Sunday, February 28, 2010

Winner by Default

Through no virtue of their own, the Socialists appear poised to win big in the regionals: one poll gives them 31% vs. 27.5 for the UMP and 13 for Europe Ecologie. The Front de Gauche (6.5) is ahead of MoDem (4), and NPA has all but disappeared from the radar screen at 2. So it seems that the combined effects of the crisis, errors, overexposure, and the standard usure that afflicts all presidents has begun to extend beyond Sarkozy's personal approval rating to his party's standing. The realignment, still relatively modest, hasn't gone as I expected it would 18 months ago, when the NPA looked to be gaining and Bayrou had not yet entered into free fall. The "center" now seems to be located in Europe Ecologie. This is a very interesting development, which I don't claim to understand. I would appreciate pointers to studies of Europe Ecologie's demographics and electoral geography. Anyone?

There is talk now that Martine Aubry is hoping to score le grand chelem in the regionals, sweeping the board (which I suppose means counting Frêche as a Socialist even though he's been excluded), and if so she expects to walk away with the PS presidential nomination as her prize. I'm not at all sure that's the way things will play out, and I think that reading the new lay of the land will not be easy for any of the parties trying to maneuver in the presidential sweepstakes, including Sarkozy's. What the people want is much less easy to say than what they don't want, namely, what they have now. But if the PS does win big, I think Sarko will have to respond with a major shakeup, even if it means sacking Fillon, who is far more popular than the president himself and who was apparently assured that he would remain in place. And then what?

So Why Call It Normale Sup?

Normaliens no longer want to teach, according to Le Figaro. Business and journalism are attractive to growing numbers of students. (Journalism? Haven't they read the handwriting on the wall?)

L'école a dû s'organiser. Des conventions sont en cours avec le Cnam, HEC ou l'Essec, pour une dizaine d'élèves dans chaque cas. Deux normaliens sont admis d'office chaque année au CFJ (Centre de formation des journalistes) depuis 2008. Un autre partenariat vient d'être mis en place avec l'Isit (l'Institut supérieur d'interprétation et de traduction). Enfin, Normale Sup' a mis en place sa propre préparation interne à l'ENA où les élèves brillent. Longtemps, cette formation a été mal perçue : «On ne va quand même pas se laisser ravaler au rang de Sciences Po-pipeau» se disait-on près du «bassin aux Ernest», le nom donné aux poissons de l'école. Les temps ont bien changé.