Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving Recess

It's Thanksgiving here in the United States, and the beleaguered staff at French Politics will be taking the rest of the day off and shifting attention from financial crisis to this.

No General VAT Reduction

Eric Woerth has let it be known that the government does not favor a general reduction of the VAT like the one announced earlier this week in Britain. Furthermore, the targeted reduction of the VAT to help certain industries, such as the troubled auto sector, cannot be implemented without approval of all EU member countries, and at this point it appears that Germany will not go along with the idea despite Christine Lagarde's insistence that it remains on the table.

Fissures

Ségolène Royal told supporters yesterday that the objective was now 2012. But Vincent Peillon, who probably would have become de facto party leader if she had won her bid against Martine Aubry, thinks that the objective is now to rebuild the Socialist Party. Is this a mere difference of emphasis or a real difference of priorities? As we have seen repeatedly in recent months, there is no real solidity to intraparty alliances in the PS. Individuals calculate their own interests and correlate these were their perception of the party's interests. The results of Tuesday's elections have now precipitated a series of recalculations. In any case, Ségo needs more than the support of party caciques. In particular, she needs a brain trust to help her shape her positions on the issues, feed the press, and devise strategies to keep her in the public eye. Will Peillon want to be part of that operation? His best shot may now lie elsewhere, and Aubry, if she wants to isolate Ségo, as she undoubtedly does, will be reaching out to people like him, Julien Dray, Manuel Valls, and Aurélie Filipetti. Watch which way they jump to get an early read on Ségo's future.