Thursday, May 21, 2015

Meanwhile, chez les Socialistes ....

The previous post was about rightwing Hotspur Laurent Wauquiez. Meanwhile, on the left, the Socialists, as is their wont, have achieved unity in vagueness, muffling their message in a pile of mush. Leader Cambadélis likes it that way. Indeed, he has chosen a via negativa to the definition of the Socialist God (the mauvaises langues will find it irresistible to quip that this is the God that failed circa 1983, but pay them no mind):
On arrive ainsi à une définition en négatif de ce qu’est la social-démocratie, version Solférino : « Ni social-libéralisme ni néocommunisme ». Entre les deux, le champ des possibles est ouvert. « J’ai tout millimétré, bouché les éventuels angles d’attaque », savoure le premier secrétaire.
 One might have expected Cambadélis, the ex-trot, to be a different kind of leader from Hollande, who also preferred the mushy via negativa to any forthright effort to formulate a positive program, but the factional divisions, always in evidence when the Socialists are in power, are today deeper than ever and would split the party wide open if openly acknowledged. So Cambadélis has chosen to bury them for the next two years, hoping somehow to muddle through to re-election on the strength of being neither this nor that. The one flaw in this strategy is that the Hollande-Valls team has chosen to be frankly "social liberal," so Cambadélis's via negativa is daily contradicted by the facts. It would be more accurate to define the Socialists today as "neither FN nor soft-FN"--that is, neither Rassemblement Bleu Marine nor her baby blue emulators.


Mitch Guthman said...

This doesn’t surprise me. It’s very much of a piece with his previous call for unity for the sake of unity. Cambadélis didn’t seem to care much what people in the PS were fighting about or who was right—he just wanted the noise to stop so that he could enjoy the perks that came with entrée to the New Versailles in peace and quiet. The notion that anyone might have actual political beliefs about which they care deeply seemed to astonish him.

Today's mushiness is further proof that living the good life in the New Versailles seems to have caused Cambadélis to stand the maxim of Pierre Mendés France on it head: For Cambadélis, governing seems to be mostly about choosing how best to enjoy the trappings of office and not at all about making difficult political choices. The regular expressions of disdain for belief by Cambadélis are a window into the empty soul of the classe politique.

Alexandra Marshall said...

@Mitch Guthman: Preach.

FrédéricLN said...

Mr Cambadélis's strongest skills are in party-political party politics, and that's certainly why he was propelled to this office. Policies, in his mind and certainly in Hollande's and Valls's, are the affair of Hollande and Valls.

What most surprises me, is that the card-carrying members of PS followed this way of thinking. Maybe they are too depressed by the lack of popular support to their former ideas or projects, and just dare not any more to push them.

BTW, if France is run a "social liberal" way, that has to be with some kind of keynesianism, as public spending hits in 2014 its highest mark ever (?), at 57.2% of GDP. Meaning that "non-public spending" is historically low, as a proportion of GDP, at 42.8%; (curiously the latter figure strikes me more).