Friday, 5 December 2014

I'm so ignorant

It is, I suppose, not entirely surprising that a citizen of one country - in this case, England (or the United Kingdom as it still is for the time being) - should know little about the political minutiae of another country - in this case, France.  Yes, I know the broad brush outlines like the name of the President and that he is left of centre.  Politically, I mean; I have no idea of his sexual leanings and I really don't care.  But when it comes down to the name of political parties across the Channel, I have to admit to almost total ignorance.  I know there is the Front national, the far-right party led by Marine le Pen in succession to her father, and I rather suspect that there is a French Communist party.  The rest, however, is a blank sheet of paper.  This dawned on me while we were sojourning (there's that word again!) en France recently and I have today done a little research.  I almost wish I hadn't bothered.  There seem to be literally dozens of different parties and the government always consists of a coalition of several.

Yesterday evening, at dinner, I admitted my ignorance of German politics to a German Lion and his English wife who were at the same table as the Old Bat and me.  He confirmed my rather hesitant guess that Germany is a federation of states - but even he was unable to tell me exactly how many states although he did reel off there names so he wasn't totally ignorant.

But, reverting to the subject of blank sheets of paper (well, I did use that phrase earlier in this post), I did make another confession last night.  The subject of conversation at the time was chemistry, something about which I am almost as ignorant as I am about French politics.  I confessed that at one time in senior school I, along with the rest of my classmates, sat an end-of-year chemistry exam.  I think I was probably bottom of the table when the marks were announced.  I had just 2% - one mark out of 50.  And that mark was for spelling my name correctly at the top of an otherwise completely blank sheet of paper.  I had not understood one word of the questions!

There was no argument when I announced my decision to give up the subject the following academic year.

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