Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Et je bondis en entendant le ministre de la culture parler de « cette amérique qui fait peur ». Ah, comme on la connait mal, cette amérique.
Tocqueville avait déjà relevé il y a 170 ans, la passion pour l’égalité de ce pays. Elle n’a pas changé. Il est inconcevable là-bas de traiter différemment un justiciable parce qu’il appartiendrait à une aristocratie, fut-elle artistique. Il y a dix ans, l’Amérique a sérieusement envisagé de renverser le président en exercice parce qu’il avait menti sous serment devant un Grand Jury. Quitte à affaiblir durablement l’Exécutif.
Une justice qui n’épargne pas les puissants et les protégés des puissants ? On comprend qu’un ministre de la République française, qui a soigneusement mis son président et ses ministres à l’abri de Thémis, trouve que cette Amérique fait peur.
It strikes me, in reflecting further on this affair, that the support for Polanski has been entirely abstracted from the facts of the matter. It is as if Mitterrand and Kouchner were invoking a long tradition of "defense of the artist" as the very incarnation of freedom. Thus André Malraux, arrested by the French colonial authorities for desecration (for quite venal purposes) of Cambodian antiquities, nevertheless enjoyed the full (and successful) support of the cultural avant-garde, despite the dubious motives of his adventure. And Malraux, of course, went on to become "Malraux," apparently justifying the defense ex post.
The defense of Malraux was dubious enough, but his crime can hardly compare with Polanski's. But combine "the freedom of the artist" with the (apparent) French prejudice that the American system of justice is biased and corrupt, and you get the statements of Mitterrand and Kouchner.
UPDATE: And then there's this astonishing comment from L'Express:
Dernier point, essentiel. Je lis, même en France, les propos de quelques commentateurs s’étonnant que Polanski craigne tant la justice d’un pays civilisé comme les Etats-Unis. Pas si simple.Les lois américaines ont considérablement changé depuis les années 70. Et Polanski, quand bien même il serait jugé selon les législations en vigueur à l’époque, serait confronté à des jurés, et à une machine politico judiciaire qui a fait des crimes sexuels sur les mineurs le tabou et l’épouvantail de prétoires médiatisés. Le système se moque totalement de la réinsertion ou de la rédemption des « délinquants sexuels » et obéit à une logique paranoïaque d’éradications et de bannissement, attisée par les médias locaux, par les juges et les procureurs en quête de réélection, autant que par des législateurs terrorisés par les réactions d’un électorat toujours plus apeuré par « les monstres qui rodent autours de leurs enfants ».
Yes, we "paranoid" Americans afraid of "sexual delinquents" preying upon our children would have no counterpart in a civilized country like France, except of course in an isolated place like Outreau, or perhaps in the Elysée, where the president of the Republic received the parents of le petit Énis, the victim of a child molester whose réinsertion was "totally mocked" by "the system" after it proved to have been a mistake.
Two informed views of the decision.
Monday, September 28, 2009
Yet when a film director who pleaded guilty to sex with a minor and then fled the United States to avoid the consequences was arrested this weekend in Switzerland, minister Frédéric Mitterrand rushed to the microphones to make known his shock and consternation and assured journalists that his reaction was shared by the president. The rule of law was not mentioned. But a certain anti-Americanism was evident in M. Mitterrand's remarks:
Just as there is an America which is generous and which we like, so there is an America which is frightening, and that is the America which has just revealed its face.
Now, granted, 31 years have passed. And the victim would prefer to see the case forgotten. She has moved on. Perhaps the rest of us should as well. In the end I may even be persuaded that this is the best course of action, all things considered.
But in the meantime I think that, for once, the rule of law might well be invoked by a government that is in the habit of relying on it only when it is convenient. Why, indeed, shiould the minister of culture be involved in a case of statutory rape? To listen to M. Mitterrand, you'd think that this was yet another of those cases in which "American puritanism" and "philistinism" got in the way of the sophisticated and comprehensive understanding necessary to understand why Polanski acted as he did. What else could explain the acharnement of the American authorities, perpetuating the alleged vindictiveness of Polanski's original judge?
