So annoyingly French

Some days I think of my choice to live in Boston as self-imposed political exile. French politics have a real knack for causing gloom and despair and I’m such a fragile and sensitive little thing… Recently things have been worse as a new legislation project has been brewing with the destruction of France’s wine tradition as its explicit goal.

Five measures are put forward in this project:

–          Interdiction to write about wine on the Internet

–          Interdiction to have any positive media coverage about wine

–          Increased taxes on wine for the consumer

–          The health warnings on bottles will change from “Abusing wine is a health hazard” to “wine is a health hazard”, the “drink with moderation” message will be forbidden

–          Alcohol units, health warning and all that sort of things will have to take up more than half the label space on bottles

Points 1 and 3 have been put on the shelf for now so the law focuses on the “health” side with a message arguing that wine is bad for you from the first drop and not just when you get plastered.

Obviously, I disagree with that project, I love wine, I even write about it on the Internet (which would make me not only an exile, but a refugee). But even if I didn’t, I just do not understand the rationale behind the project:

–          Wine is one of France’s calling card, a major part of our image abroad and one of the only positive aspects of this image (it almost balances our reputation for rudeness). Why would you want to attack part of your own image?

–          More importantly, wine sales represent the second highest exportation revenue of the country behind aeronautics. Some regions only survive economically through it. At a time when we struggle with unemployment and loss of income, why on Earth would you want to shoot down one of your major economic sectors?

So there you have it. At first I was angry, now I’m mostly confused. I just do not understand the logic behind such a project. Most people mention the precautionary principle but I can’t believe it’s a valid rationale to launch such an initiative.

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