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She's also stealing the bread of Sarkotte with new incursion on his territory (like "convicted foreigners shoult be ousted out of the country after jail" a.k.a. "double sentencing", which Sarkozy abolished to gain some moral higher ground on the left...).

And also traditional lefty nonsense like "the GSP is bad because we need huge deficits to invest in the future" (when all of France's deficit is structural, just budgetary indiscipline and clientelism, little investment there). That there are a few buzz-words and signals ringing bells here is no clear indication to me that any candidate really his new blood. And those signals don't make it through the MSM filter anyway: they're all about diverting the masses from the real problems with such side-issues as the gay marriage (which nobody cares about except the gay themselves, and probably everybody believes it's a waste of time to spend so much MP time changing laws to give them more legal guarantees of rights they already have de facto in our liberal society ... at least I do think it's a waste of time we should postpone for better days, but I must be reactionary)

I don't know what to think of this campaign: both candidates are total super-spinners saying hard-left and hard-right nonsense at the same time to cover the whole spectrum of voters. And I don't know what the voters will think of it. Only thing I'm pretty sure about: going this way, Le Pen will be on the 2nd round if he lives that old...

Pierre

by Pierre on Fri Jun 23rd, 2006 at 05:26:27 AM EST
Jerome still owes me a "Countdown to President Le Pen" diary (or series thereof).

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 23rd, 2006 at 05:29:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
about the fact that saying both hard-left and hard-right nonsense at the same time seems to work to make you appear centrist...

Unless someone like Strauss-Kahn beats Royal in the PS primary, there might be an interesting Bayrou surprise next year.

As to Le Pen, I have NO doubt whatsoever that he will be in the second round next year (and if he's dead, it will be Le Pen Jr'ette, his daughter).

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri Jun 23rd, 2006 at 10:43:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm pretty hopeless for anyone but Ségo to make through the PS primaries. Militants will just "vote efficient" and pick the one given the best chance nation-wide, in the polls.

I don't know if Bayrou should be considered a good or a bad surprise. The guy is pretty tasteless, and I stil don't understand what's his programme. I'm not sure he stands a chance against Royal: he's on the "Democrat-Christian" pitch, more and more left-leaning, but that's exactly where Ségo is already. Will voters choose the real one or the fake ? err, Which one is it again ? doh !

Bayrou will get his 10% and jump around the place merrily. He may well be Sarkotte's Chevenement, after what UMP will corner him in every possible local/MP election until UDF is obliterated just like the MdC.

As for Marine Le Pen, I can't see her claiming the electoral inheritance of her father, certainly not in full. So let's hope the old fart passes away.

Pierre
by Pierre on Fri Jun 23rd, 2006 at 11:07:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
How does the PS primary work?

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 23rd, 2006 at 11:10:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It doesn't.

Politburo made a programme.
All candidates said they 100% adhere to the programme (with their fingers crossed, and claiming "different priority rankings" like DSK).
Militant vote will pick one just like they did for the constitution.
Then a few more candidates will go maverick, just like for the constitution (Lang, Fabius, may be Emmanuelli or Montebourg...)
Total mess.

Pierre

by Pierre on Fri Jun 23rd, 2006 at 11:16:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This is ridiculous. The least they could do is make the program after selecting the candidate.

How does the militants' vote take place? Is there a Party Congress? How long will the campaigning for the militants last?

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 23rd, 2006 at 11:19:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Actually, I don't know more details. I'm not sure they're settled. I suspect they're waiting to gain time and to see the landscape shaping on their left:
  • The far left has decided to go solo (Besancenot, Laguiller, and Buffet separately), which means they are politically dead because after 2002 no-one will vote for them on 1st round.
  • Which means Buffet (PC) could still possibly be dissuaded to run by including PC in a left platform
  •  and then there is the unknown of the greens, who can't make up their mind for their candidate: either Voynet (which the PS could try to buy into a platform), or Cochet (who is pretty much a Pol-pot style agrarian revolutionary peaknik to me - call me a techno-fascist)


Pierre
by Pierre on Fri Jun 23rd, 2006 at 11:27:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Getting Buffet on-side will be a big thing for the first round and is worth doing for that, though given the way the polls look for Ségolène (a CSA-Marianne I remember seeing a while back) I'm not sure it's that important given she's polling near 30% in first round intentions and only Sarko is anywhere near (I don't think even Le Pen passes the 10% bar anymore).

This could all change though if (or more when) Fabius decides he doesn't care that the militants choose Royal, he's creating his own campaign. Have to see how that plays though if you get him and another or two doing this then the left side will need to be pulled back together, and Buffet would give this some credibility.

