Sunday, May 11, 2008

Cultural Revolution

The United States will become the number 1 wine-consuming country in 2008. France falls to third place, behind Italy.

Divide and Rule

François Mitterrand destabilized the Right by introducing a modicum of proportional representation in 1985. This helped the Front National at the expense of the "republican Right." It was a dangerous game, and the price was paid in 2002, when Le Pen edged out Jospin in the first round of the presidential elections.

Might Sarkozy be tempted to play a similar game in reverse, by encouraging the rise of Olivier Besancenot on the left of the Left? Some left-wing Socialists, such as Jean-Luc Melenchon, have openly raised the possibility of bolting the party to join an "anticapitalist umbrella party" of the Left, although Melenchon has also been outspokenly suspicious of Besancenot's tactics and goals. In any case, Sarkozy might try in one way or another to promote the fraying of the Left. That, at any rate, is the speculation of Luc Mandret, who describes himself as belonging to the left of MoDem. With a friend he has created a "movement" (or at least an Internet-based embryo of one) called "Left and Center Citizens" (the choice of an English name may be the group's first tactical error).

The first question that such a movement will have to answer is why its proposition should not be viewed as an attempt to promote a fraying of the Left on its right rather than its left wing. In any case, what seems clear is that the Socialist Party is fraying everywhere: on its left, on its right, and in its heart.