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Issues I see:

  1. Besson is correct that the PS has been weak during the last opposition period, but I don't know if Sego is as to blame for that as much as Jospin.

  2. We all here kind of sneakily hoped that Sego could do the impossible: Reunite a shattered left and sweep to power against a well-presented candidate from the right with lots of friends in the media (Sarko.)

I'll still live in hope, but we should realise what a tall order it is. I think blaming Sego too much for structural problems on the left is maybe not productive.

3) Structural problems I see include:

a) the failures of some on the left to engage a constituency who are being excluded economically. Many of them are not as concerned with immigration as Le Pen, but it seems only he is engaging with them about their economic decline.

b) There is still no compact (as evidenced by the Le Pen-Chirac second round) that unites many factions.

4) Bayrou may yet rattle Sarkozy, which would be good for democracy even if it doesn't end up helping Sego. Someone has to get in the way of this media snowball. If they do not, I fear Sarko is going to get in and be given a "media mandate" to deeply change France on a "business" blueprint.

If that's what the people want, then fair enough, but seeing random interviews on UK TV with people who watched "Sego's big performance" and pronounced themselves "unconvinced" and "disappointed" with her, it's not at all clear to me that people understand the deeply corporation centric things Sarko wants to do.

by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Wed Feb 21st, 2007 at 02:25:15 PM EST
1). There have been weaknesses, also strengths (good showing in local/regional elections. But by and large Besson is right, imo. I don't think Ségo bears any great responsibility for that. A lot has to do with figureheads ducking down and waiting for the next big election. Certainly Jospin with his fake retirement did that, and Martine Aubry skipped out to take over Lille and did not defend her 35 hours reform that has been appallingly taken to the cleaners in public opinion. DSK is another one who sat back too much, imo. These are times when I think the Westminster Shadow Cabinet tradition is good -- make the Opposition stand up and fight. (There is no such arrangement in France).

2). That may yet happen. The divisions that can be felt now are no longer on the oui/non line-up, which at least is progress.

3). Engaging the excluded. No one is really doing that. Le Pen gives some unhappy people illusions (his economic "programme" is so astoundingly liberal they would be very unhappy indeed). The terrible thing to say is that the excluded don't decide elections.

b) I don't quite get the point about a compact. Which factions?

4) I wish Royal and the Socialists would shape up and get a good fight going against the media. It would take both because the party can bring in some weight and experience, and she can still provide a fresh image if she adapts her communication to the changing conditions of the campaign. Meanwhile, Bayrou is having a good whack at media bias (except of course he makes out it's in favour of both major candidates, which is fair enough, it's his game to be the honest little guy squeezed in the middle).

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Feb 21st, 2007 at 03:39:56 PM EST
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