We most assuredly do inhabit an astonishingly ugly human world imposed upon a beautiful life-giving planet. It is to my eternal shame that last Monday night, as I watched Notre Dame engulfed by Danté’s inferno, I thought, “Thank Christ, something else to write about beyond f**king Brexit”.

But we are all human. The world is rendered ugly by the 3% of us who are inhuman, and the 5% who service them, if you’ll pardon the expression. The rest of us just muddle along and accept that we are all, at various times, capable of both horribly base and remarkably selfless behaviour.

For those of sound mind, it is far too early to reach conclusions on how and why Notre Dame was so severely damaged on Monday evening. But not for the French sureté. At 3am Tuesday morning, they and the Paris prosecutor’s office said they would – get this –  “carry out an investigation into involuntary destruction caused by fire”.

In other words, Brexit flextension rules would apply: we will investigate any and all evidence leading to the conclusion that this was an accident. Oh how the Establishment gives itself away in such pronouncements.

The fire service in turn was very quick to announce (just before 10 pm) that the blaze “could be potentially linked” to ongoing renovations. The slight flaw in this assertion was that – as the contractors unhelpfully confirmed – there wasn’t any work taking place at the time the blaze began: workmen had finished for the day.
Shortly after the fire began, French news airborne footage showed, very clearly, a man in a white hard-hat walking calmly along one of the balconies, and then disappearing through a door. Ever since, the authorities have made no comment at all about who he was, or why he seemed so relaxed with smoke and flames billowing all around him. He was not a firefighter.

During Tuesday, I tapped up various contacts…all of whom quite rightly avoided a firm view, but offered these observations:

  • Much of the current restoration of Notre Dame has involved the exposure of damp oak in the structurally compromised building. Waterlogged oak is not exactly the best catalyst for the creation of an accidental fire – especially one that burnt so fiercely for the first four hours
  • Dozens of witnesses were mystified by the time it took for the fire brigade to get to the scene
  • There is a huge tank of grey water available on the site designed solely to be used in the event of conflagration. For some reason, it was not put into operation until too late

I have seen other elements reported both in the MSM and online. It seems an Islamist was detained very recently with a firebomb in his possession near to the site. There have been, over the last eighteen months, an unprecedented number of attacks on churches in France. As is normal in such cases, CNN immediately wrote a piece dismissing any conclusion other than “accident” as ‘internet conspiracy theory’.

‘One strategy appeared to be the use of old and unrelated articles about Catholic churches being desecrated in France to insinuate that the Notre Dame fire was an intentional act’. That is a blindingly obvious lie (unless you consider the period 2017-19 to be “old”) and of course flatly refuses to engage with one obvious question: who would want to desecrate Catholic churches?

But at midday here in France, terrorism as a cause of the blaze was officially ruled out. The speed with which such a definitive conclusion emerged is silly enough; but to reach it without being able to say what the Hell might have caused the fire seems to me a tad previous….especially when the only Establishment explanation on offer uncluded  flim-flam about “accidents can occur during restoration” and “the fire began in the attic at the base of the spire around 6.50pm”.

So: the authorities do not know what happened at the attic base of the spire….but they’re certain it wasn’t arson. Well, that’s alright then.

The bizarre nature of the French State’s reaction seems almost guaranteed to set conspiracy nutjobs free to bark in all directions. But the parallel (albeit not a direct one) for me is the Reichstag fire of 27th February 1933 soon after Hitler came to power.

The Reichstag false flag was used by the State to blame the Communists and declare a State of Emergency. Is the Notre Dame fire is being used by the State to blame the construction workers…..and thus absolve obvious suspects in order to avoid any sense of emergency?

If so, in photographic terms it is a sort of negative to the Nazi positive.

The case continues. But the problem is, the jury is somewhat confused by the fact that the Judge has already made up his mind. And this too has elements that hark back to the Nazi era….notably, the trial of those involved in the failed 1944 Stauffenberg bomb plot against Little Dolfi.

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Another subject that élites have long tried to toss into the conspiracy looney-bin is Monsanto. But now – after a legal battle in France that has lasted some fifteen years – a third appeal drummed up by the company’s sociopathic lawyers has been summarily dismissed in favour of the victim, Paul Francois.

Francois – a cereal farmer from the Charente area – was poisoned in April 2004 after using Monsanto’s Lasso herbicide. He told an interviewer this week:

“Even after the decision of the court of appeal, it still remains to set the amount of compensation for injury. Monsanto will probably still appeal. I therefore face five more years of procedure. You have to have strong ethical convictions to deal with companies that profit by putting lives at risk.   In September, I even hesitated to continue the risk of ruining myself in court costs, because I still have not paid my lawyer. The costs to date are in the region of €50,000. But having decided to use crowdfunding, in two weeks we raised € 36,000. This tremendous support restores confidence. I can not now go back.

