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Delphine Batho blows the whistle on Hollande

by eurogreen Sat Jul 6th, 2013 at 02:38:43 AM EST

Minister of Ecology of Ayrault's government until she was fired on Tuesday 2nd July, Delphine Batho held a press conference yesterday to give some background on the affair.

She explains that powerful interests are blocking France's energy transition, which was Hollande's electoral policy and which she was working to implement, and that these interests got her fired. I find it sufficiently explosive to merit a diary, though I don't have time to develop the subject.

Here's an extract from Le Monde :

front-paged by afew


Le budget 2014 "marque un tournant par rapport à la volonté de mener à bien la transition écologique. Je n'ai pas accepté cela en silence", a aussi déclaré Mme Batho. "Ce n'était pas hors de notre portée en termes de choix politique." "Ce que je n'accepte pas, ce n'est pas de faire des compromis, c'est le tournant de la rigueur qui ne dit pas son nom et qui prépare la marche au pouvoir de l'extrême droite dans notre pays", a-t-elle encore asséné.

CÉDÉ À "CERTAINES FORCES ÉCONOMIQUES"

Pour justifier ce "tournant", l'ancienne ministre a ensuite accusé le gouvernement d'avoir cédé à "certaines forces économiques qui n'acceptaient pas le niveau d'ambition que [je] fixais pour la transition énergétique". "Ces forces ne se sont pas cachées de vouloir ma tête, mais si le gouvernement avait été solidaire, elles n'y seraient pas parvenues", a-t-elle ajouté.

En tant que ministre de l'écologie et de l'énergie, Delphine Batho a, en effet, été en première ligne sur les dossiers sensibles du gaz de schiste et de la réduction de la part du nucléaire en France. Elle a dû faire face aux industriels et aux pétroliers, notamment mécontents de la manière dont elle a mené le débat national sur la transition énergétique, dont les conclusions sont attendues le 18 juillet.

"Est-il normal que le PDG de Vallourec ait annoncé ma chute prochaine voilà des semaines aux Etats-Unis ? De quelles informations disposait-il pour le savoir ? Comment se fait-il que des conseillers de Matignon disent du mal de moi dans la presse ?" a-t-elle interrogé.

L'ancienne ministre faisait référence à Philippe Crouzet, le président du directoire de Vallourec - leader mondial des tubes sans soudure utilisés pour les techniques de forage en conditions extrêmes, ce qui est le cas pour l'exploitation des huiles et gaz de schiste -, dont la femme, Sylvie Hubac, est la directrice de cabinet de François Hollande. Philippe Crouzet n'avait jamais caché, lors de déjeuners de presse "off", son mécontentement pour la politique écologique menée par Mme Batho. Cet industriel a néanmoins démenti avoir expliqué que "Delphine Batho était un vrai désastre" lors de l'un de ses voyages aux Etats-Unis.

Lire : "Le 'Batho bashing' des pétroliers et des électriciens

"LANCEUSE D'ALERTE"

"C'est sur l'écologie que se concentre l'affrontement avec le monde de la finance. Les forces opposées au changement sont puissantes. Le moment est venu de se mobiliser pour y faire face", a-t-elle alors appelé, revendiquant un statut de "lanceuse d'alerte". "Le temps est venu de reprendre la main du changement, j'appelle la gauche à un sursaut en faveur de l'écologie de l'espoir et des générations futures", a-t-elle ajouté.

Interrogée sur la suite de sa carrière, l'ex-ministre PS, qui est également députée des Deux-Sèvres et qui retrouvera son siège dans un mois, a affirmé n'avoir "pas de projet précis". Elle pense néanmoins apporter "son aide et son expérience" à la fondation de Nicolas Hulot.


The 2014 budget was "a milestone in relation to the will to carry out the ecological transition. I did not accept it in silence," also said Ms Batho. "It was not out of our reach in terms of political choice." "I do can accept the need to compromise, but I can't accept the choice of austerity that dare not speak its name and prepares the road to power of the extreme right in our country," she said firmly.

ATTRIBUTED TO "SOME ECONOMIC FORCES"

To justify this "turning point", the former minister then accused the government of giving in to "certain economic forces that do not accept the level of ambition that [I] had fixed for the energy transition." "These forces made no secret that they wanted my scalp, but if the government had been supportive, they would not have obtained it," she added.

As Minister of Ecology and Energy, Delphine Batho has indeed been on the front line on  the sensitive issues of shale gas and reducing the share of nuclear power in France. She faced up to the industrialists and the petroleum sector, who were especially unhappy with the way she led the national debate on energy transition, whose results are expected on July 18.

"Is it normal that the CEO of Vallourec had announced my future fall, weeks ago, in the United States? What information did he have? How is it that counselors of Matignon [members of the Prime Minister's staff] say bad things about me in the press? " she asked.

