The French government is in for an interesting summer.
The former EADS exec Gergorin, aka Le Corbeau, remains in custody (machine translation) for longer than expected. The liklihood is that he will be officially charged and this could well mean that he will be singing like a canary in exchange for some sort of reduction in sentence. Not exactly a pleasing prospect for his alleged co-consipirators l'Escroc and Vile Pin. On the other hand Gergorin could well be hoping to get the Guy Drut treatment from l'Escroc and be pardoned. Drut a former French Olympic athlete, member of the IOC and UMP deputy (MP) was convicted of bribery in conjunction with affairs during l'Escroc's time as Mayor of Paris. I find it incredible that l'Escroc thought he could get away with this - especially the main reason is apparently to preserve French influence at the IOC. Quite why the IOC should want to retain the services of someone convicted of bribery is unclear given that the IOC has a fairly serious image problem in that regard, but that is somewhat less important that the opinion of the French public and chattering classes. As AP notes, even the UMP seems embarassed by the pardon and it would not surprise me if Sarko, who has remained silent over this so far, criticises it when he does finally speak on June 8th.
In both bad and worse news the Banlieues seem to have decided to reintroduce the Carbeque. As the Wapping Liar reports this is bad because it looks like the riots are no more spontaneous than Iranian riots against cartoons and given the failure of the CPE not precisely unexpected since effectively, despite lots of talk, no action has occured to make things better from the unemployed youths who rioted then. There seems to be no real reason why these riots should not continue sporadically for the whole summer. The only way things may change is that Sarko is visibly talking tough and taking control so if the disturbances can be brought under control through force (i.e. arresting the rioters) they probably will be.
The worse news is that it could well hurt the tourism industry in a way that last November's riots didn't really. News from France over the last year has essentially been riot after demonstration after riot and I think this is going to be a problem. France, and particularly Paris, make a LOT of money from foreign tourists and tourists tend to be unwilling to visit cities perceived as riot zones. Combine this with the world cup next door in Germany and what could have been an opportunity for France to capitalize on the fans after the world cup and the non fans during it could well be lost. After all, for the fans, places like Prague are just as convenient as Paris, are cheaper and don't have riots. Perhaps Sarko will invite some English football hooligans over to have a riot of a time against the "local teams" in the banlieues.
Sarko meanwhile seems determined to take even more policies from the Front National, and is now talking about laws to make it easier to move on the Gypsies. He has also demanded that the anti-semitic Black power group Tribu Ka have its website taken down because of its hate speech. This latter position with its disragard for freedom of speech etc. is one of those things that make me less than enthralled with him. Permalink