L'Ombre de l'Olivier

The Shadow of the Olive Tree

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

27 March 2007 Blog Home : March 2007 : Permalink

The Imperfect Sarkozy

Stephen Pollard links to this piece in the European WSJ about Sarko. If you can't be bothered to read it allow me to summarize it as follows:

Sarko is often presented as a new, french Margaret Thatcher. He isn't, he's a greasy politician just like all the rest. In fact, despite his attempts to position himself as an outsider and maverick, he is actually the inheritor of the Chiracian tradition of dirigism.

I mostly agree. There are however some critical differences between Sarko and other French politicians.
  1. Unlike the left wing nutcases he actually understands things like economics and that therefore "incentives matter"
  2. Unlike l'Escroc, he does things. Chirac promised all sorts of things but delivered nothing. Sarko has been far more active in his time in government. Assuming he wins and his party also wins the parliamentary elections he is likely to do a lot.
He is not perfect. Far from it. Given a choice between Sarko and a real "liberale" for president I'd pick the latter any day. However politics is the art of the possible and Sarko is the closest thing to a reformer France has who looks electable.

Let me put it another way: he's by far the best of a bad bunch.

If Sego wins and follows through on her manifesto we might as well emigrate now, if Bayrou wins we merely have five more years of gradual decline. I shall ignore the far left and Le Pen because there is no way these fringe idiots will ever become president even if by some miracle they get into the runoff round. Sarko may or may not deliver on his manifesto and his manifesto may or may not be something that helps France but the chances are better than for Sarko delivering the required reforms than anyone else doing it. I am actually somewhat unconcerned about his statist impulses. In an ideal world he'd be a n open proud free-marketeer, unfortuately in France a persom like that is unelectable without massive changes of opinion by voters. Sarko may well want to be a free marketeer, but he also wants to become president this year and he knows that he won't become president if he espouses too much free-market liberalism.

With luck five years of Sarko will tilt the national dialog in the direction that allows for real reformers to come along at the next election. Who knows one of them might even be Sarko.

I despise l'Escroc and Vile Pin