Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Moscovici's Surrender

Pierre Moscovici has published a surrender declaration on his blog. It can't have been much fun to write. He has to explain that he was not only deserted by his putative allies but forced in the end to back a présidentiable, a move that he had consistently maintained would be the death of the party.

Why Delanoë? Because Aubry's alliance with Fabius was, in Mosco's eyes, unnatural, half woman, half goat; and because the "political culture" of Royal and her "friends" was too different from that of Mosco and his "friends." We had best not inquire too closely into what "political culture" means in this context. Nothing very lofty, I suspect. Mosco also has the elegance to inform us that Royal at the last minute proposed to make him "first signature" on her group's motion, an honor now left to Gérard Collomb.

Ségo seems to be fond of this sort of gesture: the overture to Mosco was like the overture to Bayrou between the two rounds of the presidential elections. I'm not sure in the present case what she would have gained, though she is apparently convinced that if Bayrou had accepted her other offer, she would be president of the Republic today. Perhaps that thought was enough to induce her to try the same ploy again. Paris vaut bien une messe, la présidence vaut bien une mésalliance, but I'm not sure that the leadership of the Socialist Party is worth throwing a life jacket to a man you'd previously thrown overboard. Still, the gesture couldn't have muddied the waters any more than they already are, and it does at least demonstrate that Royal is by no means resting on her laurels and expecting the crown to descend of its own accord upon her head, simply because it had rested there once before. She's throwing elbows with the rest of them. In politics as in basketball, winning depends in part on knowing what you can get away with.

French Export Performance

Lionel Fontagné and Guillaume Gaulier attempt to explain why French export performance has suffered in comparison with Germany. They find that German and French exporters are highly likely (80% probability) to find themselves in competition for the same markets and that German firms have been more successful in holding down wages and outsourcing the manufacture of components to reduce costs. They note, however, that Germany's better performance has manifested itself only over the past few years, and they do not consider the long-term implications of their findings.