… well this is based on a very small sample of the meeting I went to this evening in St Leger sous Beuvray (population 500 or so). This is in the 3rd circonscription of Saone et Loire and the speaker was the candidate for the legislative elections starting on June 10, Francois Lotteau, who is also the mayoral candidate for Chalon sur Saone, the regional capital. (And it is also based on my limited French…thanks very much to the people I was talking to for their patience! )
The candidate’s literature begins “after decades of liberalisation, the state is powerless to resolve the global crisis. There are interdependent economic, social, ecological and financial crises. austerity is not the solution. Green politics is the highest response (response a hauteur) to the issue of the day.”
It talks about the development of “peasant” (paysan – I think perhaps “non-industrial” might be a better translation) agriculture, guaranteeing good food to consumers and decent income to farmers, the decline in numbers of which must be stopped.
That was one of the chief topics of discussion tonight – the problems of young farmers and access to land and capital, the complications and cost of getting organic certification, the fact that so much food in the shops is industrial and not tied to place or producer.
The leaflet also talks about the need to invest in the green energy sector, including insulation, to reduce unemployment and “the (financial) precariousness of life”. Most discussion this evening was despair at the French acceptance and promotion of nuclear power – I sympathised and explained about our rightwing government.
The leaflet also talks about the depopulation of rural areas and (I think a nice phrase “periurbanisation sauvage” – by which I suspect they mean the hideous “suburban” type developments of new houses found on the outskirts of even villages), and the loss of local schools, post offices and medical services. (All sounds very familiar!)
- * 1% of the budget for preventative health measures
- “Une contribution climat-energie” for funding green public investment
- * A mandatory 50% reduction in pesticide use
- A new forestry law to encourage good quality production (I think this means selective cutting rather than clear felling)
- 20% of farmland to be organic within five years, with all school food to be organic
- Support “human scale” agriculture
- 50% increase in “social benefits” (“minima sociaux”)
I had a long discussion about the horrors of first past the post electoral systems (anyone know the actual French term for that? – I had to explain it in a round about way) and the need for proportional representation.
All in all it felt quite familiar!