Friday, January 25, 2008

A Note on the Société Générale Affair

À propos the Société Générale scandal, it's interesting to note that Daniel Bouton, the head of the bank, long ago served as Alain Juppé's chief of staff when Juppé was minister of the budget. Later, in 1996, after Juppé, then prime minister, had been destabilized by the winter strikes of 1995, Bouton, by then number two at SG, wrote a private note for Jacques Chirac assessing the political situation. In it he said:

Despite the recent improvement, the Prime Minister remains abnormally unpopular. This is certainly not a problem of public relations; it is a problem of strategic positioning. The presidential campaign was won on an illusion. ... The illusion lasted until the fall of 1995. .... The Maastricht discourse cannot mobilize anyone; talk about debt ratios and deficits doesn't make anyone dream. .... In short, la fracture sociale divides the people from the elite, not the excluded from the rest of the people. If this analysis is correct, the solution is political and institutional; it does not lie in public relations.

One hopes that his analysis of his own problems is as lucid as his analysis of Chirac's, but evidence to date suggests that it isn't.

The foregoing is taken from Philippe Madelin's biography of Chirac, p. 636; the note was published in Libération on July 10, 1997.

1 comment:

Quico said...

I think you should devote some attention to the growth industry in Kervielogy...a fascinating phenomenon that is: