Monday, March 5, 2012

Now They're After the Kosher Meat Too!

The CRIF is shocked! François Fillon seems to want to include kosher as well as hallal meat in the UMP's latest assault on what it believes to be "the primary preoccupation of the French" (dixit le président): the fear that a piece of meat sanctified by someone else's religious dietary laws might pass the lips of "des Français innocents," to borrow Raymond Barre's expression of regret for French Catholics slain by accident in a terrorist attack aimed at French Jews:
En pleine polémique sur la viande halal, François Fillon a déclaré lundi matin que "les religions devaient réfléchir au maintien de traditions qui n'ont plus grand chose à voir avec l'état aujourd'hui de la science, l'état de la technologie, les problèmes de santé".
The French Right seems to be taking its cues straight from the American Right's culture wars playbook. But this is really getting out of hand. If the strategy is to attract Le Pen voters, the UMP had better watch out: any more dérapages of this sort and anyone hesitating between Sarkozy and Le Pen will have no reason to avoid Le Pen, whose efforts to disassociate her party from its anti-Semitic demons are visibly more successful than the efforts of the formerly "respectable" Right to woo back her voters.

Sarkozy Remains Unpopular

Sarkozy remains unpopular. His fall from grace (+65%) began in the fall of 2007, only a few months after his election, at around the time of the tax shield modificaiton. Approval stood at 36% in January, 34 in February, and 35 on March 2. 44% of respondents say they would like to see Hollande elected, compared with 30% for Sarkozy. And 74% say that their minds are made up and they will not change.

UMP Wants It Both Ways

It's absurd, say leading UMP lights from Sarko on down, to think that European leaders would have entered into a pact to give François Hollande the cold shoulder, as alleged by Der Spiegel. On the other hand, it suits them just fine to think that these same leaders are secretly mocking Hollande and denying that he has the "capabilities" or stature to meet with their august excellencies on a footing of equality.

The only evident absurdity here is to think that Hollande lacks anything other than legitimation by a majority of his fellow citizens to fill the role of head of state.

The German Economic Establishment Has Lost All Sense of Proportion ...

... and Sarkozy has tied himself to its coattails. Here is Wolfgang Munchau (via Paul Krugman):

But there is no appetite for any of this in Germany. Instead, the Bundesbank prefers to solve the problem by addressing the funding side. Mr Weidmann proposed last week that Germany’s Target 2 claims should be securitised. Just think about this for a second. He demands contingent access to Greek and Spanish property and other assets to a value of €500bn in case the eurozone should collapse. He might as well have suggested sending in the Luftwaffe to solve the eurozone crisis.
Munchau's bottom line:
What people are really saying is that they no longer want a monetary union. They want a looser single currency regime.