by N. Peter Kramer
Elected in June, the new ‘ecologist’ mayors in France are trying to put their stamp on the daily life of their communes. They are attempting to realise a change in society according to their dreams, often without any deliberations with their town council, let alone their citizens. They defend the restrictions of individual freedom in the name of an interest of a higher order, for instance the climate change, but more often in reality they are just putting personal ideas into practice.
When, in mid-September, the Tour de France arrived in Lyon, the third city of France, mayor Gregory Doucet, qualified the biggest cycle event in the world: ‘macho and polluting’. His colleague in Rennes, Nathalie Appere, had already refused for ecological reasons to offer her city as an arrival place for the 2021 edition. Doucet really put himself out there, when one day, in name of the French constitutional ‘separation of church and state’ (la laicite), he refused to participate in a multi-secular ceremony in a catholic basilica, but the day after, during a muslim ceremony, laying the first stone for a mosque…
Eric Piolle, mayor of Grenoble, says no to 5G, using as his rationale the argument that it ‘makes possible to look at porno in a lift’! His colleague in Bordeaux, Pierre Hurmic, supports him, he is ‘a low-tech’ fan. The mayors of Nantes, Johanna Roland, and Besancon, Anne Vignot, are also anti-5G. Just like Emmanuel Denis, mayor of Tours. Sadly for them, the French Council of State said that the mayors do not have the power to refuse the installation of antenna relays; which is a state competence.
More. Mayor Hurmic announced, ‘No Christmas trees in Bordeaux in the name of the charter of the rights of the trees’. And, mayor Doucet once more, ‘No to the aircrafts of the Patrouille de France’, an aerobatics demonstration unit of the French Airforce, well known from opening the yearly parade on Quatorze Juillet. The mayor of Marseille, Michele Rubirola, opposed and ignored the prime minister’s decision to impose the wearing of face-masks due to COVID-19 pandemonium. Later, the rise in local infections was four times higher than the national average. In Besancon, mayor Anne Vignot, is against the doubling of the RN57, the overcrowded ring road around the city. She has as a solution the ‘desynchronisation of working hours’. And, a last one. In Annecy, mayor Francois Astorge, has decided to create a local valuta, ‘complementary and solidary’.
Not all the above-mentioned mayors are elected under the flag of the green-left political party EELV (Europe Ecologie Les Verts). Some are independent or members of the Parti Socialiste (PS). But, they won their position as mayor through a close cooperation with the EELV in their commune. The best known amongst them is the mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo (PS). Her restrictive measures have a dramatic result. Streets not (yet) closed for cars are showing growing congestion. In practise taxi’s and public transport are also caught up in these all-day traffic jam. Is the metro a solution? Hidalgo advises seriously in a campaign not to take the metro but the bicycle. She lowered the budget for the underground system and opened in the famous Rue de Rivoli, one of the busiest arterial roads of the capital, 3 of the 4 lanes for bikes leaving one open for cars, taxi’s and busses… Protests of individual Parisians, shopkeepers, businesses are disregarded. The notorious arrogance of power-mad people.
In France, they call mayors like Hidalgo ‘Khmers verts’, the ‘green Khmers’.