So it's just as well for them that the Australian media has barely reported the recent riots in France. First, there was a violent demonstration by Chinese in Paris against ethnic crime in the multicultural suburbs there. And now we have rioting by hundreds of Muslim youths in Grenoble (picture below).
Grenoble is an ancient city at the foot of the French Alps, first mentioned in 43 BC. The town was visited by the Roman Emperor Gratian in the fourth century and was renamed in his honour. The most famous of French knights, Bayard ("the knight without fear and beyond reproach"), came from the region.
How did the recent riot there start? It appears that two North African men robbed a nearby casino. The police gave chase, the robbers fired on the police wounding one officer and one of the fugitives was killed in the ensuing shoot out.
That then led to rioting by hundreds of Muslim youths. Dozens of cars and shops were burnt, buses and trams were held up by gangs of youths brandishing baseball bats and bars and a service station was looted. Shots were fired at the police.
Not exactly what you'd expect in a utopia. As it happens, even the EU recognises that there is a problem in Grenoble. In a document looking at causes of Islamic radicalism in Europe, we are told,
Grenoble is presently (2007-08) the scene of a high-level and bloody mafia war involving second-generation North Africans: the field of potential violence is taken by non-political forms of radicalisation. (p.23)
And if readers are at all inclined to think of the North Africans in Grenoble as a hard done by minority, then they might like to look at this video (I'm not sure how to embed it, has some NSFW ads). It shows a street scene in Grenoble in which it is clearly the North Africans picking on the locals rather than vice versa.
Anyway, if I were a left-winger I don't think I'd be so confident about picking France as my model country. It's still the land of burning cars and no go areas. There must be a better example of social democracy in action somewhere in Europe.
On the left: a statue in Grenoble of the famous knight Bayard:
As a soldier, Bayard was considered the epitome of chivalry and one of the most skillful commanders of the age ... to his contemporaries and his successors, he was, with his romantic heroism, piety, and magnanimity, the fearless and faultless knight (le chevalier sans peur et sans reproche).