And yet, and yet ... the facts of the case are not disputed. For some reason not clear to me, Polanski deserves forgiveness because he is ... a creator and was himself once a victim of Nazi persecution. I have difficulty following this argument. I have difficulty understanding why it is the minister of culture arguing this case rather than the minister of justice. I have difficulty seeing why the rule of law should not be allowed to take its course. If Polanski is to go free because he is now 76, because his victim has forgiven him, and because no public purpose would be served by sending him to prison, then so be it. But that is a case to be made in court, and not by the minister of culture in front of a microphone. I am glad to see that other observers agree with me.
P.S. After I last criticized Frédéric Mitterrand, several readers e-mailed to say that I really ought to read his book of memoirs. I have now done so and agree that it is a very good and very moving self-portrait. Having read it, I think better of the man. But the man is now a minister, and his public actions to date continue to raise questions in my mind.
P.P.S. There's more from the UMP in the anti-American vein:
«Ca doit nous interpeller également sur un autre point», a estimé le porte-parole adjoint Dominique Paillé. «On nous présente toujours les Etats-Unis comme une très grande démocratie et une sorte de démocratie exemplaire». Or «on découvre aujourd’hui qu’il n’y a pas de prescription pour les crimes et délits» dans ce pays, a-t-il relevé.
Statute of limitations? The man has been a fugitive for 31 years. I don't think France has a statute of limitations for fugitives either. This is simply obtuse.
UPDATE: A good comment by Scott Lemieux.
Sunday, September 27, 2009
Frankly, I'm not sure what to make of the German vote.
Are the Socialists doomed to be Les Pieds Nickelés of politics in all departments?
Saturday, September 26, 2009
But when it comes to the nitty-gritty of financial system regulation--bank capital requirements, for example--France and its fellow Europeans like to fall back on Basel II. If you don't know why that's a bad idea, Joe Nocera explains it here. And for an even more pessimistic read, there is always Simon Johnson, who believes that G20, by inducing a false sense of security, may actually have been "dangerous."
Friday, September 25, 2009
So it is rather astonishing to discover that a) Kouchner apparently did not clear his statement with the president's staff and b) that Sarko would dress him down in public, before an audience of journalists. It is frequently said that Sarkozy is his own foreign minister and Kouchner merely window-dressing, which makes it all the more surprising that Sarkozy would tear away the curtains and expose the family quarrel to public view.
Given the seriousness of the issue involved, Sarko's subsequent carping to Chabot about the deterioration of the state TV news service, justified or not, seems trivial.
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Oops: a gaffe of my own--I forgot to mention Sarko's other gaffe, referring to the defendants in the Clearstream case as "guilty" rather than "accused." Tsk, tsk.
Alain Duhamel thought Sarko looked emaciated in his TV interview with Pujadas and Ferrari last night. I agree, but perhaps that was by comparison with the Pujadas-Ferrari couple, the Ken and Barbie of TV news. They weren't up to much, but they didn't have to be, since Sarko was determined from the outset to do all the talking.
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Compare two maps: this one in Le Figaro, showing where the paper thinks the Right will do well in the regionals, and the one below, the most recent map of unemployment in France. The Right is generally doing well where unemployment is lowest.
Meanwhile, as Bernard Girard notes, the Socialists did badly in the by-election in Yvelines, outstripped 20-15 by the Greens. One can propose various explanations for this poor showing, but I am inclined to agree with Bernard that the most plausible is voter fatigue with the Socialists' inability to distract themselves from their internal quarrels long enough to propose any sort of recognizable alternative to the policies of the Right.
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Yes, but what kind of signal? It's not often that I agree with BHL, but really--making a man who threatened to burn books, and Jewish books at that, the head of an organization charged with the world's culture. It was an affront to the world's conscience. And the vote--31 to 27--suggests that the world has precious little of that invaluable quantity.
