Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The Cuckoo Strategy

Can the Socialist Party find more ways to shoot itself in the foot? The Bulgarian nurses are released, all Europe is rejoicing, Cécilia, having gone toe-to-toe with Khadafi in negotiations her husband termed "tough," returns home in triumph, Sarko grandly declares "elles étaient françaises." And what do we hear from the PS? Benoît Hamon says that the Sarkozys "wanted to steal the success of the EU because Mme Sarkozy needed to be able to graze in the fields of the Republic," while Pierre Moscovici, ordinarily a serious, intelligent man, says, "Sarkozy, through his wife and Claude Guéant, is in the process of conducting what you might call the cuckoo strategy. You know, laying your egg in somebody else's nest."

OK, they said those things yesterday, before the release. It might have seemed like a good idea at the time to bitch and carp. But I said to myself, What if the coup d'éclat works? I almost blogged on it. And now it has worked. And what if Sarko did lay his egg in the EU's nest? He showed that he cared in a matter of grave injustice (and of course maximal publicity). What's more, it's a diplomatic success that is simple, clear, and takes no sophistication to understand. The PS comes off as curmudgeonly or worse. And its representatives seem to imply that there's something unfair about seizing an opportunity that was there for the taking. Does it matter that the EU laid the groundwork? Sarko engaged himself personally, deeply, and risked failure. For his troubles he was rewarded with success--disproportionately, perhaps, but then again, perhaps not. It seems that Sarko had been laying some groundwork of his own. But most of all his direct engagement--and that of his wife, whose credit card on the Republic and failure to vote for her husband will now be forever forgotten--showed that he understands what grabs voters in their hearts and guts. Hamon and Moscovici, by contrast, look heartless and gutless. So which is the cuckoo strategy?

There are times when the Socialists' ineptness at the art of politics drives me to despair.

LATE ADDENDUM: Read Jean Quatremer on the importance of Sarko's personal involvement.


Quico said...

OK, now I'm really confused. I was sure tax was an exclusively national competence in the EU. Tony Blair spent 10 years ranting about how the UK would never give up its complete sovereignty over taxation.

Why does Sarko need "permission" here!?

Unknown said...

I suspect you meant to leave this comment on an earlier post, but I'll answer it here. Taxation is left to member states, but there are rules against applying different tax rates to different activities in order to prevent the use of taxes as a covert form of tariff. France is asking for a variance on the TVA as it applies to the "restaurant and hotel industry." Of course, France is the world's premier tourist destination, so a lower TVA is in effect a decrease in the tariff on tourists, and France will "import" more of them. And frankly, we need the tariff relief, given the strength of the euro. Que la fête commence!

Quico said...

Hey! I learn something everyday on this blog. I think that's fascinating.

So there's no QMV on this stuff? Malta can tell France how much tax it has to put on restaurant meals?!!?


Anonymous said...

I agree about the PS, which I long regarded as "my" party. Even Le Monde and the Nouvel Obs couldn't resist a mean-spirited jab, suggesting that France had paid Libya some unspecified sum to secure the release. It sounds as though if money was paid, it was not paid to the Libyan government, as the Monde and the Obs imply, but to the families of the kids involved. And even if France did pay to get the nurses out, so what?

Anonymous said...

^^ nice blog!! ^@^

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