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Tuesday, 14 January 2014

French farce

I am not a completely heartless bastard, and I have a fair amount of sympathy for Valerie Trierweiler, although some might say that what goes around comes around, but I think we should all be grateful to her for one thing: shoing us the value and purpose of marriage.

Now, don't get me wrong.  Marriage isn't for everyone and I have no objection to those who in former times would have been described a "living in sin" or more recently as cohabiting.  I quite appreciate that some people just don't want to make a commitment (but please spare me the waffle about loving relationships: we all have those and not just with our pets).

But what gets my goat is when people who are not married attempt to wear the mantle of marriage.  At this point I should declare an interest. I have numerous siblings and siblings in law.  Some are married, most of the others are in some sort of relationship.  Some of the unwed relationships have borne children.  I have a simple rule.  The married partners are accorded the status of aunts and uncles and my daughters are their nieces, but the unwed partners are not. I, on the other hand, am the uncle of their children.  I can't help that. It is just a matter if the operation of the law, even if the reverse is not true. They are simply the boyfriend/ girlfriend of my sibling, very welcome etc, but not family.

Why do I do this?  Well you have to draw the line somewhere and in a big family, you can't treat one branch one way and another branch differently.  Not if you want to live long and prosper.  So I draw the line at the same point as the law, on the basis that if a couple doesn't manifest any binding commitment why should the rest of us treat them as a legal couple. They might not want to be and it isn't up to us to second guess these matters.

Which brings us back to Ms Trierweiler, who has been living it up in the Elysee Palace as the first lady of France. According to Ms T marriage is "a right not a duty", which as I mentioned above is a perfectly reasonable position to take.  But on the other hand, in my book without marriage Ms Trierwiler's right to spend thousands of euros of public money, to live in the Elysee while her non-husband is off canoodling on his scooter, and to be treated as a spouse at the meetings of world leaders looks extremely tenuous.

With marriage, her right to do so pro tem would have been maintained,although if the President wanted to go through the effort and expense of a divorce it might be short lived. But without marriage, the French tax payer would be entitled to insist that having been demoted to second lady she should be out of the house before er feet can touch the ground.

In short, if you can't show commitment, why should the rest of us do so? 

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