L'Ombre de l'Olivier

The Shadow of the Olive Tree

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

14 December 2006 Blog Home : December 2006 : Permalink

Sarko Ne Grok Pas Les Bloggeurs

I think I have said before that Sarko gets my support more as "best of a bad bunch" than out of any real sympathy with most of his political platforms. In other words since Ségo is apparently a semi-reformed socialist in the mold (sic) of Gerhard Schroeder and Le Pen is a protectionist fascist in the vein of Franco, Sarko wins by being merely slightly sane policy-wise.

Sarko has even made a few tentative steps on the internet including writing a (long) comment on a blog whch criticised him, as a result a year ago I wrote that:

...While I disagree with part of the Sarko manifesto, in so far as it is known, I think that he is the first politician to really understand the modern world and the internet which means that he is likely to do far more good than harm. The fact that he is also the first mainstream politician to clearly reject slimy tranzi political correctness which blights political discourse in the western world and call a spade a spade not an earth-moving device can only make things better. No he is not perfect and yes he is frequently a media whore but while he may love to parade in front of the cameras he also does things instead of remaining aloof...

Unfortunately I think I may have been a little over enthusiastic. This week Loic Le Meur's LeWeb3 had a drive-by speech and photo op by the Gnomish one which didn't go down terribly well with the attendees. Partly this seems to be because he failed to hang around for questions or debate and spent mucho time posing for TV but it seems he also got in trouble with attendees for the content of his remarks:

France is lagging behind on internet, [Sarkozy] says. “We are trying to catch up. The access rate to high speed internet is good. We have exceptional bloggers.

”We are lagging behind in culture and government. The state did not create the conditions to make France a country of innovation. It wasn't ready.“

He mounted a defence of copyright and respecting people's right to be paid for the work. The internet must be one of the priority sectors along with life sciences.

There are some interesting ideas here, such as free sites with the digitised public archives on them, but fundamentally he's making an election speech to the cameras. Not much he's saying is relevant to the 50% of the audience that isn't French.

He does say that he wants to make France a more hospitable place for entrepreneurs, instead of people fleeing to the UK, Switzerland and the like.

Most controversially, he's making an impassioned flee for regulation and censorship of the internet. He's using the standard bogie man: eeeevil people abusing the internet for nefarious ends. Having ethics is not the same as restraining liberty, apparently. We must be aware that our liberty is bound (liberty is bound??) by responsibility.

In summary: he thinks we are the future and he plans on regulating the hell out of us.

The good news (I guess) is that he is aware of the Internet and bloggers and wants to make them part of his campaign. The problem here is that he seems to be failing to understand some basic points about liberty and government intervention. One reason I think why the French have so manny bloggers and such a vibrant on-line community is that it is unregulated and independent. The French MSM is not only regulated with regard to content (so much must come from French producers etc etc) it is also very much tied in to the political elites. It seemed to me last year that Sarko responded to the blogger partly because he understood this and because he understood that the French MSM hated him because they saw him as some kind of parvenu.
Unfortunately he seems to have missed some of the other related points such as the fact that innovation tends to take place either in an absence of government regulation or as a way to evade it. If he wants to make France more hospitable for Entrepreneurs then he needs to deregulate not add more regulations but I don't think this is understood.

PS Loic invited Sarko, Ségo and François Bayrou (who he? answer: head of the UDF - not to be confused with the EDF :) ). Curiously absent from the invitation list was M Le Pen. I wonder why?
PPS Loic will get in trouble with the language purists at l'Académie française because his post is titled "Copie de l'email envoyé à trois candidats à l'élection présidentielle" and actually the French for an email is courriel.

I despise l'Escroc and Vile Pin