...an unmistakeably left-wing document, even by French standards, and certainly a million miles from anything under consideration in Britain or most other European countries[.]
In her speech on Sunday she pressed all the right buttons, and the euphoric response of the crowd shows that there is a yearning among many in France, who want desperately to believe that they have found their saviour.
But in the coming days, critical eyes will be passed over her 100-point plan, and the calculators will start to tot up the cost.
Some are bound to ask: where was the unifying vision behind her programme? Was it really any more than a bewildering list of new hand-outs? Is a reworked Socialist manifesto all we get after three months of "consultations"?
Ségolène Royal has at last filled in the blanks of the New France that she will create if elected president in May. Under her leadership, we learn, France will finally enter the radiant future, as imagined by its Socialist visionaries since, well...about 1880.Mr Bremner then hits on the point that concerned me too:
There is a tiny problem. Royal presented her list of 100 pledges to make everyone -- except the capitalists -- richer, happier and healthier, without any suggestion of how she will pay for it.
Jacques Chirac, a Gaullist, did the same to win election in 1995, but making wild uncosted promises is a French Socialist speciality. François Mitterrand, Royal's first employer, her model and the only other Socialist president, painted a similar utopian vision before his election in 1981. It never materialised as France suffered currency devaluation, stagnation and began two decades of chronic high unemployment.
Royal's aides have been explaining today that economic growth would generate the wealth to finance the manna that will rain down on France. This is supposed to come from her state-run programmes to pick industrial champions and generous finance for innovation and research. Britain's Labour Prime Minister Harold Wilson was convinced this approach would work when he won power in 1964. It didn't. Royal's evasion of reality was attacked today even by the Communist Party. Marie-George Buffet, the party chief and candidate herself, noted that "Mme Royal failed to explain how she would finance her programme."You know there is a problem when even the communiusts say you can't afford your policies...