Tuesday, July 15, 2008


It seems that Gérard Collomb, the mayor of Lyon, may be in the process of uniting two distinct chapels* of the Center-Left Church: the Valls and Strauss-Kahnian courants. After Manuel Valls, Pierre Moscovici has now met with Collomb and approved a vague common line. So the PS contest may be in the process of simplifying itself a bit: the big-city mayors and their friends (Aubry-Delanoë of Lille and Paris vs. Collomb-Valls-Moscovici of Lyon, Evry, and DSKburg) vs. la présidente of Poitou-Charente.

*Whence the groan-worthy pun in the title of this post.


I leave for France on Thursday, just as the euro hits a record high of over $1.60. Great timing. I will blog tomorrow and Thursday, but then expect a hiatus. I don't expect to be spending much time at the keyboard while in France. But the blog should benefit from this opportunity to me ressourcer. I should be back on August 6, poorer but wiser.


Contrary to an earlier report, Nicolas Sarkozy says he has no intention of introducing a measure of proportional representation in upcoming regional elections. This may damp down speculation that he was seeking to encourage the Nouveau Parti Anticapitaliste in order to divide the Left.

Institutional Reform

It appears that the vote on institutional reform is going to be very close. Jack Lang, mustering all the unctuous skills of the vain courtier he has become, puts his finger on the reason why. After lavishing flattery--"Aussi me suis-je réjoui de votre décision annoncée voici un an d'ouvrir le chantier de leur rénovation"--on the head of state, he implores and beseeches Nicolas Le Bien-Aimé to make the magnanimous gesture that will save the State and forestall, if not a revolution, then at least a few petites phrases at the next Socialist Congress:

Puis-je ajouter une ultime remarque : vous présidez une République dont l'une des deux Assemblées, le Sénat, n'est pas représentative de la diversité politique française. En raison d'un mode de scrutin digne de l'Ancien Régime, l'alternance y est en effet interdite. Puissiez-vous au cours des prochaines heures entrouvrir une porte à une évolution future de l'élection des sénateurs.

Puissiez-vous indeed. The Socialists are right to hold out for this concession, but they won't get it, because to grant it would be to accomplish not mere institutional reform but a real redistribution of power.