I tried to push back against this interpretation. Indeed, the independence of the judiciary is always an issue in France, but the questions and doubts would hardly disappear if the president were not a partie civile. In a case that hinges in large part on the testimony of government officials and intelligence operatives and on control of information, there is abundant opportunity to influence the course of the trial, quite apart from any direct hierarchical pressure on the prosecutors and magistrates. Indeed, Sarkozy's being a party to the case is, I think, more of a coup de comm' than a form of influence. He is demonstrating his pugnacity rather than pressuring the court. It would perhaps have been wiser for him to enhance the appearance of neutrality by staying out and pulling strings, if he is of a mind to, behind the scenes, but that might have seemed perilously close to running from a fight, which is not his style. And Villepin has chosen to reply in kind, as if he had just emerged from un cachot to lead the people in an uprising against their cruel oppressor.
Perhaps, when all is said and done, the case will be remembered as a milestone in the shift from one regime of crony capitalism to another. In the past politicians felt the need to conceal their relationships with the "malefactors of great wealth" through a variety of subterfuges. Sarkozy's relationship to wealth is décomplexé. He courts it openly and, so far as we know, has never reached under the table for a stuffed envelope. That's rather remarkable for a political career that began in the Hauts-de-Seine and evolved at the highest levels of the UMP, which cannot boast in general of so clean a record.
So, in the space of a few years, US-French relations have veered from execrable to euphoric (when Sarko was acclaimed as La Fayette reincarnate by the US Congress) to normal, which is to say, tense and at times testy. Normal, to my mind, is better than either execrable or euphoric, because realism is the only basis for a lasting relationship.
Monday, September 21, 2009
Saturday, September 19, 2009
I don't think either premise of this argument is correct. The discontent with Sarko is no more coherent now than it has been at any time in his presidency, indeed probably less so. And even if it were to cohere, there is no reason to think that it will automatically cohere around Royal. I think she is less popular now than she was when she lost the presidential election. She has not grown in opposition, and the sheer fear of a Sarkozy presidency, which was her main trump before, has diminished, as he has proven to be a president like the others rather than a Trojan horse who would either bring the aliens (neoliberal aliens) into the city or else empower those whose abiding aim was to toss the aliens out.
Friday, September 18, 2009
Which is not to say that Sarkozy doesn't deserve credit for trying. But what is needed here is a long-term effort to change the whole culture of banking. I'm not sure that persistence is Sarkozy's long suit, but his leadership here could be useful, since Obama, despite being snubbed by the very American bankers whom he so unstintingly bailed out earlier this year (they didn't even turn up for the mild tongue-lashing he administered on Wall Street this week), seems to have decided that changing the culture of banking is a job too big for the US government to tackle. Someone needs to hold Obama's feet to the fire, and Simon Johnson can't do it alone.
Thursday, September 17, 2009
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Monday, September 14, 2009
Here is Stiglitz's comment.
Sunday, September 13, 2009
"Et moi je ne peux pas, dans le délai imparti, respecter et l'esprit et la lettre de la loi", a conclu le ministre.And that's that. The law has been quietly buried, and no one seems to care, perhaps because the government is so intent on "essential matters," as Sarkozy recommended in the wake of the Hortefeux affair.
“There is no doubt in my mind that there is a deliberate plan to direct people’s anger towards the financial community and away from the government,” said one investment banker. “They are clearly looking for scapegoats at which to finger-point and trying to make themselves popular in the public eye.”
And then there's this:
“At its base, French culture is a mix of Catholic conservatism and Marxism,” a senior banker said. “One of the charming things about France – but one of its problems also – is that everything does not revolve around money.”
Yes, charming indeed.
