by Jerome a Paris
Sun Jun 17th, 2007 at 09:17:29 AM EST
Dominique Moïsi published a truly sickening article on Friday - fawning, ass licking and abject:
First revolution of the 21st century
Many are making a comparison between the right's triumph today and May 1981, when the left seized power with the election of François Mitterrand. That may be valid in terms of the scale of the victory but does not do justice to the real content and significance of the two events.
In 1981 the left's seizure of power was, initially at least, highly ideological. Animated by a spirit of revenge after being in opposition for the first 23 years of the fifth republic, the new elite in charge of France was anything but pragmatic. It mixed the old socialist elites of the fourth republic with the young énarques - graduates of the Ecole nationale d'administration - who had chosen the leftist camp the way investors buy when the market is low.
Yeah. No power-hungry entourage and no opportunists around Sarkozy. And, of course, no ideology.
The most fascinating in that sentence is how it suggests that the left had an "ideology", which the people that it brought to power did not believe in (so they were really pragmatists, then?); whereas Sarkozy jas no ideology but the people he's bringing in actually believe in what they'll do. So if they really believe it, it's not an ideology, right?
< head explodes >
Mitterrand was already in his late sixties when he came to power. For the pro-Mitterrand 1968 generation, everything was truly possible - even the most stupid economic decisions. The only real constraint of rationality came from the international context, dominated by the worsening cold war.
Hmm - Mitterrand was 61 when he was elected president. Just a small additional note that he was out of touch, 'irrational' and 'stupid', like anything from the left, of course.
France's pro-Sarkozy generation is above all pragmatic. It sees in the election of the new president France's last chance to come to terms with modernity. If "London is in Paris" - that is, if France adopts UK-style economic reforms - it will no longer be necessary to go to work in London to find energy and flexibility.
Sigh. What can one say to that?
In fact, more than May 1981, May 2007 in France evokes May 1997 in Britain, when Mr Blair was elected. The heavy defeat of the French Socialists is reminiscent of that of the British Conservatives. Mr Sarkozy's choice of new ministerial faces that demonstrate the diversity of the new France - including some who are female, north African and black - has echoes too of Mr Blair's Britain.
Yeah, because we never had female, norht African or black ministers before Sarkozy. Not Roger Bambuck. Not Kofi Yamgnane. Not Edith Cression. Not Azouz Begag. Not ....etc...
It is paradoxical to see in France such a radical inversion of traditional images, with the left in the role of the "party of fear" whose only programme is the need to balance Sarkozy, and the right incarnating the "party of hope".
Heh. Funny to read this on the same page of the FT:
Mr Sarkozy said many things to many people during the election campaign, but his principal pre-election profile was not his neoliberalism, which has been meagre and inconsistent, but his tough guy pose against Muslim immigrants. Few have forgotten his hurling the epithet "scum" (racaille) at suburban youths of North African origin who rioted after two boys were electrocuted while evading the police.
In other words, the key to his victory was not the promise of neoliberal reforms that the French generally detest, but a covert subversion of the cordon sanitaire around proto-fascist parties that for decades prevented French conservatives from outflanking the left by allying themselves with the far right. Mr Sarkozy had no need of an electoral alliance with the Front National. His stance on Islam and immigrants massively attracted FN voters and won him the presidency. What he will do in office is anyone's guess.
but no, the left if the 'party of fear'.
There are four crucial challenges he has to meet: reform of the education system to restore competitiveness and creativity; reform of labour and social laws to put France back to work; the successful integration of minorities; and whatever contribution he makes to the refashioning of an opposition necessary for democracy.
Oh. He will even rebuild the left. What a great, great, great man. We're so lucky to have him.
To return to the political and commercial analogies, the country cannot be treated as a company. There is no France Inc, but a "New Britain", with a very strong Latin touch, may be in the making in Mr Sarkozy's France.
I understand this must be satisfactory to read for London-based editors of the FT, but do they really think that this is the message that everybody else in Europe wants to hear?