It looks as though Jean-François Copé has decided that there will soon be a ministerial shakeup and that Manuel Valls will become the next prime minister. Why else send his troops out to destroy Valls' reputation as an effective interior minister whose policies are similar to those of Sarkozy?
Indeed, with Hollande sinking in the polls (latest approval rating hovering around the 30% level) and no fresh ideas in sight from the current government, it may be time for a cabinet reshuffle. Hollande's travels around the country do not seem to be triggering groundswells of support, and whatever bounce he may have received from the Mali operation is now dissipated as that effort winds down. This is a difficult pass for the government, and the old ploy of redistributing ministries is tailor-made for situations like this, where the actual margin for maneuver is small (or at least perceived to be so by the government, which may be myopic) but the need to change the headlines is great. With today's news that unemployment is up yet again to record levels, pressure is building.