French connections

The generation gap was a big thing back in the ’60s. It seems that in France they have multiple generation gaps (see the table below on the right). It’s been called a split into two tribes of young and old, but the situation’s obviously a lot more complex than that.

So what explains it? Dunno, but here are some possibilities:

Age Sarkozy vote
18-24 42%
25-34 57%
35-44 50%
45-59 45%
60-69 61%
70+ 68%
  • Self-interest: the under-25s are out of work and want guaranteed permanent jobs. The 25-34s have jobs, they’re on the way up, and they want less socialism and more scope for activity. The 35-44s are transitional. The 45-59s are settled and don’t want change, and the old want everybody else to work a lot so they stay comfortable and cared for. (That last point clanks a bit I think. If you’re a selfish oldster who’s getting stuff from the state, why want somebody who might clamp down on things?)
  • Changing fashions, with everyone attached to the fashion of his youth. The post-9/11 generation wants to stay in the EU PC welfare-state womb, and everyone knows wishing makes problems go away. The children of the 90s like liberalism and enterprise. The children of Mitterand don’t know what they want to do. The ’68 generation is the ’68 generation. And oldsters prefer an older France.

Any other suggestions? I know nothing about France or the French, but the figures are so striking they must mean something!

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