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Inside France For Members

Inside France: Assisted dying, radical politics and rude words

Emma Pearson
Emma Pearson - [email protected]
Inside France: Assisted dying, radical politics and rude words
Protest stickers in Place de la République, Paris. Photo; AFP

From plans to reform the laws on assisted dying and sexual consent to French casinos, rude words and whether France is truly as left-wing as anglophones believe, our weekly newsletter Inside France looks at what we have been talking about in France this week.

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Inside France is our weekly look at some of the news, talking points and gossip in France that you might not have heard about. It’s published each Saturday and members can receive it directly to their inbox, by going to their newsletter preferences or adding their email to the sign-up box in this article.

Consent law

Another week, another piece of ground-breaking feminist legislation from Emmanuel Macron? Er, perhaps. 

The president says he wants to enshrine explicit sexual consent into French law - an 'only yes means yes' law in other words. While this sounds pretty radical, it was said during a video chat with a group of feminist campaigners and to me sounded more like an off-the-cuff remark than a planned-out policy announcement. The chat has not been followed up with any kind of public announcement.

In the meantime, women continue to share stories of French men in public life behaving with apparent impunity in cases of sexual harassment and assault.

Still, it may happen, we'll see.

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Right to die

More concrete plans appeared at the start of this week with the details of a bill to legalise assisted dying in France - this will be debated in parliament in May and is the end of a very lengthy consultation period in which a citizens council was convened to explore more fully what is always likely to be a difficult subject.

While the Catholic Church has been predictably outraged, it's interesting to note that there is strong public support for the idea in France.

Talking France

We discuss this bill, and its social and political implications, in this week's Talking France podcast, as well as where you'll find French casinos, why the European elections are a big deal in France and all the things you can do in a French post office. Listen here or on the link below

 

Left leaning

And my favourite article from this week is this one from my colleague Genevieve Mansfield looking at how left-wing France really is. Anglophone media tend to casually toss out sentences 'France has always been at the vanguard of leftist politics' - but is this actually true? Or is this just about how we see France, rather than how France truly is?

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Analysis: Exactly how left-wing is France?

My pet (and very unscientific) theory is that it's to do with the artistic presentation of street protest in France - protests themselves are often strongly visual, so they are widely photographed and these are the images that pop into our heads when we think about French politics.

Protests in Place de la Nation, Paris, in 2002 after far-right candidate Jean-Marie Le Pen reached the second round of the presidential election. Photographed by Guillaume Herbaut for Libération newspaper

Accent on the rude

And this week I got chatting to a fellow Brit in France who teaches English to French college students - and she told me that her favourite sentence to test their pronunciation is "focus on decades of household growth in Nepal".

Say that in a thick French accent and it becomes somewhat X-rated . . .

Inside France is our weekly look at some of the news, talking points and gossip in France that you might not have heard about. It’s published each Saturday and members can receive it directly to their inbox, by going to their newsletter preferences or adding their email to the sign-up box in this article.

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