Why this Blog?

A place where I can lament the changing times; for eccentric comments on current affairs and for unfashionable views, expressed I hope, in cogent style; also occasional cris de coeur largely concerned, I regret to say, with myself.


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Monday 11 February 2008

A French Farce

President Nicolas Sarkozy of France was elected last May, with 53% of the vote, suggesting, as political commentators observed at the time that the populace had decided that it was time for a significant change. Sarkozy promised a radical upheaval and that is what the French have had, although not perhaps the upheaval they voted for.

Given the state of the country's finances, with public debt the wrong side of 60% of GNP, Sarkozy has been obliged to substitute hyper-activity for promise-fulfilment. He has "jetted" everywhere and like the oily Tony Blair, has something to say on everything. This has led to a degree of "discomfort" in his party, the UMP and accusations of his behaving like Louis XIV, "The Sun King". After all, as one might have asked of Blair, "what are ministers for?

A certain amount of "face" has been lost by the government's backing-down in the case of the taxi-drivers, who mounted a typical French protest, blocking roads around Paris - just the thing to revive the economy - I felt a degree of sympathy for the government on this one - after all there have been mini-cabs in London since 1958 (this is what all the fuss was about).

His public wooing and winning (for now?) of Carla Bruni has been most unseemly in the eyes of the French public, who traditionally expect a degree of discretion from their public figures and I am sure that many are looking back to erstwhile President Chirac - described as "The Crook" at the time of the 2002 elections - who, whilst he effectively did virtually nothing, did it in a dignified and presidential way.

Sarkozy made his name originally as Mayor of Neuilly a smart Parisian suburb. A row has now brewed up over the candidacy of one David Martinon for the mayoralty of Neuilly.

Latest polls suggest that Sarkozy's approval ratings are going down like the Titanic.

One wonders for how long France can remain the sixth economy in the world; but politicians are great survivors: their ability to "tough" out - their sheer resilience (or bloody cheek you might say) has never failed to amaze me.

Once again thanks to the International Herald Tribune's rolling news feed you can read all about it.

Until the next time

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