Sunday, April 01, 2007

It's official! The Latrine 2008 campaign is hitting the road

That which does not kill us makes us stronger, said old Freddie Nietzsche and apart from debilitating chronic diseases I suppose he was right.
So undeterred by my recent failure to win the overwhelming support of the French people I am pressing on.
I have decided to offer my presidential services to the American people next, and to this end I am planning a whistle-stop tour from sea to shining sea at the end of this week.
I have learned many lessons from my French campaign, and no doubt will be able to put these to good use in the USA.
Unfortunately Edwina and Bettina Brown-Staynemarx are unable to travel with me, as there is some residual doubt as to whether or not they will be allowed back into the country, even if it is no longer autumn and chestnuts (or buckeyes as I must learn to call them) are not so thick on the ground.
This will no doubt reduce the crowd numbers at many of my speaking engagements, but will also give me an opportunity to get to know my future countrymen and women more intimately.
Thank you for your attention
In God We Trust

Friday, March 16, 2007

12th man

So the signatures are in, the candidates identified.
The more alert amongst you will notice that I am not on the list.
Despite frantic last minute lobbying and behind-the-scenes action, which regrettably has kept me away from the blogface in recent days, I failed to gather the 500 signatures or the French nationality required to become a candidate.
However, I am not downhearted. My campaign has had many highs, many lows, and I come out of it stronger and more determined than ever.
There is always 2012.
In the meantime, I believe that the USA is going to the polls next year.
Let the Latrine 2008 campaign begin.
LibEgFrat to you all
I only hope that the voters of France don't come to rue this missed opportunity.
Thank you for your attention

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

The pipes, the pipes, are calling

Now of course, plumbers are notoriously difficult to get hold of worldwide. This is understandable, because I'm sure many of their clients call them in for a seemingly innocent bit of washer changing only to spring something nasty involving sewage on them. And let's face it, the prospect of a working life spent dealing with springy sewage doesn't really hold much lure.
This said, supply and demand being what it is, this means that those plumbers out there can charge gazillions for their services.
So you'd think that plumbers in France would be a happy bunch. Far from it. In fact you'd be hard-pushed to find a more depressive, morose bunch of nascent millionaires anywhere.
"Why?" I hear you cry, the softer sides of your natures touched by this tale of glumness in the face of fast-accumulating wealth.
The reason is simple. French plumbers are forced by their government to work alone. In solitary toil they must tackle every compression joint, every blocked soil pipe, every leaking spiggot.
Why is this? This is because French business and employment laws are so draconian, so punitive that even the very best plumbers do not dare to take on additional help and thus grow their businesses.
Like their fellow mint-makers the pharmacists the plumbers are trapped into their perpetual struggle with the black dog by the very same system that makes them rich. They are not happy about it. Not happy at all in my experience. In fact, on the whole, they are bloody miserable. If you ever manage to get a French plumber to come round and knock your bodily wastes back down into some sort of order, never, ever offer them a cup of tea and sit down for a friendly chat.
You'll be slitting your wrists by the end.

Those draconian laws in brief

  • Company creation and registration requires the giving of significant quantities of blood, bone marrow and the slaughter of the founder's first-born child (exemptions might reduce this to light wounding, where the first-born has reached the age of majority)
  • Social security contributions from the employer are between 12 and 17 times the wages paid to the employee. This is to pay for all the pharmacists.
  • Employees, once hired, are not allowed to work. Instead they must be tucked into a neat bed of feathers and cosseted.
  • Employees can never, under any circumstances be dismissed.

Thank you for listening
LibEgFrat to you all

Thursday, February 01, 2007

An open letter to José Bové

Dear José Bové
I note press reports (like this one) that you are keen to stand in the forthcoming Presidential Elections in France and that you already have 100 of the 500 mayoral signatures required for nomination. Well done on your achievement so far!
I have followed your career with interest ever since your involvement with the Larzac campaign. I accept that we disagree on many things, most notably economic and social policy. However, I'm also sure that we also have much in common, such as our status as outsiders, our direct popular appeal and our agreement on the importance of large fluffy moustaches (although I prefer to let others do the actual wearing of same).
My reservations about your campaign are that it is rather single-issue (the political equivalent of entry-level) and that it is doomed to failure because you have raised too many hackles, and put too many danders up.
I therefore appeal to you directly, JoBo, to put your weight behind a more centrist, conciliatory, unifying candidate, namely myself. I can assure you that we have many areas of similarities in policy and although I lack the luxuriant 'tache, I have considerable other personal charms.
José, for the sake of France, I appeal to you to put personal ambition to one side and to come over to the Latrine campaign.
LibEgFrat, you old MacDonalds botherer you

