France will no doubt bring in plenty of laws and rules changes in 2016 as it does every year, but how many will really improve our lives?
Here are things the government could do that would please us at The Local.
End the ban on swimming shorts
Skin-tight speedos, skimps or budgie-smugglers might look fine and dandy when worn by a finely toned and tanned Frenchman. But French authorities need to spare a thought for us slightly plumper and pastier “Anglos Saxons” and end the 1903 ban on the wearing of swimming shorts or Bermudas in public pools.
Let's face it most French people who share the pools with us would be in favour of this too. The rule might have been brought in for hygiene reasons but the government needs to think about the mental health of French bathers.
President François Hollande needs to start sending brown envelopes to referees because if ever France was in need of being united it’s right now. And luckily for the French they have a football tournament in 2016 that could provide just the fillip.
Remember those scenes of the Champs-Elysées when France, with its team made of players of all different ethnic origins, won the World Cup on home soil in 1998. We’d happily forsake a British or Irish team winning to see the French spirits lifted after a nightmare year. Allez les Bleus!
Ban transport worker strikers
French police are banned from striking to maintain law and order and avoid chaos so for the same reason why not extend this to transport workers too? Yes, we are talking about you, RER drivers, SNCF workers Air France pilots and Air Traffic controllers. Or at least your strikes should be limited to Sunday mornings between the hours of 6am and 8am.
Sell ibuprofen in supermarkets
French authorities need to have more sympathy for those with hangovers who can’t find a chemist open on Sunday morning. A plan to allow supermarkets to sell the likes of ibuprofen and paracetamol was mooted and then scrapped last year.
Surely if there are condom machines in Paris Metro stations, we can buy ibuprofen in normal shops. We are not asking French pharmacies to give up their sacred right to sell suppositories.
Scrap CDDs and replace them with “jobs”
Temporary contracts or CDDs as they are pretty much all that seems to be going these days in France. The problem is, apart from the fact they only last a certain period of time, is that you can’t really get anywhere with them. If you want to rent a flat or get a loan you almost always need a CDI (permanent contract).
The government is planning to push through labour reforms this year and they could do with scrapping CDDs altogether. Let’s just have one type of contract called “a job” that doesn’t have a time limit, but one from which employers can actually sack you from without spending two years in an employment tribunal.
Scrap the le and la from the French language
Owners to meet victims of dog poo crimes
Photo: Paul Evans/Flickr
The new fashion to tackle crime is to force criminals to meet up with their victims to learn of the trauma they have caused in the hope they will feel remorse and never do anything wrong again.
Steep fines to end the age old problem of dog mess on French pavements are not working so we need a rethink.
There’s no reason why rogue dog owners shouldn’t be forced to visit the homes of their victims to hear of the suffering incurred by having to clean dog shit out of the carpet or scrape it out from the cracks in the grips of their shoes.
Stub out smoking on enclosed terraces
So France introduced the smoking ban, forcing everyone to light up outside on terraces of bars and cafes. Then people complained it was too cold so bars built walls and roofs around the terraces and everyone was happy again.
But in winter sitting on these “indoor” terraces eating dinner is like dining in Serge Gainsbourg’s living room. So France needs to either get tough or just scrap the smoking ban.
Crackdown on Gallic grub
French cuisine is fantastic. Boeuf Bourgignon, Coq au vin and tartiflette should be awarded the Legion d’Honneur.
But in the 21st century there’s really no need for pigs intestines and colon (Andouillette) to be anywhere near a plate in a French restaurant. Tripe and calf's head could be banned too and people should be forced to eat snails without Garlic butter. The Escargot population would soon be booming.
Enforce a time limit on politicians' careers
The year 2016 will see the race for the Elysée hot up but we are likely to be faced with a choice between the same old candidates: Hollande, Sarko, Alain Juppé, Marine Le Pen probably the effervescent François Bayrou. French politics needs new blood, new ideas so the government should be brave enough to put a time limit of 20 years on the career of a politician and do it quickly.