L'Ombre de l'Olivier

The Shadow of the Olive Tree

being the maunderings of an Englishman on the Côte d'Azur

06 June 2006 Blog Home : June 2006 : Permalink

Sarko for PM. Royal for pres?

In minor French news, as I noted last time I talked about French politics, there was much confusion over whether yesterday was a holiday or not and, I believe, considerable irritation that it did seem to be a holiday for the fonctionnaires and other idlers who suck at the teat of government but not for many others.

In far more interesting news we have Royal stealing even more Sakozy policies with her speech yesterday where she kicked over yet another left-wing icon and called for the 35h week to be scrapped. As the Wapping Liar's correspondent Charles Bremner reports she wasn't subtle about it either:

SÉGOLÈNE ROYAL, the leftwing favourite for the next French presidency, outraged fellow Socialists for the second time in a week yesterday by attacking the 35-hour working week, the main legacy of the party’s last term in office.

The 35-hour week had the “unintended consequence of worsening the situation for the most vulnerable workers, notably for women with few qualifications” who now had less time to spend with their families, she said. Mme Royal’s criticism of the sacrosanct 1999 working time law followed her call last week for military training for delinquent teenagers from the housing estates and boot camps for their parents.

Eursoc astutely notes that while this may well be causing the socialists a certain amount of grief, it is also well and truly upsetting Sarko and Le Pen because she is busily "stealing" their policies. This is not exactly a new or original observation, I linked to the Delize cartoon below in April and it still sums up the situation beautifully.
Eursoc wonders whether Sarko will feel like reciprocating and steal a left-wing idea, but I kind of doubt it as there don't seem to be any good left-wing ideas to steal. Indeed as Charles Bemner reports on his blog, even those pessimistic about France such as Jacques Marseille now seem to think that the 2007 election will be a turning point as the most plausible mainstream candidates (S&S) are both espousing reform.

On that note I am wondering whether we should hope for a period of "cohabitation" again - when the president and government are from different parties - this time with Ségo as Prez and Sarko and the UMP as PM and government. I think the opposite (socialst government, Sarko as pres) would be a complete catastrophe but there are good reasons to believe that Sego would be better than Sarko as president. The first is that there is plenty to dislike about Sarko who has probably got a bit too much authoritarian in him. Perhaps more crtically,.proper reforms will only come if the trades unions get the Arthur Scargill treatment and to defeat the unions it will probably be necessary to have some buy-in from the left. In fact I would sy that cross-party buy in is going to be required for all sorts of reform and that is going to be much much easier if there are members of both "sides" in government.

All of this assumes that Ségo makes it to being the presidential candiate of the Socialists. The Socialists have been almost as good as the Democrats in the US in making themselves unelectable in the last few years (recall that l'Escroc only got re-elected because the Socialist candidate last time around was such a loser that Le Pen managed to out poll him in the first round) and for Ségo to be chosen as the Socialist candidate, the party activists will have to vote for her. Since many of them are the same reallity challenged folks who protested the EU constitution on the grounds that it would result in excssive "Anglo-Saxon" policies, there is no guarrantee that enough of them will manage to put the idea of electibility ahead of misguided socialist principle and dogma.

I despise l'Escroc and Vile Pin