Thursday, 23 July 2009

Sequels 1

In the early hours of this morning, the bill to relax restrictions on Sunday trading was passed in the Senate, by just six votes - the lowest majority in the current term. There were no amendments; all the Senators' proposals were rejected, due largely to the ginormous pressure put onto the upper house by the government, which did not, it must be said, go down brilliantly with everyone: "The Senate's being transformed into a house of followers-on who just have one freedom: to say yes", commented one Senator.

There was no clarification forthcoming on the vexed issue of what constitutes an area of interest to tourists. The socialists argue that the new law will apply to the more than 6000 communes considered to be of tourist interest in the Code du Tourisme; the work minister believes that only the 500 communes listed as touristique in the Code du Travail will be affected. Can't you just see the famous French shrug of the shoulders ...

In spite of reassurances that the principle of le repos dominical remains inviolable, the opposition remains unconvinced. As one UMP renegade put it, "it's a change that dare not speak its name".

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