But while we're talking about the possiliblty of fracture on the left, I think it also quite possible a large fracture on the right may well open up. Sarko may be the obvious standard bearer for them, but it remains to be seen whether large segments of the French right are ready for Alain Madelin, who is who I thought I was hearing when Sarko was speaking today. Bayrou may do better than we expect, and not only Bayrou. A perfect storm like in '02 but on the right? Probably not, but I suspect the fracturing on that side may be more than we're thinking today.

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Fri Jun 23rd, 2006 at 12:25:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
He polls at 15% in the confidential RG studies. He was at 8% at that same period in 2001 in similar polls.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri Jun 23rd, 2006 at 12:58:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I was thinking since Sarko is stealing so much of his aging rhetorical thunder that he might not end up holding his audience of forains and associated as well as he had in the past.

Christ, is anyone not racaille?

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Fri Jun 23rd, 2006 at 01:03:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Why do you think that he is stealing anything?

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri Jun 23rd, 2006 at 01:36:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's not so much what he says (he sounds like Alain Madelin to me today for instance) but how he says it that adopts the same tone which is attractive to the same demographic with which Le Pen typically does well.

I know the genre fairly well, some of my wife's family are forains and it's a core demo, imho similar to a few others (indépendants of all sorts, really) and esp in PACA it's a powerful demographic, explaining why the Front has done very well there for so long.

And Sarko plays well with these. Put Le Pen's rhetorical tone on Madelin's economic policies and there's a demographic which will be voting for Sarko instead of Le Pen.

Just a hunch.

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Fri Jun 23rd, 2006 at 02:09:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That's what Sarkozy aiming for, in any case, but I'm skeptical.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri Jun 23rd, 2006 at 02:25:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Fair enough.

I'm actually thinking your other scenario about Bayrou will come to pass, especially if Sarkozy overdoes it. I'm skeptical too of Sarko's appeal when is so explicit about the neo-liberal talk as was much of what he was quoted as saying in Le Monde today. Not so sure that appeals to as many traditional RPR-style supporters as one might think - after all, Madelin polls what, 3%, tops? However, it does appeal to a certain core Le Pen supporter. Certainly not all, but many.

I'm thinking Bayrou could surprise by mopping up some of those turned off by this neo-liberal rhetoric. I'm suspecting there will be more than a few.

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Fri Jun 23rd, 2006 at 02:55:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
more clearly, for some one who knows a bit about French politics and society, but doesn't have such a sophisticated grasp.

Also, what is Sarko's appeal? I don't understand why a country that was 70% against DeVillepin's measures would vote for him.

by Ben P (wbp@u.washington.edu) on Sun Jun 25th, 2006 at 02:29:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The single most important determining factor in this election is whether the losers in the Socialist primary accept the choice of the militants or not.

If they do, the winner has a good chance of being elected. It will get a good score in the first round (thanks to "2002 remorse" votes from many who voted leftie back then and will vote for the "useful" candidate in the first round to avoid a repeat of 2002), and a strong chance against Sarkozy, who will be dragged down by the totally discredited state of the right following the pathetic last few years.

If they don't, then we'll have dispersion of the votes on the left, and a Le Pen vs Sarkozy second round.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Fri Jun 23rd, 2006 at 11:22:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm pretty sure that Fabius will candidate whatever the choice of the Socialist Party members... and jeopardise Ségolène's chances to be on the second round...

"Dieu se rit des hommes qui se plaignent des conséquences alors qu'ils en chérissent les causes" Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet
by Melanchthon on Sun Jun 25th, 2006 at 04:07:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Much of the deficit may be structural but there's a reason it's still there. Are you suggesting the slaughter of a few sacred cows? Know of any which might be electorally very palatable in Germany or in France?

On the other hand, it is true that the GSP is restrictive of necessary investments. 3% is hardly sufficient for the tasks at hand, one of which is full EU integration (and not just economic, but social as well) which, in the long run, should spur growth throughtout the Community. And suggesting that politically less than feasible budgetary choices are the only way to make room for such investments is to my mind not responsible. I would imagine there might be creative ways to make funding available in a fashion which would be growth-accountable rather than the classic mountain of butter and sea of olive oil scenarios.

I'd counsel pursuing growth first, then go after sacred cows. People tend not to notice a cow or two gone missing when the total number of cows is growing for everyone.

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Fri Jun 23rd, 2006 at 12:00:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Increasing taxes on the wealthy could go a long way towards allowing greater investments while keeping the books balanced. [And note I said wealthy, not high earners, although one could do that too]

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 23rd, 2006 at 12:01:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, I remember computing once on the back of an envelope that one half of french sovereign debt was in the hand of the french themselves (either directly or through funds or regulated savings schemes like "Livret A" and all the gizmos of Caisse des Dépôts et Consignation), and that conversely one half of the savings of the wealthy french were in french debt.

So it should be livable to cancel at least that half of the debt, without pissing of trade partners too much, and  the "french wealthy" would still be well off, on average... :->>

Not a very politically correct way of "adjusting", huh ? Then there is the "good old soft way" of cancelling debt: 25% inflation. But then we have to get out of the € (or the BCE must change it's policies), and I'm not sure any of these would really pay off in the long run (you know, when we're dead).