The former minister was referring to Philippe Crouzet, Chairman of the Management Board of Vallourec - world leader in seamless tubes used in drilling techniques in extreme conditions, which is the case for the exploitation of oil and shale gas - whose wife, Sylvie Hubac, is the chief of staff Francois Hollande. Philippe Crouzet had made no secret, at "off the record" press lunches, his discontent at Ms Batho's  environmental policy. The industrial has nonetheless denied having said that "Delphine Batho was a disaster" during one of his trips to the United States.

Read: "The 'Batho bashing' oil and electricians

"Whistle blower"

"It's the ecology front that is the focus of confrontation with the world of finance. The forces opposing  change are powerful. The time has come to take action to deal with them", she then called, claiming the status of "whistle blower." "The time has come to take control of change, I call on the Left to take action for the ecology of hope and for future generations," she added.

Asked about the rest of her career, the former PS Minister, who is also member of Parliament for  Deux-Sèvres and will regain her seat in a month, said she had "no specific project." However, she thinks she will provide "help and experience" to Nicolas Hulot's Foundation.

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It's starting to feel more and more here like the U.S. of A; not the U.S. that I used to live in 23 years ago, but the U.S. of today with the corporations ruling everything.
Have you seen the Versailles Court's ruling yesterday censuring Mediapart and ordering them to scrub their site of all references to the Bettencourt recordings?
Will we soon be seeing little drones flying around the streets of Paris?

Hey, Grandma Moses started late!
by LEP on Fri Jul 5th, 2013 at 08:37:59 AM EST
All roads - and data sinks - lead to Wall St and its owners.

Some people are going to be very pissed off when they lose power.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri Jul 5th, 2013 at 11:06:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Did you see, above all, the penalty of 750 million euros a month Médiapart must pay if they don't clear their site of their (full and exemplary) file on Sarkozy and Bettencourt?

It will, of course, be hosted elsewhere, so this is just mindless authoritarianism.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Fri Jul 5th, 2013 at 11:22:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This kind of thing is beginning to wake up the public from its slumber.

It's a good idea to start being really, really careful when that happens.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Fri Jul 5th, 2013 at 12:10:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Let us then hope that our masters proceed with their usual confident arrogance and disdain.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Jul 5th, 2013 at 06:05:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Same US it was 23 years ago or forty years ago when "we" took down Allende for ITT, Whitlam and others for various corporate interests.  The major difference is that not too many countries elevate a real socialist to the top job, relegating a few to lower positions where they can be quickly dumped if corporate feathers are ruffled to much.
by Marie2 on Tue Jul 9th, 2013 at 05:08:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The report on the "Energy transition" public consultation will be published. Batho conducted the exercise in good faith (she had the Energy portfolio as part of the Environment ministry), but was, necessarily, in conflict with the powerful fossil fuel and nuclear lobbies.

If the report is buried by Hollande, as seems likely, then it will be time for the Greens to leave the government. The two ministers are doing excellent and important work, but they have no business being in an austerity government which renounces its ecological ambitions.

The bright side is that it allows preparation of the European elections in better conditions.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Fri Jul 5th, 2013 at 11:39:56 AM EST
How stable will the government be if the Greens leave?

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Jul 5th, 2013 at 06:07:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The absolute majority in the lower house is 289. The PS has 292 seats. EELV have 17, which makes the coalition majority more comfortable.

If the ecologists pulled out, the government majority would be paper-thin.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Jul 6th, 2013 at 02:54:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
count on the PRG grouping too, especially as he drifts rightward. They have 16.

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill
by r------ on Sat Jul 6th, 2013 at 10:35:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The interesting thing about this is that the Greens were not given the Environment ministry, as Delphine Batho is a PS member.

Finance is the brain [tumour] of the economy
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jul 5th, 2013 at 06:11:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Realpolitik: EELV doesn't weigh enough electorally to be able to make demands. Even the 17 seats they have in the Assemblée Nationale are largely grace and favour constituencies granted by the PS. Hollande showed from the start that the Environment ministry was for the PS.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Jul 6th, 2013 at 03:01:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Fired French Minister Says Shale Backers Sought Her Scalp - Bloomberg

Former French Environment Minister Delphine Batho said she lost her job because of her support for a ban on shale drilling and lower dependence on nuclear power.

"The battle crystallized notably on the question of shale gas and more discreetly on the reduction of nuclear in France," Batho said at a press conference yesterday at the National Assembly in Paris. "These forces that I am talking about wanted my scalp."

...Socialist lawmaker Philippe Martin was appointed to replace Batho. He is a longtime critic of hydraulic fracturing for shale oil and gas, which is banned in France, and genetically modified organisms.



