Keyword: Jean-Claude Gaudin
It was their secret. Every Christmas from 2003 to 2014, the venerable senators belonging to former French President Nicolas Sarkozy's UMP party, recently renamed Les Républicains, received a hand-out of around 8,000 euros per person on the quiet, on top of their ample salaries and expenses. It was described by the senators themselves as their annual tip or 'Christmas box'. Now the new chairman of their Senate group has decided to put an end to the practice. Mathilde Mathieu reports on yet another example of the Senate gravy-train, which emerges amid a continuing judicial investigation into suspected money laundering and misuse of public funds by the UMP Senate group.
Rubbish collection in Marseille has always been inseparable from local democracy, clientelism and political self-interest, argue the authors of a fascinating book on the history of dustmen in France's biggest Mediterranean city. The writers, one of whom was himself a Marseille dustman for 23 years, reveal how from the 19th century onwards the city has had its own unique way of organising refuse collection, one intimately linked to the power of trade unions and the desire of local politicians to have the backing of the municipal workforce. They also show how Marseille's reputation as not being the cleanest of French cities can trace its roots back to Roman times. Louise Fessard outlines the authors' key themes, followed by extracts from the book itself.