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Bingo! Online help to stop arguments

Online "Family Meal Kit" offers 24 pro-French Government cut-out-and-keep responses to common criticism

26 December 2014

DID your family Christmas dinner descend into a political argument? Perhaps you should have downloaded the French government’s “argument bingo kit”.

The “Family Meal Kit”, which is still available either as a smartphone app or as a printable version and intended to help anyone hosting a festive meal calm political arguments before they get out of control, was downloaded many times since its launch on Christmas Eve, France Info has reported.

But officials not been able to give a definitive number of downloads, the news website said.

The kit offers 24 pro-Government counter-arguments to regularly repeated criticism of Francois Hollande’s Presidency.

In a few sentences, the interactive handbook addresses topics - including school reform, Sunday working, immigration and unemployment - likely to cause heated arguments at any big get-together, but was released just before Christmas to prevent the annual family feast turning into an over-the-turkey row.

The kit suggests - in response to the suggestion that France is “ruined” - pointing out that the country is the fifth biggest economic power in the world and French people were awarded two Nobel prizes this year.

And it advises countering anti-immigration arguments by saying that “Between 2004 and 2012, 200,000 immigrants entered each year in France, representing 0.3% of the average annual population ... This is the lowest proportion in Europe.”

Unsurprisingly, it has drawn criticism from political opponents. UMP députée Laure de La Raudière promptly renamed the government website “propaganda.gouv.fr” and declared the argument bingo kit as “outrageous propaganda”.

The Government Information Service has a history of presenting information in unusual ways. Manuel Valls’ reform plans were presented as a Hobbit-style Middle Earth map, and last month, it declared war on the “dark side of climate change” with a Star Wars-style announcement.

Photo: Screengrab / www.gouvernement.fr

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