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Two observations come to mind

  1. Lets not forget how unpopular the 35-hour work week was in 98 among businesses and right-wing economists AND then how popular it became among workers by 02. I never saw global statistical data but lots of anecdotal evidence at the time of the 02 election that it was the primary reason that Jospin carried only 10% of working class votes. So from whatever direction you do it, its good politics to criticize the 35 hours.

  2. The bigger point -- I am not sure "left" and "right" are very helpful in this context (or any). I don't mean by that any "end of ideology" nonsense but that in terms of both political culture and political sociology, western democracies -- and especially France, especially for the 07 Presidential election -- can't be divided neatly into left and right.

I see the anology clearly to Hilary Clinton's recent speeches, but while  Clinton  does have to, as Jerome puts it, hope the left comes along (in the sense of more liberal Democratic voters), but its not clear to me that Royal does. She may be banking on not picking up the "true left" (as the FT would have it) in the first round -- or much of it in the second.

Given how wide open Sarkozy (and for that matter Fabius) has left the center, one would be a fool not to run for it at full speed.

All that said, I simply am not close enough at the moment to sense how middle-class, middle of the road voters will react to the more hard-core condemnation of teenagers and parents with which Royale made news earlier in the week. I do know lots of teachers who in 02 turned surprisingly to the center or right because of "insecurity" in the form of what they called unruly, badly raised and dangerous students. I wonder if Royale here is trying to win back that constituency, which presumably remains an important one in any presidential election.

A final question -- at this point, is it clear that the "primaires" of the PS will take place in December? or is this speech a sign that Royale might be looking, as Fabius reportedly has been, at running outside the PS?

by desmoulins (gsb6@lycos.com) on Tue Jun 6th, 2006 at 11:32:28 AM EST

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