4th November 2008

On this historic day when millions of American citizens are voting for a new President to change their lives, the rest of the world holds its collective breath. There is so much desire for change to the old, traditional values. As Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand in the UK have discovered to their cost, people will no longer put up with stupid, crass behaviour in public.
In France, as people look for a lead via the public media, there is no such thing as a cheap tabloid press written with bias, with unsavoury photos of D-list celebrities, as in the UK. While many French people prefer to read regional rather than national papers, the content is very different from what the average British reader would expect. For many readers, any paper which is Paris-based, e.g. Le Monde, is too far from their own centre of interest. Another reason for the huge difference in France's media is because the French have a very different approach to decency and taste. In 2000 a new law banned the depiction of victims of crime or violence to be used by the media if it would 'jeopardise the dignity of the person portrayed'. Thankfully there is still a feeling in France whereby family values are sacrosanct and it is required by law for children to take care of their elderly relatives.
It was heartening to see that Obama left his busy election campaign to visit his sick grandmother, who sadly died before the results are known. Maybe if Obama - with his African, traditional roots - wins today, there might be a subliminal shift towards those traditional family values that everyone around the world seeks. Let's hope so because there's no doubt: what America does today, the rest of the world follows.

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