Saturday, September 12, 2009
"Franchement, en ce moment, j'aimerais que chacun se concentre sur son travail et ne perde pas de temps dans des polémiques", a déclaré le président, en réponse à une question de la presse à l'issue d'un entretien à l'Elysée avec le président du gouvernement espagnol José Luis Rodriguez Zapatero. "Moi, j'essaye vraiment de me concentrer sur mon travail. Je demande à chacun de le faire. Il y a tellement de réformes, tellement de difficultés... Ce que j'en pense, c'est que j'ai vraiment peu de temps de perdre avec ça", a conclu le chef de l'Etat.
And Martine Aubry is far too busy to be distracted by charges that she owes her surménage to having cheated her way into her present leadership position:
... moi, je sais une chose, c'est que j'ai mieux à faire aujourd'hui, c'est préparer ce projet de l'alternance pour 2012 et c'est donner ce matin le coup d'envoi de la rénovation du Parti socialiste qui va rénover profondément la vie française.
Which leaves the poor blogger panting to catch up with the evasions of les uns et les autres.
Friday, September 11, 2009
Le Monde, while claiming to defend republican values, wants to play down the episode, which, says Eric Fottorino, took place in a "bon enfant" setting and represents yet another unfortunate intrusion upon the "privacy" of public officials characteristic of our degraded age. Perhaps so, but the words of the Minister of the Interior are all the more shocking because they exhibit the cavalier contempt that he exhibits in private for a substantial number of his constituents. And his subsequent denials attest to an equally cavalier contempt for the truth. Sarkozy should fire him.
Yet when France’s Sarkozy says something entirely reasonable on the subject — and something that may well be an essential part of the politics of climate change policy — the usual suspects pop up declaring that it’s evil protectionism.
Thursday, September 10, 2009
Sur cette vidéo que s'est procurée "Le Monde", le ministre de l'intérieur, Brice Hortefeux, a posé pour la photo en compagnie d'un jeune militant, samedi 5 septembre lors de l'université d'été de l'UMP, à Seignosse dans les Landes. "Il ne correspond pas du tout au prototype", plaisante M. Hortefeux en référence à l'origine arabe du jeune homme, avant d'ajouter : "Il en faut toujours un. Quand il y en a un ça va. C'est quand il y en a beaucoup qu'il y a des problèmes."
It's particularly astonishing that this hasn't created more of a flap in view of the firing by Brice Hortefeux of the prefect Paul Girot de Langlade for an alleged remark of similarly racist tenor.
When a U.S. household decides not to buy a
$40,000 Cayenne sport utility vehicle from Germany,
German exports to the United States go down by $40,000,
but Slovakian exports to Germany go down by perhaps
half that amount, since while the final assembly is done in
Leipzig, the coachwork is done in Bratislava.
Elle s’appliquera à tous les consommateurs d’énergies fossiles, ménages comme entreprises à l’exception notable de celles soumises au système européen d’échanges de quotas de CO2 dont notamment l’électricité. Elle couvrira 70 % des émissions de l’Hexagone et devrait rapporter de l’ordre de 4,3 milliards d’euros par an. Cette somme sera placée dans un fonds autonome et son utilisation sera soumise au contrôle d’une commission indépendante comme l’avaient souhaité les experts réunis autour de Michel Rocard.
Secret British government documents to be published on Friday reveal that François Mitterrand privately warned Margaret Thatcher that a reunited Germany might “make even more ground than had Hitler”.
Another notable encounter took place over lunch at the Elysée palace on January 20 1990. Mr Powell reports that Mr Mitterrand talked about how reunification would see the re-emergence of the “bad” Germans who had once dominated Europe.
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
American veneration of the military is more a matter of psyche than hardware, however. It's true that one doesn't often see armor rolling down Pennsylvania Ave. (although I believe there were tanks in the inauguration day parade, and I certainly recall the tanks tearing up the quiet streets of my hometown in N.J. in the 1950s on the Fourth of July). It's more common in America to lament ostentatiously the sacrifices of "our men and women in uniform" than to flex muscle Moscow-style.
