Thursday, February 21, 2008

Moscovici's Cambridge Speech

Pierre Moscovici gave a speech at the University of Cambridge in which he reflected on the causes of Sarkozy's sudden decline in popularity. Note that first and foremost he blames "the credit crunch and global economic slowdown" and concedes that Sarkozy is a victim, not a culprit. Second, he mentions the failure to deliver on campaign promises, in particular the promise to increase purchasing power. Only in third place comes Sarkozy's leadership style, overexposure in the press, personal turmoil, etc. Yet this third point has been stressed in recent interviews with Moscovici in the French press.

Moscovici's lucidity does him credit, as does his recognition that Sarko's difficulties will not go very far toward restoring the fortunes of the left, particularly since the prime cause of difficulty is beyond Sarko's control. "It's the economy, stupid," to borrow a phrase--and the economic shock would have undermined a Royal presidency as quickly as it has undermined Sarkozy's. Over the past two days we have learned that the IMF has revised its projection of French growth downward to 1.5 percent for the next year, and last year inflation rose to 3.2 percent. Caught in these pincers, no government is likely to do much to increase purchasing power.

For Sarkozy to improve his fortunes, he must demonstrate that his is not a one-act presidency. The global economic situation has changed dramatically since the election, and he must demonstrate that he is not at a loss for a policy. He must respond to facts as they develop. So must the Socialists, and for all the lucidity of Moscovici's analysis, he offers nothing in the way of policy prescriptions, only one more call for a "thorough, comprehensive renovation."


Anonymous said...

As Christian Salmon said: "The French haven't elected a president, they've elected a conversation topic."

Anonymous said...

^^ nice blog!! ^@^

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