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The campaign has been dragged to the right by Nicolas  Sarkozy, because:

  1. he believes he needs far-right voters to be able to win;

  2. by focussing on immigration and law 'n' order (and implicitly linking the two) he keeps the media noise away from topics like social and economic problems, where Royal is perceived as stronger than him.

Frankly, I didn't like Royal's initial reaction much. It was to show that she too could speak of the nation and its symbols, that they were not the political property of the far right, so I suppose, in that sense, it was fair enough. However, I think she has more to gain from insisting on social and economic problems.

The bit you quote from the Globe and Mail, though, is more than slanted, it's false:

Ms. Royal has shocked the Socialist rank-and-file by introducing National Front-style ideas: Boot camp for immigrant youth, mandatory singing of the Marseillaise and a focus on crime as a cultural problem.

Boot camp for immigrant youth? Nonsense. Neither "boot camp" nor "immigrant" (which is a shocking short-cut taken by the journalist). Here is Royal's proposal:


Mettre en oeuvre des solutions nouvelles pour extraire les mineurs de la délinquance : suppression des peines de prison pour les mineurs en dehors des cas d'atteintes graves aux personnes ; développement des centres éducatifs renforcés, si besoin avec un encadrement militaire.

Set new solutions working to get minors out of delinquency : abolish prison sentences for minors except in cases of very serious violence to persons; develop reinforced educational centres, with military training personnel if need be.

Her idea (not gladly accepted, it is true, by everyone on the left) is to stop sending juveniles to prison and to send them instead to special education units that may call on military personnel. This has nothing to do with "boot camp", and the association "immigrant youth" = "crime" is exactly typical of the mindset developed by the Front National - it has apparently rubbed off on the journalist.

Mandatory singing of the Marseillaise - what does this mean? To read it, you'd think Royal might be lining up the French before breakfast to make them sing the national anthem. She certainly spoke with approval of singing the Marseillaise, but I'm not aware of any proposition to make it compulsory...

a focus on crime as a cultural problem : I don't know what he's referring to. Royal's proposals (see page linked to above) see crime in a social, economic, and educational context. The racists say, first, crime and immigration go together; second, crime is part of "their" culture (black, Arab, etc). Clearly Royal has suggested nothing of this nature.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sun Apr 15th, 2007 at 05:49:22 AM EST

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