by Jerome a Paris
Wed Jan 31st, 2007 at 01:17:21 PM EST
|Nicolas Sarkozy rend hommage à Tony Blair|
"Il ne s'agit pas de plaquer un modèle qui n'est pas le nôtre. Mais en même temps, Tony Blair est un homme dont le pragmatisme a été très utile à son pays", a-t-il ajouté.
"Les socialistes européens devraient être fiers de ce qu'a fait l'un des nôtres", a-t-il poursuivi avant de rectifier : "l'un des leurs."
|Nicolas Sarkozy praises Tony Blair.|
"This is not about copying wholesale a model which is not ours. But at the same time we have to take note that Tony Blair's pragmatism was very useful to his country."
"European Socialists should be proud of what one of us has done", he said, before correcting, "one of them."
bumped, and updated with big additional comment below
The Guardian has more, and takes advantage of this trip to repeat all the lies that we've been hearing for the past 10 years:
Sarkozy's London mission: meet Blair, polish the image and woo the crucial expat vote
The centre-right interior minister, keen to temper his image as a populist hard-man and appeal to workers on the left, will lunch with Tony Blair, whom he has praised for "an ability to rally the left while seducing part of the right".
Does the Guardian actually believes that Tony Blair appeals to "workers on the left"? He's been brilliant enough to make sure that they had no choice but him, but that's hardly "appealing to them". Sarkozy has a real adversary on his left, unlike Blair.
Mr Sarkozy's choice of London for his first foreign trip since launching his presidential campaign is seen as deeply symbolic. He is keen to present an image of himself as an international statesman, a friend of Mr Blair and close to the US-British alliance.
Oh please continue to show yourself close to the Bush-Blair alliance. It has little to do these days in either case with US or British pulbic opinion, and I doubt it will gain you many friends in France. So by all means continue to show yourself with war criminals.
However, on a trip to Washington last year his declaration that he was proud to be a "friend of America" received a hostile response back home and he has restated his long-held opposition to the war in Iraq. But he is also desperate for new allies in the EU and his intentions to shake up France's sclerotic economy has led him to favour aspects of the "Anglo-Saxon" model, which many in France dread.
OK, here we go. "desperate for new allies" seems to be the only authorised description of French (or German, for that matter) leaders in the UK press - even in the Guardian, it would seem.
"sclerotic" seems to be the only authorised description of the French economy - despite the fact that its growth per capita since 1994 is essentially identical to that in the UK
This afternoon he will tour a London job centre in a clear show of support for the British economic system, notably its looser labour market and ability to create 2.5m jobs in 10 years, while France is battling with high unemployment. "He is keen to see what he can learn from a British job centre," his spokeswoman said.
And I give you 2.5 million jobs created in 10 years - in fact, 2m of them in the 5 years when Lionel Jospin was Prime Minister:
left is the unemployment rate
right is the total number of jobs in the private sector
left is total number of jobs in France and the UK (base 1994)
right is the evolution of active population in both countries (base 1994)
Supposedly rigid labor markets - and the introduction of the widely despised 35-hour week - have created more jobs than the "looser" ones in the UK - which in fact is creating on public sector jobs these days...
number of jobs
thin line: in public administrations
thick line: outside public administration
When will that be said loudly and acknowledged in the media? You'd think that the Guardian, which used to be a lefty paper, would care about facts...
(Strangely enough, the French graph looks really similar to the US story, with Clinton follwoed by Bush...):
After a visit to Churchill's cabinet war rooms, Mr Sarkozy will then address 2,000 French expatriates at a rally in central London. He has often spoken of the need to lure back to France the hundreds of thousands of highly qualified graduates who have moved to Britain, fleeing unemployment and a sluggish economy. But his courting of the London diaspora is part of a concerted effort by his ruling centre-right party to woo the 800,000 potential voters outside France who could swing a close-run second round.
Between 200,000 and 300,000 French people live in Britain and around 60,000 have registered to vote in the spring presidential election. With an average age of 29, most are part of a brain drain from France's universities and many work in the City. "France is in the process of becoming a country of emigration," Thierry Mariani of Mr Sarkozy's UMP party has warned.
"unemployment" "sluggish", "brain drain". Again, the usual clichés. Again, they are false.
Youth unemployment - when compared to population, not just to active population, is basically identical (at 8%) in the big economies:
Meanwhile, the UK has the largest net outflow of graduates to other developed economies of all developed economies, while France has the highest total net inflow of graduates (taking into account inflows form the rest of the world) of the big European economies:
So sure, there are a lot of French bankers - and bakers - in London, but they are not the whole story.
Mr Sarkozy is also keen to win back the youth vote that is currently tipped towards his socialist rival Ségolène Royal, who has focused on internet campaigning.
Mr Sarkozy has taken advice from Mr Blair on policy and the euro but also on how to run his campaign, prompting the media to question how far his spin and media offensive is modelled on the New Labour machine. Some commentators have even wondered whether Mr Blair has inspired a new trend in France of politicians being photographed in their swimming trunks.
Sans commentaire. What has politics come to?
Although Mr Sarkozy has made speeches saying the French must learn English, he has struggled with the language himself, failing to get a qualification from one of Paris's elite post-graduate colleges because his marks in English were too low. Mr Blair speaks to him in French, using the familiar "tu" form of address.
Catherine Nay, author of a new biography of Mr Sarkozy, told the Guardian: "Among all the European leaders, he likes and admires Mr Blair a lot. When Cherie Blair comes to Paris she has dinner at Mr Sarkozy's interior ministry. The two men see each other on their holidays and for lunch."
At least, it's clear who is senior in that relationship. The poodle's poodle. Sweet.
But the once square Nicolas Sarkozy has reinvented himself as a moon-walking, jive-talking disco fiend courtesy of a popular website, discosarko.com The site, which was launched in December, has attracted about 4,000 hits a day as people click on options such as KC and the Sunshine Band's Shake Your Booty to laugh as a computer-generated Sarkozy delivers a performance somewhere between John Travolta and Mr Bean.
But the mocking site is in fact part of an effort by Mr Sarkozy's marketeers to make him seem in touch with the times. It is also a tool for collecting the contact details of potential supporters.
Arnaud Dassier, whose company manages part of Mr Sarkozy's cyber campaign, said the candidate himself gave the green light for his disco alter ego, after asking his wife Cecilia what she thought of it.
A spokeswoman from Mr Sarkozy's office said although the site was run by young "sarkonautes" who supported the candidate, it was "not at all being run by Mr Sarkozy's campaign headquarters".
Ah, the spontaneous blogging of the right...
So, to sum up:
- Sarkozy dutifully admires the supposedly superior English model
- he is proudly subversient to the leader of his neo-liberal camp in Europe, Tony Blair
- he is doing his darnedest best not to be an arrogant French, and is keen to spin.
Way to go Sarko. And way to go, the Guardian. You one of "us" too, now, right?