L'Ombre de l'Olivier

The Shadow of the Olive Tree

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

25 August 2007 Blog Home : August 2007 : Permalink

Sarko's 100 Days

Just under two years ago when Vile Pin was celebrating hsi first 100 days as French PM I wrote that it looked like worse was to come. Which it was, because shortly afterwards we had the CarBQ riots. Much the same I think applies to Sarko's 100 day anniversay although unlike Vile Pin, Sarko has had a pretty active 100 days.

So what has Sarko done?

Well first he has helped the socialists in their formation of a circular firing squad by appointing some of the more sane and competant ones to his government and thereby ensuring that the socialists kick them out. It is not impossible that future historians will say that Sarko saved French Socialism because he lets all the current crop of losers shoot it out without harming the socialists who may be able to restore the party once the blood has dried.

Secondly Sarko has done a number on foreign policy. He's done a good deal to heal relations with the USA, he's managed to grab the headlines regarding Libya, and he appears to have done rather better than Blair/Brown in protecting French interests in the EU. He has also blatently ignored EU rules that annoy him (e.g. over budget deficits) and, oddly enough, no one from Brussels or Frankfurt seems to be insisting that he toe the line.

Thirdly he has managed to stick his fingers in the Airbus/EADS management pie and has got French control where it matters there too. This is actually very cunning because it ought to help his cause with the more moderate unions. Toulouse, Airbus' HQ, was one of the more socialist leaning areas in the recent elections, by guarranteeing Airbus' future he manages to sidestep the likelihood that these people will ally with future protestors.

Fourthly he has passed some laws regarding strikes in France which seem sure to be tested real soon now, but which would seem to be the start of France moving away from its current toleration of strikes and demonstrations. I believe these laws are popular and that many people can't wait to see them enforced.

Fifthly he has demonstrated, as if we didn't already know it, that he is jolly good friends with a variety of media bosses. Not bad for an 'outsider'!

Sixthly he has shown a 'robust' approach to paedophiles. He hasn't quite proposed stringing them up by their balls but it has come pretty close and seems popular amongst the average Frenchman even if it gives the multiculti elites the vapours.

EURSOC's 100 Day post makes some of these points and also points out that his inclusive cabinet and other related measures may end up harming him if things go titsup.com in the next few months. The problem is that the most likely people to try and upset the applecart are the trades unions and/or the hard left anarchists. Action taken against these people seems more likely to increase his popularity rather than decrease it.

It is not impossible that the far left nutters will find some cause to unite with the immigrant unemployed, in fact one suspects it is quite likely. At first sight this would seem to be bad and lead to 1968 style protests on the streets. The difference, however, is that I think neither the lefties nor the immigrants arouse a great deal of sympathy in the hearts of the rest of France. And that in turn means that an alliance of the two is likely to discredit both. Despite, or perhaps because of, Sarko's control of the media, I believe it will be fairly straighforward for Sarko to gain popular support, or at least acquiescence, for radical actions to suppress riots and end strikes that inconvenience the general public. It is still possible that Sarko will manage to unite too many opponants against him on some cause and thus forfeit majority approval but going on his actions so far I rather doubt it. I also anticipate that it will be a good idea to buy lots of food, water, petrol etc. in the next week or two because if the lefty unions want a showdown then it will occur in September/October.

But it should be noted that all of this comes courtesy of conversation with people in the Alpes Maritimes, the most fervantly Sarko supporting part of France so it is not impossible that elsewhere there is a greater proportion of malcontents.