Friday, June 8, 2007

Catholics and Muslims


Earlier today I cited CEVIPOF figures showing that 94 percent of Muslims had voted for Royal and 77 percent of practicing Catholics for Sarkozy.* An announcement today by minister of housing and cities Christine Boutin lends piquancy to these numbers. She is appointing Father Jean-Marie Petitclerc to her staff, as an advisor on the suburbs and violence.

Father Petitclerc is a Salesian who has been working with suburban youth for 30 years. He founded the Valdocco association, one of whose activities has been to find mentors from the Ecole Polytechnique for troubled young people (see article here). If it is unusual for a republican minister to appoint a priest to her staff, Father Petitclerc is an unusual priest (and it hardly needs saying that Boutin is an atypical republican minister). Himself a former Polytechnicien, he decided against a political career and chose his youth mission instead. He has lectured widely on suburban violence. He favors more socially mixed urban neighborhoods and believes that eliminating school zones can contribute to that end (see this post). To that extent at least, he is in tune with Sarkozyste urban policy to date.

* An e-mail from a reader suggests that the 94 percent figure should be taken with a grain of salt. From firsthand knowledge and anecdotal evidence, he believes the figure is closer to 85 percent. I do not know what method CEVIPOF used to arrive at its figure and would be glad to hear from other readers with a more intimate knowledge of the question.

3 comments:

Francisco said...

Probably this comment would've made more sense in your earlier CEVIPOF article, but here goes nothing:

That demographic sandwich voting pattern - with the top and bottom voting left, the center voting right - sounds very much like the voting pattern in Britain before 1997. The super zeitgeisty trendy explanation Brits use to capture what Tony Blair did different to change that dynamic is built around one word: aspiration. The idea is that under Blair, Labour learned to connect emotively with the social and economic aspirations of that broad middle group, and so managed to extend its appeal beyond its traditional base of urban intellectuals and northern industrial workers.

Now it does seem to me that this is something the PS is not very good at. But it's hard for me to tell. One thing I think you could do better, Arthur, is write more plainly and explicitly about what you see as the nub of the PS's problems - especially if the wipeout tomorrow is quite as comprehensive as parts of the press would have us believe. Because while I come accross lots of writing about the general PS malaise, about this vague, imprecise sense that the party is a mess, I don't really feel like I have a proper understanding of what's really behind the mess, what drives it, which constituencies protect which orthodoxies to which detrimental effect, etc.

Specificity in PS diagnostics, that's what I'd like to read!

Arthur Goldhammer said...

Francisco,
Your question opens up a large area for discussion, and since I'm leaving on vacation tomorrow, I'd rather defer it until I return. Thanks for the stimulus.

Francisco said...

Have a great holiday.