“Sale” is a dirty word in French

So reports the local telling us that the government of the French-speaking canton of Neuchâtel wants merchants to stop using the English word “sale” for their annual price reduction campaigns. Some people may think that this is a “storm in a teacup” and that, in the order of things, it is of no consequence. The point here to note is that (a) it is a local matter; and (b) it will be resolved locally. I can even foresee the situation whereby a local referendum might be held on this issue.

Contrast that with the UK, where no doubt central government would seek the views of the Equality Commission and the Human Rights Commission, not forgetting all the other “stakeholders”, resulting months, probably many months, later in another act of Parliament.

I can but refer to an earlier post in which I related the comments of Steve Hilton about the amount of papers ministers in the UK have to read. Perhaps if central government did not insist on having its fingers in every pie, ministers might not have so much paperwork to plough through? But when has simple reasoning been a characteristic required in a politician?

For those of us that believe in the Harrogate Agenda and the 6 Demands, the privilege of being able to possibly vote on whether shops can use a particular word makes me quiver with excitement and anticipation. The possibility of deciding more weightier matters, like the salary and expenses of my MP, almost causes an orgasm of delight; although in my particular case, I think my current MP should pay us for the privilege of being our MP – but I digress.

The fact that the good people of Switzerland are able to have such a constraining effect on their politicians, both national and local, on even what might be called trivial matters, is something that anyone with an interest in democracy should seek to emulate.

 

 


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3 Responses

  1. Ian Hills says:

    Fair enough, French-speakers don’t regard horse-meat in their food as “dirty” (sale) at all.

  2. kenomeat says:

    Totally off topic David but I have just learned that yesterday (18th) was the 50th anniversary of the death of Hugh Gaitskell. It was just three months after his speech attacking Britain’s application to join the Common Market. He was the first Labour leader I can remember and I didn’t want the anniversary to pass without mentioning it somewhere.

  3. SadButMadLad says:

    So it’s OK for locals to sort out their local problems. But how big does local have to be before it’s no longer local. Conversely how small can local get before it’s pointless discussing the issue.

    Does it depend on the size of the issue or some other factor. Are all problems different in terms of their localness?

    Is a national problem in terms of a continent wide issue local?

    Just some thoughts to put into the pot to mull over.

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