Seriously, with the rates going up again, we can't afford more debt. Lenders just won't lend anymore. And there will be no real growth to repay it, ever. State must save, just like anyone.

Pierre
by Pierre on Fri Jun 23rd, 2006 at 12:12:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
or the BCE must change it's policies.

Absolutely.

And it doesn't need to be 25%, but a 3% target with tolerance of up to 5% or so during the natural turbulence of Euro integration, absolutely, in addition to explicit employment targetting as well.


The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Fri Jun 23rd, 2006 at 12:34:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
or the BCE must change it's policies.

... absolutely, in addition to explicit employment targetting as well.

So you don't think giving the EU a social leg is a bad idea.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 23rd, 2006 at 12:41:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Not hardly!

And in the interim period of integration, I'd advocate helping pay for it on the new entrants' behalf. What's the point of project Europe project if not?

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill

by r------ on Fri Jun 23rd, 2006 at 12:53:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Have you taken the Political Compass test, by the way?

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 23rd, 2006 at 12:55:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yes, I have, and you?

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill
by r------ on Fri Jun 23rd, 2006 at 12:57:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Follow the link...

and add your score at the bottom.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 23rd, 2006 at 01:03:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I can't figure out how to add it. I score -9.5, -5.74.

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill
by r------ on Fri Jun 23rd, 2006 at 01:08:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Click on the "edit page" link on the margin.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 23rd, 2006 at 01:09:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Done. Don't know if I did it right, but it's in there anyhow.

The Hun is always either at your throat or at your feet. Winston Churchill
by r------ on Fri Jun 23rd, 2006 at 01:24:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
State must save, just like anyone

Legalizing prostitution and cannabis would make the State so rich ...

by Alex in Toulouse on Fri Jun 23rd, 2006 at 01:09:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So why is the Dutch government not swimming in cash?

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 23rd, 2006 at 01:10:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Because Dutch prostitutes are too stoned most of the time.
by Alex in Toulouse on Fri Jun 23rd, 2006 at 01:12:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
(supposing that prostitutes would earn the state a lot more money than cannabis would)
by Alex in Toulouse on Fri Jun 23rd, 2006 at 01:15:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
One thing just came to mind, I'm not well aware of the Dutch system, but I believe that the State there does not control cannabis production?

I was thinking of a Seita-like approach here in France. By which the State grows the stuff, packages the stuff, sells the stuff, and on top of all that taxes the stuff (for social security or whatever other good reason they could find). And I'm not even necessarily talking about packaged joints, because that's nocive ... even chewing gum will do.

According to INSERM & SOFRES studies, there are an estimated 2 million regular cannabis smokers in France (and 3 million occasional), "regular" meaning god knows what as no quantity/regularity studies have ever been made. But judging from friends who used to be heavy smokers but who are now reasonable due to having work/children etc, I would say that regular, at an average/working age, would mean 2 joints a day.

A joint (or gum) could easily yield a 90% profit margin (including 60% tax). Sell it at 1.11 euro piece, and that's a 1 euro profit a take. Or 4 million euros a day for the State. or 1.5 billion a year on regular users only.

Ok I'm off to watch the match now, alala Togo or not Togo.

by Alex in Toulouse on Fri Jun 23rd, 2006 at 01:33:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ok I still have 10 minutes Togo.
1.5 billion won't make the State dirt-rich. Cannabis could additionally be sold in, say, spice shops (under govt brands) to flavour foods, etc. A nice marketing campaign for new cannabis cheese and other recipes, and all of France could be stoned within one generation.

Ok now I think I should really get going.

by Alex in Toulouse on Fri Jun 23rd, 2006 at 01:36:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In fact, yesterday the Dutch parliament was unable to pass through a proposal to start an experiment with governmentally regulated cannabis production, to cut off illegal cannabis factories that have been sprouting everywhere. Right now, the Dutch policy on soft-drugs is nothing short of schizophrenic: they condone purchase and smoking of soft-drugs, but pursue a zero-tolerance on the growth of cannabis and the selling of it to drugshops... It's enough to make you head spin 360 degrees.

Now in a weasselly move, the right-wing liberal VVD party decided to play nice with the government (of which they're part). The parliamentary proposal was in a direct collision course with Minister of Justice, Donner, who has been a strident opponent of anything that looks like legalisation, also claiming it would be unacceptable within the European framework. He threatened to resign if parliament would push through. Opposition parties PvdA (Labour) and others who've been working for nearly a year on the experimental project are, unsurprisingly, furious.

by Nomad on Sat Jun 24th, 2006 at 05:01:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
As for pursuing growth first... Growth for how many?

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jun 23rd, 2006 at 12:07:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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