Believe the Butcher, Mistrust the Politicians




The man-in-the street has spoken — topping a poll asking who do the French still trust are family, butchers, farmers and firemen while piled at the bottom are politicians, bankers, imams (and err … the media).

Who do we believe? butcher, baker, candlestick-maker ?

In a front cover piece, Marianne, a left-wing weekly, claims the country is “obsessed” with the issue of who to trust and — no surprise — its poll finds the answer is not national politicians.

The French view their political, economic and media elites with “unprecedented discredit preferring at this time of great crisis, to retain confidence in those close to them — family, doctors and teachers”, writes Nicolas Domenach in the latest issue of Marianne magazine.

A Harris Interactive poll
for the magazine showed: “firefighters, nurses, family and doctors are considered by those polled as among the groups in French society deserving of the highest confidence (more than 85%) while at the bottom of this league were: imams, national politicians (Mayors and local level figures ranked higher), real estate agents and the media (less than 25%).

Asked which descriptors encouraged them to trust a person, those responding to the poll spontaneously mentioned “frankness”, “honesty” and “sincerity” at a time where these concepts have been severely tested by events such as “the horse meat scandal ” or “the Cahuzac affair“. 

Here’s the word cloud result of a Harris Interactive poll for Marianne magazine examining who is to be trusted in France.

In the category of figures classed as “pillars of the Republic” the media were definitely out of favour with a level of confidence shown as a low 37% and “suffering a certain level of distrust”– as Harris delicately put it. However younger people were less critical with confidence in the media among those under 35 rising to 46% (against 26% among those aged 65 and over).

But it was the family that stood out as the unit deserving of most trust in the society (89%) – helping explain perhaps the recent massive mobilisation across France against a law legitimising homosexual marriage. Organised by family and Catholic groups this protest, one of the largest seen in years and which went on for weeks even once the law was promulgated, shook the country and seriously rocked the Socialist government.

After family at top of the league came teachers (71%) along with the police  — 71% of those polled —  a level of trust the magazine said was higher than that accorded to judges, who are trusted by just 58% of the French responding to the poll.

Conversely confidence in religious actors in society was relatively low, echoing a prevailing French perception of all religions. Among the three religions included in the poll, Roman Catholic priests received the highest levels of confidence (53%), followed by Rabbis (44%) and Imams (24%). Harris pollsters said  this confidence level echoed the image France tends to hold about the three main religions, with Catholicism clearly enjoying a better image than Judaism and Islam.

In a breakdown along party political lines the poll found: supporters of the Left placed particularly high trust in teachers (85%, against 71% on average, and 62% among supporters of the Right), community activists (78%, against 56% and 50%), civil servants (73 % against 57% and 47%) and trades union employees (63%, against 40% and 19%).

For their part, supporters of the Right were particularly trusting of owners of small businesses (94% against 75% on average and 73% of supporters of the Left), priests (72%, against 53% and 44%) and the bosses of large enterprises (57% against 31% and 19%).

Marianne’s lead article writer Nicolas Domenach, an editor of the magazine, goes on to note: “At the top of the ladder of popularity are nurses and butchers. Gone are self indulgent statements like ‘the family? I hate you’ , 89% of French now prefer to trust their family as a safe haven in a time of crisis. The Beppe Grillo effect on politics also appears to have dwindled , with the founder of Italy’s  5-Star Movement seen as being “a good communicator but a poor politician”, among those polled.  More than a third of the French respondents, disillusioned by a series of scandals in the health sector and the pharmaceutical industry are turning to osteopathy, Chinese medicine, acupuncture, and other alternative medicines. Personal Internet-based research on the ability of our bodies to heal themselves and issues such as how to heal without drugs are also increasingly popular, the magazine noted.

The EU recession just gets worse and the hardest hit are precisely those who ought to be in work — the highly educated youth and future wealth creators.

The article appeared shortly before the OECD released figures showing further appalling levels of unemployment across the European Union, a result analysed in this way over at the Zero Hedge website: “Germany prospers. Everyone else suffers. The EU unemployment rate hits 12.2% which is a concocted number far below actuality but that is what they say, that is what is believed, but our old friend reality always has a funny way of showing up when you least expect him. In France they now have 3.26 million unemployed with two uninterrupted years of monthly rises in their unemployment rate and a 1.2% increase from March. Nearly 337,000 more people are out of work in France than there were when Hollande was elected in May 2012. Unemployment is Spain at 26.8%, some 6.2 million people out of work while the economy has shrunk -1.3% in the last two quarters. Italy’s economy is projected to shrink by -1.8% this year according to the OECD while their unemployment rate hits 12%, a thirty-six year high. Besides Germany these are the pillars of the European Union, and that union is crumbling.”

Story: Ken Pottinger
editorial@french-news-online.com

 

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