Monday, January 22, 2007

Pharmacists -- they make me (green flashing ) cross

France has too many pharmacists and too few plumbers.
A Latrine Presidency would address these issues as a matter of urgency.
My research assistants, sisters Bettina and Edwina Brown-Staynemarx (affectionately known on the campaign trail as Teeny and Weeny) have been looking into these related subjects in some detail.
Pharmacists first.
There are simply far too many of them. Not only this but they all have shingles. Shingles, that is, in the sense of a signboard hung outside the place of business. Obviously they don't have shingles in the sense of the eruptive form of Herpes Zoster, because they are pharmacists and can avoid such things.
No, the shingles they have are vast illuminated green crosses. These things, often with a surface area of several hectares, are controlled by highly complex computer systems causing their myriad lights to flash on and off in a complicated but consistently repugnant fashion. Teeny and Weeny have calculated that if we were to scrap pharmacists' signs, then France's entire electricity requirement could be furnished by a small dung-burning power station on the outskirts of Saint Omer. This would be a good thing.
The irritating shingles aren't the only bad thing about pharmacists in France. Far far worse is the fact that there are so many of them and all (or nearly all) of them are independent.
Now, I've got nothing against someone who has put in the hard yards needed to train as a pharmacist going on and making a decent living. However, they have come to represent the worst of French state intervention and protectionism.
To become a pharmacist is to be granted the proverbial licence to print money. They have a de facto state protected monopoly and can thus afford to power their hideous flashing crosses and still make a mint. Obviously there is no incentive for them to compete, other than in the size and visual complexity of their crosses, so they grow fat on the proceeds of drugs dispensed under the strong-arm protection of the French government and ridiculously over-priced shampoos.
As is often the case in protected markets, it is tempting to imagine that the pharmacists benefit from this arrangement, and to a limited extent this is the case. But the benefits are limited, circumscribed by the very system that protects them. A really good pharmacist (and perhaps such folk exist) would be unable build a large chain of green crosses offering excellent customer service and keen prices because all their rivals enjoy the same protection for their patch.
Customers certainly don't benefit, except for those who are being treated for an allergy to money. Nor do taxpayers come out of the arrangement particularly well, as they have to shell out a fee for every prescription dispensed.
A Latrine presidency would bust open this cosy world and seek to introduce competition rather than complacency.
Oh and we'd ban the flashing crosses too. It would be greener.
LibEgFrat to you all

Friday, January 19, 2007

Aides' memoirs

Her Royal Highness, Princess of Darkness, has had to let go of an aide. This is a difficult time and a difficult decision for any candidate and I sympathise fully. Indeed I have had to let go of two aides (Teeny and Weeny) to write this, and I'm regretting the decision already (although they still seem to be holding on to each other in an interesting way).
I have also had to dismiss my former campaign finance manager, The Nerde, for conduct unbecoming. I note that he has now signed a five-figure book deal for his diary of the campaign.
Et tu Nerde?
Dark days indeed
LibEgFrat to you all
Thank you all for your attention

Monday, January 15, 2007

A rush and a push and the land that we stand on is ours

Latrinists all!
Now is the time for the big push!
Little Sarko has emerged from his hutch and for the moment the so-called front-runners in this campaign offer the people of France a choice between two representatives of a litany of political failure, each trying to dress themselves in the clothes of the outsider.
Nonsense. Make no mistake about it, Sarko and Royal are the heirs to failure. Electing either of them would be to guarantee that France remains mired in the morass of political timidity.
Turn instead to the true outsider, a man who offers himself to France, to provide the leadership and vision that will unleash its true potential.
A man unfettered by the craven awfulness of the past. A man not beholden to vested interests in the unions, business or government. A man free to identify a vibrant new direction for France. A man who now has his glasses back.

Turn to Victor Latrine.

Now is the time for a major push, to drive this campaign to the forefront of the French political scene. As I said to one of my research assistants the other day "One last big push for Victor, baby"*. It worked then and it can work again. A final push, a final spurt, and the Latrine presidency is in sight. It worked then and it can work again.

I set out below some practical steps we can all take to make this push happen. I urge you, as a loyal Latrinist (Latrinista, if you prefer) to take these measures and more.

Thank you for your attention
LibEgFrat to you all


Practical steps:

  • Spread the word
Tell your friends, tell your enemies, tell everyone you know to come and see the campaign website and support the campaign.
  • Buy the merchandise
We have just launched a range of "Votez Latrine 2007" campaign
merchandise -- buy it! See the full range here. I particularly recommend the thong, as worn by all my research assistants.

  • Write to Sarko, write to Borloo
You should write, immediately, to little Sarko and to Jean-Louis Borloo, the
Minister for Employment, Social Cohesion and Something Else (housing
actually), demanding that I be given French nationality and can therefore
contest the election. Ideally you will compose your own letters, but if you want a sample, please email me to request one at the address below.
    • Ridiculously, Borloo, doesn't seem to have an email address on his official website. His snail-mail adress is:
      • 127 rue de Grenelle
        75700 PARIS 07 SP*
      • Remember his name is Borloo, not Mooloo -- that is a latrine for cows.

  • Share the love
Once you've written to these fellas, send me the text of your letters, send me the text of their
replies. I can be contacted at

If everyone does this, then the final push will take us on to victory.

* the full quote was in fact "One last big push for Victor, baby, then we'd better wash the bottle"