Taxing issue of ‘Depart’-dieu

So actor Gerard Depardieu has turned his back on France, refusing to pay Hollande’s crippling wealth taxes.

I’m no fan of Hollande’s tax regime changes, but crikey, we can’t just let the rich not pay anything while the rest of society crawls along paying up and sacrificing what little luxury they do have.

You have to question whether the country will really miss an actor who has a history of embarrassing bahaviour in public places? Remember those suspicious accidents of the ‘urinary’ type on aircraft, crashes his moped on the streets of Paris whilst allegedly under the influence, and who has now thrown his French passport into the gutter, where, incidentally, the French economy is also currently languishing?

We think not. After all, there are many other actors who can and will replace Mr D. No-one is indespensible, and while I sympathise with him having to pay more tax to help France out of its current malaise, it is the behaviour of the rich that has kind of landed them in this mess in the first place.

So Belgium it is for Depardieu, who will surely have no problem in his efforts to obtain a Green Card!

France cuts growth forecast

Just weeks after being installed as the country’s new leader, French President, Francois Hollande has cut the nation’s growth outlook, with a slew of budget cuts set to follow.

After what Reuters described as a ‘grim assessment’ of public finances by Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault, the French economy is now forecast to grow by 0.3% in 2012, compared with the 0.7% forecast earlier.

Typically, the new socialist government blamed the move on an over-estimated growth forecast by the previous conservative government under Nicolas Sarkozy.

And now an amended 2012 budget is due to be presented to the Cabinet apparently without seeking to cut spending or resorting to widespread austerity.

Well, good luck with that.

Wheeler at Waterstone’s

Top billing

It’s a warm and sunny evening in London and the Kensington High Street branch of Waterstone’s was the place to be for the signing of author Karen Wheeler’s latest installment of her life in France, Tout Soul.

As fans of Karen will now be aware, such events are marked by her insistence on standing everyone who comes along a deliciously ice cold coupe de Champagne – and make that quality bubbles too, Karen just doesn’t do cheap.

Karen Wheeler chats to fans at the signing of Tout Soul.

It was a great evening, made more enjoyable by the fact I finally got to meet some of her fans, who come from all walks of life, and who I reckon are as interesting as any of the characters in her books. Many came from quite far. I was very pleased to meet a distinguished chap, originally from Montreal, but who now lives in Berkshire, who also happens to enjoy a bit of PoitouTV now and then. I think he definitely has a book or two in him.

It was also a pleasure to meet a lovely Californian woman, who has also made the UK her home, and who told me she wants to take her daughters to France to expose them to the wonderful subtleties of another European culture. One of Karen’s keenest fans was a delightful lady who made the journey to Waterstone’s despite still brandishing the bruises of a serious fall down some stairs. Dedication indeed.

I was really proud that Karen’s books seem to be inspiring people from all walks of life in so many different ways. I don’t think there can be a better reward for a writer really. But of course the pressure’s now on for KW – as fans left, I could hear them promising each other: “‘See you next year at the launch of ‘Tout 4′”!

Expat French Favour Sarkozy

French expats living abroad are putting their faith in current President Nicolas Sarkozy to retain power, but then they ARE living abroad.

Latest readings from polling firm LV2 show that 37% of ‘Henri expat’ voters would keep Sarko in power. The survey covered 2,031 French expats, in total.

Only 27% said they would vote for Francois Hollande, the  Socialist candidate.

I say if it aint broke don’t fix it. The problem, though, is that it IS very broke.

Looks like the gap is narrowing folks, but who would you vote for?