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George Frêche has died

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[quote user="Pickles"]It's hit the national news as well.


I'm not surprised: a big man in this part of the world.

My impression - and I hasten to say, just an impression - is that he has been the major driver behind the growth of Montpellier over the last 10 years or so.

I'd be interested in the views of those closer to the city & the local politics.  

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Rather longer that that.

He served as the mayor of Montpellier from 1977 to 2004.

Frêche expanded Montpellier in all directions, propelling it from the

25th largest city in France to the 8th, in less than 30 years.

He was a man who attracted admiration and hostility.

There is no doubt that his vision and drive led to great expansion for the town, but at the expense of other places in the Region.

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A big  fish indeed, not at all liked by some, and not old (72 ) it seems,  but I would have regarded him as rather more than overweight, so perhaps not surprised by his relatively early death.  I would think you either loved him or hated  him.

It will be very  interesting to see if the rest of the region gets a look-in now he has gone, it was, IMHO, rather too Montpellier-orientated for my liking.

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Exactly my opinion Judith.

As President of the Region he had just come back from a trip to China and Bulgaria, trying to open up new markets and links..for the Montpellier agglomeration...

He was a brilliant visionary, but had a fatal flaw of personalising things, so if your Maire disagreed with him, your town was cut out of most grants, effectively penalising those who voted for him in towns with a different group in power.

He had a sort of 'Mafia' which frightened people and threatened to cut off any aid if his will wasn't obeyed (A recent example was concerned with Montpellier Rugby club).

At the same time he was a brilliant communicator, and had an analysis of France far ahead of most politicians.

I am never happy at the death of anybody, but I am glad that his rigid dictatorial style might now be the past.

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It is good to see some-one else interested in the French side of things.  I do know that we got quite a lot of anti-Frêche literature during the elections in May (sorry I could not vote!), and I know he was capable of extreme enmity towards those he did not like, hence I am not really sorry that he is gone.  I do believe that anyone in a position of power should act for all, once voted in - in that respect one's orientation, politically, should have no bearing on one's actions for the community one represents (much as an MP should represent all his constituents, regardless of his or his constituents' politics).

The maire in the commune we used to live in was maire for over 25 years, and died shortly after leaving office. (A very nice man, but possibly in office too long.) The new maire has been able to implement quite a lot of changes which were not possible under the old regime.  I do believe that there should be a limit placed on the length of time anyone can serve in office, simply so that new blood is encouraged and that new ideas are allowed to flourish.

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I think my thoughts are best summed up by John Donne :

No man is an island entire of itself; every man

is a piece of the continent, a part of the main;

if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe

is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as

well as any manner of thy friends or of thine

own were; any man's death diminishes me,

because I am involved in mankind.

And therefore never send to know for whom

the bell tolls; it tolls for the

If only  British politicians began to understand that.

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A few more quotations.

Frêche may be best remembered for :

* describing President Nicolas Sarkozy as a "pansy in platform shoes"

* greeting the election of Pope Benedict XVI with the words "I hope he does better than the other idiot [John Paul II]"

* proclaiming that a French football team containing "nine blacks out of 11" when "the norm would be three or four" made him feel "ashamed for this country"

* once remarking: "I've always been elected by a majority of plonkers. That's not about to change."

* declaring that he really should be standing for election in Toulouse, having as a student "screwed 40% of its women".

* declaring that local French politics were really not very hard: you simply increase taxes, build a few schools, "then you get two years of unpopularity, two years of calm, two favourable years with flowers and little birdies, and then you're re-elected. It's all most disconcertingly easy."

* saying "his nose doesn't look very catholic to me" when Laurent Fabius criticised him on the radio.

* saying that "20,000 out of the 30,000 books are useless and need to be destroyed", when asked to support the reopening of the American library in Montpellier.

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[quote user="mpprh1"]

* saying that "20,000 out of the 30,000 books are useless and need to be destroyed", when asked to support the reopening of the American library in Montpellier.


I always wasn't quite sure about him, and whether I thought he was good or bad - but with that one, now I know - bad  - destroying books is unforgiveable! 

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OK, Norman, but destroying books, no matter what the subject is not something I can tolerate - being brought up in my professional life to provide a free, non-censored library service. 

I have no knowledge of the American library in Montpellier, as its far too far away to be going for that purpose alone, and I can understand (perhaps) if it really were so, but still destroying books is, in my world, beyond the pale.

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