We dote on this sort of poshlost, to borrow a word from Nabokov. It's actually rather convenient to place the accent on one's own sacrifice rather than on one's country's superior equipment. The equipment, if displayed, might actually get Americans to think, as they rarely do, of the sacrifices of those against whom it is deployed.
The Germans are facing this inconvenient aspect of warfare right now in the context of a national election. The large recent loss of civilian life in Afghanistan may have been due to an error or inadvertence by German soldiers. For Germans this has become an issue. But the collateral damage has barely been noticed in an America inured to incidents of this kind. For us the issue is framed in terms of whether the continued sacrifice of American lives is justified by any achievable American interest. The Afghans barely figure in the debate except as instruments. To my mind, that is the mark of a militarized culture: one that sees the landscape solely in terms of coordinate grids and numbered objectives rather than as the home of a people. (And yes, I know that Generals Petraeus and McChrystal are supposed to be soldiers of a different kind, who don't make this mistake. They have changed the instrumentation, yes, but have they really changed the score?)
The French may delude themselves in one way with their fighter jets spewing tricolore contrails as they swoop down over Paris on July 14; Americans suffer from a blindness of another sort entirely.
Interrogée par Canal-Plus sur ce qu’elle avait découvert de la politique aux côtés de Nicolas Sarkozy, la plus cruelle de ses ex-ministres a répondu : « Je pensais que la politique, cela consistait à faire avancer des dossiers. En fait, il s’agit de faire du buzz ».
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
[I]f critical political thinking requires not only analysis of what’s wrong, but visions of what could be right, this book represents a tremendous achievement. Critical republicanism, as Laborde imagines it, allows us to interrogate “the republican credentials of existing institutions and norms.” Taking republican norms at their word, provides a tremendously useful vantage for those seeking to change existing practices. They become the standard against which social ills can be diagnosed and the need for reform justified. From this perspective, headscarves become not the measure of Muslim intransigence, but of the shortcomings of the French political system. They reveal that France is not – as some of its critics have maintained – too republican, but “not republican enough.” (p. 257)
But Simon Johnson is having none of it:
This is a sophisticated delaying action and you are seeing masters of economic policy spin at work. When something goes wrong on a colossal, global scale, here’s the playbook (e.g., as applied to capital requirements).
- Agree that there is a problem, but be very vague about it. “It’s complicated” is a good watch phrase.
- State some completely bland principles to which no can object.
- By all means, have a spat with the French or Germans. But then patch it up amicably at the big summit; agree to do a bit of everything, in principle. People are wowed by your leadership.
- Send the job of formulating technical details to a committee of experts, asking them to report at the end of 2009 – and then make adjustments through the end of 2010.
- Rely on the experts to produce a report of mind-numbing detail, which few really understand. The experts know their job and will deliver.
- Provide leaks of this work and your “true feelings” to sympathetic reporters. They will help declare victory against great, albeit vaguely specified, odds.
- At this point, it’s 2011 and either (a) new people are in power, or (b) other things have gone sufficiently well that everyone has forgotten about the financial fiasco of 2008-09.
The brilliance of this approach is that you can say, whenever someone objects that capital requirements are not being increased as much: “we are doing that, but the details are not yet fully settled,” or “but we agree with that principle; of course the details are complicated.”
And, in this context, the point of a G20 or IMF meeting is to have the world’s economic policymakers show mutual support. After all, our opinion leaders reckon, if everyone is on board, then this must be the right way to go.
There will be some minor changes, and these will be much trumpeted. But what will really change in or around the power structure of global finance – as it plays out in the United States, Western Europe, or anywhere else?
Nothing – and you know this because otherwise the CEOs of all our top financial institutions would be mounting massive PR campaigns against the proposals, with op eds, Internet ads, innumerable cable appearances, and a virtually constant presence at Treasury. Just think back to how active they were earlier this year, when FDIC-type resolution for big banks was on the table.
