How much attention do members of French Parliament pay to extreme exclusion?
To mark World Day to Overcome Extreme Poverty on Tuesday, October 17, the association Les Oubliés de la République is publishing its first parliamentary barometer. This tool, produced in partnership with Saper Vedere, measures the importance French parliamentarians attach to the issue of extreme exclusion. The exercise confirms a sadly marginal interest in the hundreds of thousands of our fellow citizens who come from the child welfare system, who live on the streets, or who represent marginalized groups such as sex workers.
The Les Oubliés de la République, an initiative of The Good Lobby, organizes and promotes a public voice for the most excluded members of society (homeless people, sex workers and victims of human trafficking, children in social service care) with political leaders, starting with members of parliament.
The collective was formed on the basis of a shared concern: in political debate, the plight of vulnerable and isolated people is not given the place it deserves.
Wishing to confirm this perception with actual figures, Les Oubliés de la République worked with the Saper Vedere agency, which has developed a monitoring and analysis platform, Follaw.sv. With the help of this tool, we now have an objective assessment of the marginal place occupied by the subjects of extreme exclusion in parliamentary debates.
Based on a series of informal queries, Saper Vedere analyzed government bills, legislative proposals tabled by French deputies and senators, and written questions put by parliamentarians, between 2017 and 2023. The twitter communication of French MPs between June 2022 and June 2023 was also analyzed.
Key findings of this barometer:
1. For people suffering severe exclusion, marginality strikes twice: already “invisible” in society, they are then relegated to the sidelines of public debate.
The worst off are the homeless, even though the President of the Republic had begun his first term of office by expressing the wish that they should all be rehoused by the end of the quinquennium. Their plight has prompted 2 legislative proposals since 2017, which have not been examined, i.e. 0.2% of texts in 2018 and 0.1% in 2023; no parliamentary initiative during the two years of confinement, which have been particularly hard on those without shelter..
2. There is a “legislative effect” when the Government decides to take up a subject and puts it to the vote in Parliament, there is a ripple effect, with an increase in initiatives.
The fate of children in social service care illustrates this effect, albeit at a very relative level: after the passage of the Taquet law in 2021, there was a significant increase in the number of texts tabled concerning them, between 2021 and 2023, with a total of 20 texts tabled: 7 texts in 2021 (1.2% of texts), 8 in 2022 (1%) and 5 in 2023 (0.72%).
3. MPs’ interest in victims of extreme exclusion varies widely according to the political group to which they belong, but appears to be relatively more pronounced among LFI and RN members.
These two groups alone asked 80 of the 120 questions recorded on homelessness between June 2022 and June 2023; the housing crisis is the main angle of attack; on Twitter, 36 LFI MPs and 21 RN MPs commented on the subject between June 2022 and June 2023.
You can find the full barometer here.
You can find coverage on the initiative here.