Tuesday, May 08, 2007

I wouldn't marry the president, Uh-huh

Well my other country had elections at the weekend and France chose to elect Nicolas Sarkozy as President, known as “Sarko”. Before I start my rant, I’d like to say that I do have the right to vote in France but choose not too – not because of political apathy, but because I feel it is a bit rich for myself living in the UK having a say on what happens in a country where I no longer live.

He’s been touted as a Thatcherite by the UK press, but he is more like Berlusconi to be honest. In France there was no mention of his marital problems, critics claim that his close links to the French media have allowed him to suppress this news which I believe is of importance when choosing a person to lead the country. His wife also had her book, detailing the issues in her marriage, scrapped by the publishers days before release thanks to political pressure from “Sarko” (this was when they were “on a break”). So he’s got the media on his side at the moment.

What interests me the most is this article from the Independent that claims that had the election excluded those over 55, then Segolene Royal would have won. Easily. So we can see a divided France. The young and urban voted for Royal, the older, rural and pensioned voted for Sarko. Many would have been attracted to his authoritarian stance rather than his plans for economic reform. The young on the otherhand seem a little angry, like this blogger's post-election playlist seems to indicate.

Unfortunately, I fear for France. I feel, like Royal did, that he will prove to be devisive. The fact that there are now clearly observable lines across French society is not new to me – these certainly existed when I lived there. But they are now more violent than in the past – many on the wrong side of the line (i.e. the poor) are severely angry at a society that no longer speaks for them or to them. “Sarko”, if he chooses to be as ruthless as he was at the time of the violence last year when he was Interior Minister, will only enflame the situation even more (calling the protestors “racaille” or “Scum” in English doesn’t help). Two nights of rioting across Paris, and other regional cities have greeted the news that “Sarko” is going to be president. This comes as no surprise to me.

But what many British commentators have forgotten is that a French President has less power than a British Prime Minister. In many respects he is a figure-head who prances around the world claiming independence of Anglo-US foreign policy and pisses people off – it’s just what the French President is supposed to do. We’ll have to wait until the elections for the parliament to see whether he has the majority and political force necessary for his reforms to go through.

All I can say is that I am glad that I no longer live in France and have to deal with this shit. Here’s a message of support from Tony Blair, British PM. I guess that says it all. The last thing anyone needs is encouragement from the guy who history will judge as being the idiot who got the UK into an illegal and immoral war. So click on the play button below to see Tony blabbering on in French.

Froggie Went a Courtin'

1 comment:

Garrincha said...

I am not that young.
(but yes I am angry)

Check me out, if you dare