I might add that I don't find M. Mitterrand as charming as do the UMP youngsters. I can't quite put my finger on why. Normally I appreciate irony, and M. Mitterrand is nothing if not ironic, but there's a certain lack of frankness in his character, a pleasure in the wearing of veils, a bit too much ostentation in the display of cultivation, and a demeanor that I find retors. But I judge from a distance and could be quite wrong.
For a stinging critique of the whole idea of competitiveness rankings, see here.
This issue is a special one in honor of Stanley Hoffmann, le doyen of French studies in the U.S., who celebrated his 80th birthday this year. Stanley himself contributes the introduction to the issue, which was ably edited by Cheryl Welch (to whom I owe a debt of gratitude for valuable suggestions that greatly improved my piece).
Monday, September 7, 2009
“Sometimes I get the impression that in some countries, and in some financial institutions, the casino is open again,” said Jürgen Thumann, the head of BusinessEurope, the pan-European employers’ group.
«Je suis allé voir le Président de la République à l’Elysée en présence de M. Guéant et je lui ai passé le message ferme et voilé de menaces du Président Bongo. Et il m’a dit: écoute, dis à Omar (comme il l’appelle) et aux autres Chefs d’Etat que M. Bockel partira bientôt et sera remplacé par un de mes amis, un ami de M. Guéant. Il m’a donné le nom en me demandant de le garder pour moi. Et il m’a dit aussi (c’est important): ce nouveau ministre prendra ton attache, ne sois pas étonné et quelque part, tu l’initieras à l’Afrique.»
OK, bear with me: this will be the last map post for a while, I promise. Here you can see rather dramatically the effects of the crisis. From 2006 through 2007 there is steady improvement in the unemployment picture (click to enlarge), but then the crisis hits and sets most of the country back to where it was in 2006. Only the northwest is slightly better off: Bienvenue chez les Ch'tis.
Connaître le nom du futur patron du Monde, de L’Express ou de Marianne était, pour moi et mes « lecteurs », quelque chose de fondamental. Probablement plus que de connaître le nom du futur ministre des Energies renouvelables ! Le Monde n’est pas n’importe quel organe de presse. L’affaiblissement du monopole idéologique exercé par ce quotidien ne pouvait me laisser indifférent. A` une certaine époque, personne n’osait contredire Le Monde. L’équipe constituée par Edwy Plenel, patron de la rédaction, et l’investigateur Hervé Gattegno était à même de nuire à n’importe quelle réputation ou situation : vous aviez traversé la rue en dehors des clous ? Vous étiez mort ! Mais lorsque vous voulez être trop puissant, vous finissez par vous faire abattre, ce qui a fini par arriver à Plenel, qui a laissé derrière lui un journal dont la ligne n’a pas fini de flotter...
Still playing with the mapping routines in R. Here is a comparison of unemployment in France at decade intervals: 1q of 1989, 1999, and 2009 (INSEE data, click on any map to enlarge). I've fixed the South Corsica bug and changed the color mapping so that the deepest blue is the lowest unemployment and the brightest red is the highest. As we approach the regional elections, maps like these may become useful. As you can see, things have improved quite a bit since 1999 but are still not back to the "cool" map of 1989.
Sunday, September 6, 2009
gray = 4-6%
blue = 6-8%
green = 8-10%
red = 10-12%
black = >12%
Saturday, September 5, 2009
So, in compensation for the carbon tax, how about a tax rebate on wine consumption?
There is a problem with the US-UK position: it tends to be procyclical. In a downturn, bank assets diminish in value, and with stringent capital regulations in place they are more likely to be forced to sell to raise capital, thus further decreasing asset prices and making everyone in the system worse office. Yet there is no doubt that before the current crisis, capital reserves were too low, so that even a modest fall in housing prices raised doubts about bank solvency. So there is ample reason for the US and UK to take the stance they do.