If you’ve ever decided to take on a giant corporation, you will know very well how the entire game is based on the hope that you’ll expire before the ass-like Law can ever corner your adversary and say, “Pay up you bastards”. Sadly, even at that stage they will then turn the case over to their liability insurers to run you round the houses up to and including the grave.

If we had a political class genuinely determined to put an end to such bullying calumny, it would’ve ended decades ago. This is not a question of Left v Right: for example, in Britain since 1960, we have had an aggregate of 23 years of Socialist majority Government – slightly more here in France.

The problem is this simple: legislators tend to be lawyers, and they don’t like tanks on their turf. Much as the ideologues would love to write off legal stupidity in terms of Human Rights idiots (the Right) and nasty capitalists (the Left) in the vast majority of cases it is about bumping up the hourly rates and ensuring that the practice of Law is protected at all costs…..pretty much always, those of the client. Trust me, the Masons have nothing on these reptiles.

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For some reason, the Hoopoo birds have not yet returned. After an oddly hot February and a mixed March, so far in April it has been unseasonally fresh. Perhaps this has put off these dandies of the avian flock – which is a shame, because their staccato strutting is a joy to behold. The dawn chorus has, however, been largely reassembled. We await only the mass chattering of starlings….but they won’t be back until the cherries are turning from green to orange on their way to blood-red.

In the meantime, I have inherited an enormous hare who uses my property for his morning run. Every day just before eight, he zooms past my gite window and heads up the main drive. About 30 seconds later I see him in the distance, belting down to the Western end of the land here before arriving back at the pool house, where he leans on his hind legs against the wall, tongue hanging out and obviously knackered. I half expect him to light a fag, cough and then say “That’s better”.

Sadly missing this Spring, however, is Percy the ring-necked dove. His mate Pam now sits on the telegraph wire looking forlorn. I’ve known these two for over eight years, so his expiry sooner or later was inevitable. But it’s still sad to see her alone. In the midst of life there is death, and all that. Also, there is wood.

For some reason, every farmer in the vicinity is furiously cutting down old trees and storing the logs thus produced in enormous neat rows on their properties. I’ve lived here on and off for twenty-one years, and it’s never happened on this scale before. The thing is with French farmers, whenever they start running round doing anything, it’s odds-on they know something we don’t. It is an hilarious but true fact that a lot of French prefectures buy their long-range weather forecasts from the CIA – yes, that CIA. I often joke that their weather forecasts are more reliable because they’re creating most of it themselves; but it does make you wonder what Ferdinand le Fermier has been told.

The CIA site, by the way, can be found here and if you ignore all the stars and stripes guff it is a bottomless mine of incredibly useful information.

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Just to end where we began, top of my arson-suspect list is President Emmanuel ‘Hard Man’ Macrony. He was due to address the Nation Monday night on the subject of his Grand Débat piffle, but immediately cancelled it to rush to the fire scene. His relief at not having to face the cameras and say nothing was palpable. Yesterday, he vowed to rebuild the Cathedral within five years. Not himself personally you understand, but somebody (he vowed) was going to rebuild it in under five years. In fact, he demanded it. The demanding thing is a nice approach to a problem if you aren’t going to be the one fixing it, as such.

Meanwhile, the “content” of his postponed address has been leaked, and seems to consist of a new lick of paint on some of the deckchairs disturbed by hitting the iceberg. He’s going to stop closing schools, re-index pensions of under €2,000 a year, have more of those jolly useful referendums he likes so much, and give every low paid worker a Christmas bonus….as yet unquantified, and as of last month completely unaffordable.

I’m reminded of the old gag about the Concentration Camp Commandant addressing the imates and announcing, “As today is his birthday, the Führer has decreed that every prisoner will have a change of clothing. Hut 29 will change clothes with Hut 71……”

None of this woffle is going to cut any ice with the Gilets Jaunes. They want the Wealth Tax reinstated, permanently lower petrol taxes, and zero inflation of local taxes. Macron doesn’t. Already, the pump prices are creeping back up over the €1.50 level, my local taxe foncière has doubled since 2016, and the President would rather munch broken glass than tax his rich copains.

Within weeks of the GJs blowing it a raspberry, this will all be Brexit’s fault. You have my word as a cynic on that.

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