Necessity Still Breeds Ingenuity - Archive of SQUALL MAGAZINE 1992-2006

International SQUALL

Chirac Changes His Spots

Squall 9, Jan/Feb 1995, pg. 36.

The mayor of Paris, Jacques Chirac, recently made an unprecedented show of compassion for the city’s homeless announcing that empty Parisian office buildings could be opened for use as winter shelters for the homeless.

His critics observe that as mayor he has systematically priced housing out of the pockets of the low-paid and suggest that perhaps this “dramatic conversion” (Liberation) has some connection to the withdrawal of Jacques Delor from the presidential race, leaving Chirac and Bahadur as the only likely left-wing candidates. How cynical!

It seems that since Delors’ withdrawal, Chirac and Bahadur have been battling it out to see who can be kindest to the homeless and squatters alike.

On December 20th Abbe Pierre, the 82 year-old staunch housing campaigner, assisted 120 squatters in their occupation of a financial services company’s headquarters in the Left Bank of Paris.

Similar occupations in the past have not solicited any official sympathy but this time Mr Bahadur told the squatters they could stay and, not to be outdone in the eyes of left-wing voters, Mr Chirac then reconnected their electricity and water and went on to promise to find other offices for the rest of the Paris homeless population! Go on then Jacques. Let’s see ya!