Keeping an eye on the French, so you don't have to.
See, I'm not dead. Anyway, I think a French survey round up is called for:
Humanité (the Communist Party daily, not the species) has asked the Plain People of France how they view the prospect of doing away with the maximum 35 hour working week,and the results show limited cause for faith in the youth (-ish) of France -46% of 18-24 year olds think it a good idea. Granted, a majority oppose it, but the pro figure is higher than for any age group bar the 50+ cohort. This would suggest that younger folk have made the connection between the difficulties in joining the workforce and the rigid laws surrounding employment on the other side of the Channel.
However, outbreaks of common sense in those parts are invariably matched by something that deadens the soul, like this from ifop:
'Do you think that capitalism and the free market is a system that...'
-Functions well and should be kept
-Has its problems but there is no alternative
-Functions badly and should be replaced
The French gave the first option 15%. Yes,15%. And 33% opt for Year Zero, with the rest hedging their bets. Note that option one secured 65% support in the 'People's Republic' of China. We managed 45%/45%/10%, which is also quite encouraging.
A poll on French attitudes to the SNCF provides the opportunity for a joke so obvious that as yet undiscovered civilisations in other galaxies can see it coming:
'Do you think that SNCF are keeping to timetables better?'
We have voting demographics to hand, so place your bets for the joke...
And, yes, it is the Front National which is among the least impressed with punctuality at 14%. Perhaps they have in mind an Italian template that could be followed.
Elsewhere, Dominique Strauss Kahn is the runaway leader among possible Socialist candidates for the presidency at 37% to 26% for my old mucker Segolene Royale, and Lille looks likely to suffer Martine Aubry longer (16%). Perhaps Martine should hire an assassin, as a DSK-less list has her top of the tree at 32% to Sego's 31%. Cutting to the chase, Sarko would beat anyone except DSK in round one. Round two would see Sarko lose - badly - to DSK, Aubry or even Francois Hollande. Sarko Vs Royal, round 2 shows as a tie at 50% each.