*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Jul 5th, 2013 at 02:24:38 PM EST
she has a nice turn of phrase... "the austerity that dare not speak its name"

indeed. because it does not affect certain 'chosen ones'. italy is spazzing out about buying more f-35s for the same reason.

see greece's um, interesting priorities in this regard also.

The power of knowledge is in mortal combat with the knowledge of power. It really is that simple... That's the Edenic apple we are all munching on.

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Fri Jul 5th, 2013 at 04:12:49 PM EST
The French Council of State is about to reverse the moratorium decree on Monsanto GM maize MON 810, on grounds of insufficient legal backing (cough cough). What will the government's attitude be? Will the Agriculture Ministry take out a new decree, or will they cave?


OGM: vers une levée du moratoire sur un maïs Monsanto - Libération
GMOs: towards lifting the moratorium on Monsanto corn - Libération
L'interdiction de cultiver en France le maïs transgénique MON810 produit par la firme Monsanto a été jugée excessive par le rapporteur public lors d'une audience vendredi devant le Conseil d'État, a-t-on appris auprès de l'Union nationale des apiculteurs français (Unaf).The ban on cultivation in France of transgenic MON810 maize produced by Monsanto was considered excessive by the public rapporteur at a hearing Friday before the Council of State, information transmitted by the National Union of French Beekeepers (Unaf).
«Le Conseil va désormais se prononcer, mais il suit généralement l'avis du rapporteur public», a indiqué à l'AFP Olivier Belval, président de l'Unaf."The Council will now reach a verdict, but it usually follows the advice of the public rapporteur", Olivier Belval, President of Unaf, told AFP.
«Nous nous attendons donc à ce que l'arrêté d'interdiction soit cassé, mais nous demandons d'ores et déjà au ministère de l'Agriculture de prendre un nouvel arrêté sur des bases juridiques plus solides afin d'interdire cette culture», a ajouté le représentant des apiculteurs."We therefore expect that the prohibition order will be quashed, but we are already asking the Ministry of Agriculture to issue a new decision on a firmer legal basis to prohibit this maize," said the representative of the beekeepers.
L'arrêté du 16 mars 2012 interdisant la culture du maïs MON810 est contesté devant le Conseil d'État par l'Association générale des producteurs de maïs (AGPM) et une société agricole (EARL de Commenian).The decree of 16 March 2012 prohibiting the cultivation of maize MON810 was challenged before the Council of State by the General Association of Maize Producers (AGPM) and a farm company (EARL of Commenian).

In ecological circles in France, this is a holy cow issue. If Hollande and Ayrault come down on Monsanto's side, that will be seen as a declaration of war by many ecologists. It could split EELV, which is why I fear Hollande/Ayrault may entertain the notion of running with it.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Jul 6th, 2013 at 03:24:25 AM EST
BTW, did someone write a profile of Ayrault for ET? He does a good Darth Vader impersonation but what are the roots of that? On his Wikipedia page, there is nothing on his political positions, only that he used to be Jean Poperen's follower and later was the local party baron of Nantes.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Jul 6th, 2013 at 05:16:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sylvie Hubac, chief of staff to Francois Hollande, is the wife of Philippe Crouzet, Chairman of the Management Board of Vallourec, which would benefit from shale gas drilling! And come the crunch Hollande caves? Why should anyone see this as anything but Kabuki? Does anyone think Hollande is a man of steely resolve?

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Jul 6th, 2013 at 12:46:38 PM EST
Hollande sounds to me like he was the perfect PS candidate for President - from the point of view of the business class. A will 'o the wisp that they can bend to their desires while he discredits PS in the eyes of its supporters. La Troisième Via.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Jul 6th, 2013 at 12:53:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
it's a type, this mild-mannered mushy expedience-pusher that fakes left then tracks right, following with a semi-bashful 'who, me?' disingenuity, as in 'really, i really did suck the lifeblood out of the real left by pretending to be in the fold?, o surely not, i am but a humble fonctionnaire toiling in the vineyard of adaptive politics.'

these borgs are not betrayed by strong egos or fierily fanatic glitters of megalomania a la chavez, they are without marked individual presumption, their function is sheerly dummy one, their strength and use to the system is to siphon votes from the real left by co-opting their language and aspirations, then either diluting them beyond even homeopathic recognition, and/or actually reversing real social progress by obsequiously, dedicatedly serving the continued rule of the 1%, always blaming  external circumstances for having made them compromise their supposed values.

the list is long of these mutants, but the biggest examples are clinton, obama, miliband, hollande and letta, all brilliant in their own way at acting the amiably milquetoast modern liberal, a nice soft sheepskin to cover the predator-enabling.

blair started off in this vein but the iraq war revealed the appalling view of a man unhinging his being from his rationalisations on world tv, step by gruesome step... a metamorphosis more horrible than any dreamed up by kafka as his smile became a leer, his eyes swivelled in abrupt, brutal rotations and his voice gabbled on ever more unctuously insincere as he amped up the hysterical mendacity.

miliband and hollande are entirely charisma free, utterly disposable, totally unremarkable stooges, noteworthy only for their botlike streamlined blandness, their extreme plasticity, and their impeccably fastidious mediocrity, dark agendas camouflaged with a veneer of meekness, peas in a pod really...

