Sitting on the stairs opposite the French embassy in the afternoon I enter my final debate. We are watching as a huge trail of French people queue around the embassy and back again waiting to vote. The amount of people is astonishing. I later learn from my contact Elise, at FUNDESO who spent an hour and a half in the queue, that she joined other voters recruited by desperate embassy staff to count the piles of votes until way beyond midnight.
A phenomenal 85% voted in the French general elections. We watch as all kinds of people of all ages release huge sighs of relief as they leave the embassy; this is a huge success for political engagement. The questions of the weekend follow me and continue, the politics PhD students I am with wonder how it is possible for the U.K, a monarchy, to talk about citizenship when the British are subjects and not citizens? “The U.K. is a constitutional monarchy”, I hear myself say. These simple, fascinating and, often wonderfully difficult questions have made this such a valuable experience and so refreshing.
I still have lots of unanswered questions to take back with me………….