Thursday 3 December 2020

Death notice

The ineffably grand Valery Giscard D'Estang, former President of France, has died of complications linked to Covid-19. He was 94. He said the most bitter regret of his career was the badly drafted family reunification law of 1976, which permitted immigrant workers to bring their relatives to settle in France. 

He had intended relatives to be restricted to children and spouses but he was careless about the way the law was drafted. I am not sure whether he regretted the law altogether. He did not foresee the way it would change France.

De Gaulle, who begins his memoirs saying he always had a certain idea of France, would never have permitted family reunifications. I quoted De Gaulle before on this blog:
"It is very good that there are yellow French, black French, brown French. They show that France is open to all races and has a universal vocation. But on condition that they remain a small minority. Otherwise, France would no longer be France."
Giscard also legalised abortion, against fierce opposition from the Church, most of the Gaullists and much of the UDF, his centre-right party, on a free vote, with the votes of the Communists and Socialists. Thanks to this law there are eight million fewer Frenchmen, women and children.

As well as the transformation of France through far reaching immigration changes, legalising abortion and making divorce easy to obtain, Giscard's other important achievement, with Helmut Schmidt, is the European Monetary System, which became the Euro. 

The evil that men do lives after them.

Unlike his patron De Gaulle, whom he betrayed, and like his protégé Jacques Chirac, who betrayed him, he was an elitist, liberal, progressive moderniser pretending to be right of centre. 

Macron, who resembles Giscard in his enthusiasm for a united Europe and for mass immigration (though these are contradictory), is very much the same, except he admits he is 'neither left nor right'. 

Mitterand, conversely, was on the right or had been, but kept very quiet about it. He was a Petainist pretending to be a socialist.


  1. I was on a committee with him for two years. Pompous ass, but with a sense of humour.

  2. Mitterand did become a sincere socialist - at least if you define this by nationalisation, wild taxation and wild government spending. But, of course, Fascists do all these things as well - see Mussolini and General Peron.

    On allowing "guest workers" to bring in their families (i.e. accepting that the "guests" were never going to go home) - Giscard copied Germany, which had done this a couple of years before he did. The actual term "guest worker" was not used in France - it was never formally promised that they would go home, so the dishonesty (or the sincere change of heart) was greater in Germany.

    I agree with your basic point - in France it was the 1970s (not the 1960s) that had the great break. Policy was moving in this direction under President Pompidou.

  3. Mitterrand himself kept referring to de Gaulle's nationalisations after World War II as a precedent. De Gaulle nationalised the country's three largest banks, Renault automobiles (France's single largest industrial company), Air France and the electric and gas utilities. Mitterrand named Jacques Piette, de Gaulle's nationalization minister, to be responsible for drafting the nationalisation law. There is a long tradition of nationalisation in France going back to the Middle Ages.

  4. Looking back nationalisation and privatisation seem such unimportant issues, compared with the real ones. Immigration was and is, we now see, vastly the most important of these and then European unity, but also the increase in state power over everyday life in so many ways such as via employment law.

    1. In 1972 Le Pen formed the National Front political party.

      From the outset Le Pen’s party stressed the threat to France posed by immigration—particularly of Arab immigration from France’s former colonies in North Africa. The party also opposed European integration, favoured the reintroduction of capital punishment, and sought prohibitions on the building of additional mosques in France.

  5. France has a robust birth rate across all demographics. On the (presumably) positive side, were some of those eight million terminated pregnancies immigrant ones?

    1. Censuses on race and ethnic origin were banned by the French Government in 1978.

      WTF are you talking about?

    2. Opinion polls in France very rarely ask about religion but a 2016 survey of French teens found 25.5 percent identified as Muslim. I suspect this indicates the Muslim immigrants have a high birth rate. In addition to becoming 25% Muslim France has very many other children who are African or Indochinese in origin and very many Eastern Europeans. Not to forget British colonists and other Western Europeans.

    3. I tried to reply to Caroline's comment which I found very hurtful but it seems there was a glitch. For the removal of doubt I am not a eugenicist and do not think abortion is ever positive. Obviously the high birth rate reflects high birth rates among minorities.

    4. It seems to me that if you want to reduce the overwhelming number of immigrants in France or the West, one of several ways to accomplish that would be through terminated pregnancies. What goal is more important, preventing abortion or reducing immigrant populations?

      According to Pew Research Group, France is a decidedly less overwhelming 5.8 percent Muslim. The highest I’ve seen anywhere is 9 percent — nowhere near 25.


    6. An investigation of the French youths’ religious beliefs was conducted last spring by Ipsos. It surveyed nine thousand high school pupils in their teens on behalf of the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) and Sciences Po Grenoble, and was released on February 4, 2016, by L’Obs, France’s leading liberal newsmagazine. Here are its findings:

      38.8% of French youths do not identify with a religion.
      33.2% describe themselves as Christian.
      25.5% call themselves Muslim.
      1.6% identify as Jewish.
      Only 40% of the young non-Muslim believers (and 22% of the Catholics) describe religion as “something important or very important” ;
      But 83% of young Muslims agreed with that statement.

  6. 'Napoleon was said by one of his biographers to have had “the fault of all arrivistes, namely that of having too high an opinion of the class into which he had risen”. Giscard certainly had an inflated opinion of the EU elites, being convinced that it was their task to correct the errors of an ignorant populace. In the end, though, it is hard to improve on Margaret Thatcher’s summary – if only, she said, he really had been as wise as he thought he was.'

  7. I recommend the article I just posted. Giscard was the most disastrous leader France has had since Petain.