By contrast, France, in the person of Christine Lagarde, is arguing that the Basel II regulatory framework, agreed to by banks after 20 years of negotiation, should suffice. Basel II relies less on capital requirements and more on so-called Value at Risk (VaR) models to set limits on bank borrowing. The problem with Lagarde's position is that the VaR models in widespread use did not perform well in the crisis. These models, which rely in essential ways on the banks' own representations of the risks involved in their financial instruments, depend heavily on statistical analysis of historical performance data. The banks hit hard by the crisis were already using VaR models for their internal risk management, and these models predicted that they had nothing to worry about. In a widely quoted statement, one Goldman Sachs risk manager said that market movements at one particularly bad stage of the crisis were "5 standard deviations beyond what the model predicted" for several days running. Hence there was something wrong with the model.
Obviously improvements will be made in light of post-crisis data, but still it seems imprudent to rely, as Lagarde seems to want to do, on such modeling alone. Capital requirements are conservative, old-fashioned, potentially pro-cyclical, and increase the cost of capital, but perhaps one needs to cling to them until the VaR concepts at the heart of Basel II have been more thoroughly tested.
See also Nicolas Véron, here.
UPDATE: Looks like the US-UK version prevailed.
Friday, September 4, 2009
Will this strategy work? I think Royal's main strength at this point is her celebrity. It is also her main weakness, since every gaffe she makes, such as the PNUD flap, is immediately magnified by the press coverage that automatically attaches to her every move. She needs to keep herself in the public eye constantly yet ensure that the coverage actually amplifies rather than diminishes her image. It's a tricky business, and she hasn't been particularly adroit at it in the past, in part because her positions on key issues seem, bluntly speaking, to vacillate. Sarkozy also exploited the media, but he cultivated great message discipline and hit upon a few simple themes to encapsulate what he was about. Royal hasn't yet managed to identify the issues that are to define her candidacy.
On the failure of Désirs d'avenir to extend its reach beyond the PS, see this on the departure of its former head, Jean-Pierre Mignard.
ADDENDUM: Royal captures my thought in her own words:
« Ce n'est pas mon problème, je n'interfère plus dans les sujets internes au Parti socialiste. Moi, je m'occupe de ma région et de travailler dans le cadre de Désirs d'avenir. Je ne m'exprime pas ni au nom du PS ni pour protéger le PS. »
Thursday, September 3, 2009
And no wonder the politicians are getting cold feet: the polling is terrible.
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
The problem with all green issues, of course, is that everybody is for doing something to--fanfare!--"save the planet," but no one wants to bear the cost. It should all just happen. So what you get is a dance of the seven veils, and all the parties are currently whirling and sashaying to the music of planetary time.
Lest Ségolène's backtracking on the carbon tax confuse anyone, Martine Aubry reaffirmed that her party's leadership group is unanimously in favor of some kind of contribution climat énergie, as long as it's not Sarkozy's. So we are back to the Left's old tricks: we'll give you what the Right promises to give you, only we'll do it in a more social way. Just as we had "social Europe," now we have "social ecology." But this will-o'-the-wisp is never bodied forth as a full-blooded counterproposal.
Then the Right muddies its own position in response: in addition to Juppé's equivocations, you have Jean-François Copé saying that he's "not hostile to the principle" of a carbon tax, but of course one mustn't "mistake the target," and the "incentives" have to be got right. Well, sure. So what incentives do you propose?
More comment here.
La virago vaguement alcoolo [ouf!!-ag] qu'on nous montrait il y a quelques semaines a cédé la place, non pas à une beauté mais à une femme déterminée, au regard plein d'espérance qui n'est pas sans rappeler certaines héroïnes soviétiques. Comme Martine Aubry (qu'on peine à appeler Martine, comme on fait avec Ségolène) n'a pas changé en quelques jours, comme elle n'est pas devenue plus photogénique, il faut en conclure que ceux qui choisissent les images ont saisi ce frisson dans l'air du temps.
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
This will endure until the regional elections. Then it will be time to call rewrite.