to wear a scarf in France- she will make the choice. She wanted to do A'Level French as well as sciences to do medicine like her parents. So she came, and didn't wear her scarf. Had she and her family decided that she should not compromise- we would have taken her with us- and I have no idea what would have happened.

I truly resent the comments about the examples given earlier being about 'lazyness'. The 3 youngsters I mentioned from that family of Morrocan origin all did well at school, and all got good qualifications, despite it all. But they still found it impossible to find decent work- and even when returning with management experience and pockets full of money- could not find a nice flat in a non 'ghetto' area of Paris- due to- what else do you want to call it- discrimination, racism, whatever.

France expects immigrants to assimilate, the UK expects immigrants to integrate (and yet keep strong links with their culture, etc) - and yes, it does seem that the UK's tolerance has led to some not doing either in some areas.
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Old 11.12.2015, 11:18
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Re: French far right looking to lead the election

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I am amazed at the breadth of support FN has. A friend in Paris was just telling me how the prospects of Marine Le Pen is actually positive, and he's a gay Moroccan Muslim. So that right-wing Nazi stigma been shed? It looks like there is a good chance FN will actually win something here.
France is a bit like the US in that presidential elections are not decided so much by popular sways as by electoral arithemetic.

You can thus have a lot of fun with what-if scenarios. Many of these revolve around the situation, what if rather than the second round of the presidentials being Le Pen vs Sarkozy, it turns into Le Pen vs a left wing candidate. We can credibly assume there are sufficient centre right voters who don't want a left wing president and would thus either abstain or actually vote for Le Pen. This is the scenario that is being touted a lot in France right now and the arithemtic says it could work (I'm not sure how much of it is wishful thinking on the part of the pundits and how much is realistic). There is even talk of blocks of FN voters tactically voting for the left in the first round to make that happen. And then there is also talk of blocks of left wing voters voting centrer right to offset that. So its turning into a pretty standoffish situation now, with everybody waiting to see whose is pulling the biggest bluff.
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Old 11.12.2015, 11:33
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Re: French far right looking to lead the election

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We talked as sensitively as we could to the parents of the girl about the principle of laicity in France, etc, etc- and they said fine, she does not have to wear a scarf in France- she will make the choice. She wanted to do A'Level French as well as sciences to do medicine like her parents. So she came, and didn't wear her scarf. Had she and her family decided that she should not compromise- we would have taken her with us- and I have no idea what would have happened.
Odile, I appreciate what you are saying,

The whole laicity thing in France is actually something the left wing pushed forwards. So I don't think its right to seek to find racism in it. It's just that in France the left wing doesn't like religion as a whole.

In France, laicity laws ban pupils from wearing obviously religious symbols. What you may think was a coloured piece of silk is to others an actually religious symbol, and I think you have to admit that they are in part right.

But the same law would hit a Sikh just as hard. And this is the difference to the UK where there is more of an under the table singling out of Muslims and I think Sikhs don't meet the same level of discrimination because they are perceived as being the good guys who were always on our side.
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Old 11.12.2015, 11:42
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Re: French far right looking to lead the election

yep- but it does illustrate the reactions and attitudes are very different in France and the UK. Different colonialism and immigrants, and different history leading to different attitudes. The Church (CofE mainly) still plays a huge part in UK culture and politics (see House of Lords)- and as many British want to keep their religious schools, they felt they had to agree to other religious groups to have their own schools (a disaster imho- I'd get rid of ALL religious schools).

And yet in France- where Laïcity triumphs and all outward religious signs are banned (although Jews are allowed to wear the kippa!?!) - a large % of French people by-pass this by sending their kids to .... private Catholic schools .... (whereas no other religious group is allowed to have separate schools- apart, I am not sure, Jews). Hypocrisy or what?!?
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