French protests: look at who's making the noise
Paris has been exploding in rioutous uproar again. French students' proud history of protesting does not seem to have been diminished by political apathy across Europe. And they have every right to flex their democratic muscles.
But why are they really protesting? It is against a new labour law that prime minister Dominique de Villepin is trying to push through. It would give workers less rights, and make it possible to fire them with much greater ease. In the blink of an eye the Sorbonne was occupied. Memories of 1968 will come flooding back to minds of all those in Europe who are a bit left-leaning.
Like me. I would say I am a bit left-leaning. But I really can't find in within myself to condone these protests.
I want workers to have all the rights they possible can. Of course I do. But as it stands in France at the moment, employers simply won't employ people if they don't think they will be able to get rid of them easily. Yes. perhaps a bit more job insecurity. But youth unemployment in France currently stands at about 20%. More people need a greater chance to get into work in the first place.
And just look at who's protesting. It is the students, the middle-class kids who are kicking off. These are the 'insiders' who will be getting the jobs with all the protection.
And in all this racket, we appear to have forgotten about the 9,000 cars that burnt in France last November. I don't see any of the poor kids in the sink estates rioting now. In many of these areas, populated largely by immigrants, youth employment can reach 40 per cent. A new law would give many of these kids a new chance, a good foot in the door.
And the middle-class kids will still get jobs, no worries there. But to push down unemployment, and reenergise the economy, France needs such a new law.
So ignore the protesters, and stand strong, Monsieur de Villepin. A few miffed, bourgeois kids is better than a pile of burning cars.