Friday, November 19, 2010

Dynastic Affairs

Patrick Devedjian isn't happy and accuses Sarkozy of preparing the succession even as the crown rests uneasy on his own head:

Vous n'avez pas été renouvelé à la fonction de président de la fédération UMP des Hauts-de-Seine. Comment expliquez-vous votre défaite ?
Je vais vous raconter la véritable histoire. Le 15octobre, j'ai été convoqué en urgence par Nicolas Sarkozy à l'Elysée. Il s'est ému que cinq candidats se présentent contre son fils Jean aux élections internes de l'UMP à Neuilly. Il m'en a rendu responsable. J'ai dit que c'était faux. Il ne m'a pas cru et, très mécontent, m'a dit que j'aurais bientôt "une surprise". Quelque temps après, j'ai appris qu'Olivier Biancarelli, attaché parlementaire de l'Elysée, et Eric Cesari, directeur général de l'UMP, téléphonaient aux principaux responsables politiques des Hauts-de-Seine pour leur dire de voter pour Jean-Jacques Guillet [député et maire de Chaville] qui venait –oh surprise!– de se déclarer candidat contre moi à la présidence de la fédération.
 ...
Restez-vous fidèle à Nicolas Sarkozy ?
Je suis admiratif de ses réformes mais comme la plupart des Français, je suis un peu plus réservé sur le style. Il est notre meilleur candidat pour 2012.

Copé Quits Gide and Other Legal News

All good (and lucrative) things must come to an end: Jean-François Copé, recently anointed head of the UMP by Nicolas Sarkozy, has quit his affiliation with the law firm Gide-Loyrette-Nouel, which seemed to many people, including me, to constitute a conflict of interest with his political role (though, to be sure, such conflicts are neither rare nor illegal in France). He will continue to act as an unaffiliated private attorney, however--a role that bears watching. Frédéric Lefebvre has also quit his lawyering.

Perhaps a sudden and sobering wave of virtue has suddenly swept the UMP, but it looks to me more like an edict from on high. Caesar's wife is above suspicion, it goes without saying--although she is an "intelligent" woman, dixit Caesar himself, as though there were something oxymoronic about this--but Caesar's cronies are to be scrubbed with the savonnette à vilain that will retroactively wipe away any past sins as the election campaign approaches. And those who can't be scrubbed can be jettisoned: ask M. Woerth.

Meanwhile, David Sénat, the former MAM aide who has now been "reassigned" to Cayenne (O! the cruelty of the postmodern state! instead of imprisoning its enemies in a penal colony, it assigns them to work in the penal colony's bureaucracy!), has himself assigné Brice Hortefeux (if I may indulge in a bilingual pun) for atteinte à la présomption d'innocence, a lovely legal concept, which I suppose might apply to anyone who so much as hinted that Copé's or Lefebvre's legal activities might in any way have constituted a conflict of interest that was anything but legal. So let me make it clear that I believe that both are, if not as pure as the driven snow, then at least as slick as a Parisian gutter after its morning wash by the éboueurs de la Ville.

There remains, however, the troubling business of the Karachi rétrocommissions: Charles Millon, former defense minister, has confirmed their existence (un secret de Polichinelle, bien sûr), and now we wait for the next shoe to drop. The lifting of the secret défense in this case--now called for by various aggrieved parties--would no doubt prove embarrassing to all sorts of people formerly or still in high places. And what a made-for-TV movie that would make!