Wednesday, February 9, 2011

La Garde des "Seaux"

At the beginning of Sarkozy's presidency, we were told that consulting firms were going to be used to evaluate the performance of ministers. All very efficient and businesslike. But things have degenerated, and now ministers are being required to request permission from the prime minister before vacationing abroad. What next? Hall passes to go to the bathroom?

It's also rather quaint to have to clear that time in the sun with the PM, who's in a bit of hot water himself over accepting handouts from dictators. And the president himself vacationed in Marrakech at the expense of the Moroccans. Does he need to ask for an exit pass as well?

Still, it might do France's elite good to stay home and see a little more of the provinces. You can have a lot of fun in France. Just ask any number of members of the Bush administration, who bashed France in public but vacationed there on the QT.

Pardon my pun, but I guess we can now call the prime minister la garde des seaux (et des pelles): "Boys and girls, before you can go the beach and play in the sand with your pails and shovels, check with François."


Won, Philippe et Raphael said...

I believe "garde des sots" would have been more appropriate!

Arthur Goldhammer said...

Inspired! Any other suggestions?

brent said...

Garde des so-and-sos is a bit antiquated, but respects the bilingual spirit of your blog.

Mark said...

If it's left up to the PM to sanction whether a proposed visit is suitable, it would seem this particular Fillion is not able of judging this for himself. but even if all ministers were to stay in france from now on, it's who they are cozying up to and under what circumstances that's at issue. This has nothing at all to do with where that happens.

Mark said...

Also this law, rather than sanctioning any wrongdoing,a suggests that in these instances there was no impropriety, just the appearance of it. That in itself is more evidence (as if it were needed) of a refusal to acknowledge real impropriety: there is no problem, just a problem of perception. This is the kind of dishonesty that drives any sentient member of the public understandably up the wall.

Cincinna said...

Long before Sarko ever  saw the light of day, le train de vie
 of French Presidents, ministers, and  assorted high level fonctionaires was legendary. One long history of excess, both  on the Right and the Left. Unimagineable for the average citizen, luxury, &  indiscriminate wasting of time and public funds on lavish meals, expensive wine and white gloved flunkies 
in powder blue satin knee britches a la Giscard and Mitterrand. 

  Before the Internet Age, when such things were known only to a few, this was pretty much sub rosa.  Now with the availability of insight into this life available to anyone with a keyboard, it is all out in the open. 

   My last Christmas in Paris, my French relatives offered me a gift of a magnificent, very expensive &  lavishly illustrated book, "Les Palais de la Nation" which I greatly appreciate and cherish. it shows the various Ministries, exteriors,  interiors, furnishings, and gardens, and their history. They were particularly proud because one of the Ministries depicted had been, in a long ago era, our common ancestor's Paris residence. 

  My thought was that if the French people ever saw this, there would be another Revolution, and more heads would roll. 

Passerby said...

We still have a long way to go before France gets to Sweden's level of accountability of public servants & elected officials...

Can you imagine a French official resigning/getting fired over using their work cellphone to make private calls?

Anonymous said...

The real garde des sceux is in charge of justice, and here are Sarko's arguments to deal with the justice crisis, as handed out to all UMP guys:Éléments-de-langage

Tonight, he's meeting with a "select" group of French people, whom he asked to be less restive than the previous ones (like the milk producer who's invited everywhere because so many of her peers had committed suicide, so Sarkozy had promised he'd come visit and do something, except... of course, it was an empty promise. Like the union guy who had him swear on tv that he wouldn't allow Renauld to outsource car production from Flins since they'd received their bailout package.)
Wondering if anyone will be left to ask a tough questin, about the justice system for example.

Cincinna said...

You are anti Sarko; we all get it. But why dont you wait until AFTER the event before posting your prejudgements?You have no idea what the participants wlll say or how thr President will respond.

And to the poster naively wishing that the French government were more like Sweden:
Yes, imagine a country where the wife of the head honcho is the daughter of a top Nazi official & funded of the Hitler regime.
and the head honcho himself has been involved in the most lurid lifestyle of sex with minors and drug scandals.

Anonymous said...

Art, if you can find it, have a look at the same running gag in an old political BD, you will find all the possible variations for your pun.

30 years later, a fascinating windows over the partisan politic at the time.

Passerby said...

@Cincinna: I don't know the life story of the king's wife, but last time I checked being the daughter of someone wasn't a crime.
As for the king himself, head of the state (but technically not part of the government), if he did anything illegal then he should be put on trial.

In Sweden journalists can have access to expense claims from officials (including at local level) and regularly report on suspicious spendings. I find this more healthy than the quasi absolute opacity in France.