Sunday, June 1, 2008

Se Refaire une Virginité

Some stories arouse in me a curiosity to know what readers think rather than to let them know what I think. The recent judicial annulment of a marriage, in which the bride, who had represented herself as a virgin to her future husband and his family, turned out not to be, is such a case. The fact that the parties are Muslim and that the issue is sexual has unleashed a torrent of commentary. Few commentators have asked what would have ensued had the judge not annulled the marriage (here is one exception). Surely a divorce--and I'm not sure how that solution would have left anyone better off than an annulment, to which the wife consented. In any event, Charles Bremner summarizes the case and commentaries here. One lawyer's commentary is here; another here. What do you think, readers?

ADDENDUM: It looks as though this case will create another cleavage in the majority.


Today, the excellent Écopublix site begins a series of three articles on the Revenu de Solidarité Active. The exposition is clear and elegant. A key passage:

Cependant, des raisons de mécontentement probable de la base électorale semble avoir fait changer d’avis le gouvernement, qui s’intéresse maintenant à minimiser le nombre de perdants, quitte à dénaturer le principe du RSA. En effet, en raisonnant à budget constant, une limitation des perdants au RSA entraîne mécaniquement une limitation des gagnants du RSA, sans compter la complexification du système. Le barème définitif n’est pas encore connu et il ne faut donc pas préjuger des intentions du gouvernement, mais l’arbitrage entre le cout de la mesure, son effet sur la pauvreté et les incitations au travail est inéluctable.


Speaking of ambitions, Martine Aubry's got a boost from Benoît Hamon the other day, and with the Socialist Party in the mess that it's in, it doesn't take much more than a whisper of support from one faction to another to create a boomlet. Those Socialists who aren't wild about either Royal or Delanoë at the head of the party are casting about desperately for a stopper. Aubry has more powerful backing at the moment than either Dray or Moscovici or Gérard Collomb, the mayor of Lyon. So it's bienvenue chez les Ch'tis: the big federations of the Nord and Pas-de-Calais like Aubry, and some are hoping that this will be enough. François Hollande may be among them: his own chances rest on finding someone to block his former companion and his former comrade the mayor of Paris, either of whom would probably be more difficult to elbow aside than Aubry when it comes time to choose a candidate.

Tender Regard

Nothing is more tender than the care an ambitious man lavishes on his own desires, and "not only when [he] shaves in the morning." Ambition-watchers and futures-traders will want to read the interview that Jean-François Copé gave to JDD today. There, he evokes the "subtle" differences between himself and Sarkozy while at the same time taking pains to emphasize his closeness to the head of state: "Our last meeting was yesterday ... he invited me to accompany him to Athens and Beirut at the end of the week. Our relations are much more subtle than some pretend." Indeed.

His run will come in 2017, he says. Unless, of course, "stuff happens." As it often does. In which case Copé wants to make sure that everyone knows he is ready. Le Figaro didn't miss the signal. Majority leader, mayor, working partner in the law firm Gide Loyrette Nouel, his own PR man, reformer of French radio and television, presidential candidate--M. Copé is certainly a cumulard.