 

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sat Jul 6th, 2013 at 08:07:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
blair started off in this vein but the iraq war revealed the appalling view of a man unhinging his being from his rationalisations on world tv, step by gruesome step... a metamorphosis more horrible than any dreamed up by kafka as his smile became a leer, his eyes swivelled in abrupt, brutal rotations and his voice gabbled on ever more unctuously insincere as he amped up the hysterical mendacity.

You have a way with language melo... this is the kind of text that, in a sane world, ought to get the writer institutionalized. In the world of which this is descriptive, sadly it is reality that is in need of white-coat attention...

by mustakissa on Sun Jul 7th, 2013 at 04:56:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
well, 'institutionalised' can have more than one meaning, lol.

being institutionalised, quite simply, didn't help anyone or anything.

blair makes me feel awful to contemplate, it was like watching goethe's Faust unfold in hdtv, every day he is not on the screen,(bush too), is an answer to a prayer... blair was worse, though less scary as bush never had much of a talent for self-analysis, what you saw was wot yer got. blair was like watching surgery with no anesthesia.

now for berlusconi!


'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sun Jul 7th, 2013 at 09:44:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Obama is an improved 'Third Way' leader - just as duplicitous as to who he serves but effective over a wider audience in his deceptions. Add to that the confounding 'pass' he gets from so many on account of the racism in the reaction of so much of the South towards him and he becomes, most likely, the most effective Third Way leader ever - for those whom he truly serves.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun Jul 7th, 2013 at 12:03:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'll argue that the record on Obama is a lot more mixed than that, but that's not the discussion I'd like to have here.

What I want to point out is that as a third-way leader, Obama got power in an incredibly dangerous way.  He didn't take power through advertising and consultants, he did it by mobilizing a massive volunteer army, and teaching them the basics of political organizing and campaigning.

Yeah, not everyone stays in the game.  Yeah, a lot of people get disillusioned.  But there are still more people with democratic experience than before, there are still more people participating in the system than before, and those who do feel like they got burned are going to be a heck of a lot harder to fool with bullshit third-way nonsense the next time.  

by Zwackus on Sun Jul 7th, 2013 at 06:31:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Conflicted.

On the the one hand, systematically selling out their base is the core problem the left has.

On the other, on the merits reducing the dependance on nuclear is idiocy. The kind of thing only done because people have an entirely unwarranted attachment to compromise and applause lights go off in their heads when they hear the word "diversity".

 The downsides to using nuclear power are nearly entirely the result of using it at all - as long as it is a major contributor, you must have waste treatment, you must have a way to keep the operators honest, ect. None of those issues are reduced even a little bit by going from 80 to 50 % nuclear. All you actually accomplish is a reduction in the benefits - more pollution, higher costs, ect.
So as policy, you should either go all in or not bother at all. What was promised during the electoral campaign is just nonsense. Either use nukes, or do not. going halfway is just bad policy.

...I am going to come back around to the honesty problem. If, as a politician you see a bad policy which would get you votes because the electorate have not thought the matter through, you really should not be making empty promises about it. Either try to convince the people, or at least do not campaign on it.

by Thomas on Sun Jul 7th, 2013 at 04:24:46 AM EST
"Conflicted."?
That depends on how many times he comes down against the interests of his base when the conflict involves monied interests. I don't know the answer to this question. If siding with money is or becomes a regular occurrence then he might be described as 'anguished' but not conflicted. Of what benefit is hand wringing to his base?

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sun Jul 7th, 2013 at 12:14:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That was not a description of Hollande, that was a description of my reaction. I realize this was not sufficiently clear. My apologies.
by Thomas on Sun Jul 7th, 2013 at 02:49:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Thomas:
If, as a politician you see a bad policy which would get you votes because the electorate have not thought the matter through, you really should not be making empty promises about it. Either try to convince the people, or at least do not campaign on it.

Unfortunatley those that do what is necessary to be elected stays in the game, and others sort themselves out. So the sorting process goes against honesty.

I see a referendum institute like the Swiss one as a check on this behaviour. Campainging on what people want to hear gets a politician elected, but to get to enact the policies the politician wants to, convincing the electorate is also necessary. Or at least they can't be convinced of the opposite of what the politician wants to enact.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Sun Jul 7th, 2013 at 02:54:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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