The UK in the French news this week

This week Le Monde commented on the fact that hallucinogenic mushrooms had recently been found in the gardens of Buckingham Palace! It was reported that these mushrooms had been growing in the 40 hectare grounds of Buckingham Palace without the gardeners doing anything about it. Le Monde seemed to enjoy the fact that The Sun had quoted a palace official who had reassured the public that the mushrooms that grow in the palace gardens are not used in the palace’s kitchen, reporting itself to be very relieved.
Le Monde also picked up on the fact that there had been 76 arrests in London this week at demonstrations that supported those going on in the United States against police violence. The slogans at the demonstrations were the same as those found in the States; ‘Black Lives count’, and ‘Hands up’. Le Monde reported that these demonstrations are relevant in the UK as well, given the 2011 shooting of Mark Duggan, who was killed by police officers who suspected him of having a gun.
Le Monde ran an article this week on the fact that more and more British people are relying on food banks. The article started by reminding its readers of the recent economic growth in the UK, and quoted the report financed by the Archbishop of Canterbury that cites the significantly weakened benefits system and low salary levels as reasons as to why so many British people are below the poverty line. Le Monde quoted Archbishop of Canterbury as saying that the situation of a family that he had met in a food bank was similar to that of refuges from the Congo.

Both Le Monde and Le Figaro covered the findings of a report published this week about poverty levels in the UK, which are set to grow in the years to come. Le Figaro noted that the Institute for Fiscal Studies, which carried out the report, said that it will take six years for British people’s living standards to go up, which is the longest period of recuperation since the report was first commissioned in 1961. This article is one of a several that have appeared in Le Figaro recently about the levels of poverty in the UK; in October of this year Le Figaro ran an article commenting on the fact that the aim to reduce extreme child poverty to less than 5% by 2020 would not be achieved.
Le Figaro ran an article on the a report published that noted that the only 59% of French people have a positive view of France. It compared this to the results from other European countries. In Sweden, 89% of people have a positive view of their country, in Germany 78%, in UK 67% and in the United States 64%. Apparently, 26% of French people would live elsewhere than in France if they could. The French are also the most depressed about the economic situation of their country, only being beaten by the Japanese. However, France is still a country that offers a good standard of living. This is also the case throughout France, unlike in the UK, where there are huge differences in living standards between the North and South of the country. Le Figaro went on to report that 78% of French approve of the fact that they have an interventionist government, and 58% approve of the fact that the country has decentralized power, with the public sector controlling key aspects of the economy. So even though the French are depressed about situation of their economy, they don’t want to change the people running it, which is an interesting paradox to consider.

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