Monday, May 4, 2009

Programme Commun bis ou Front Impopulaire?

Le Figaro today has a series of articles and an editorial exploring the possibility of a PS-MoDem alliance of some sort. In Lille, Grenoble, and Dijon there are already local alliances between the parties, and Bayrou, with the publication of his screed against Sarkozy is trying to outbid Ségo as the leader of the anti-Sarko forces.

The question is what common ground the two parties might find to stand on beyond their detestation of Sarkozy. Of course fundamental disagreements didn't prevent the Common Program from coming into being in 1977, and Le Figaro expressly looks back to Mitterrand's tactical maneuvering as an example. But François Bayrou is no Mitterrand. Nor is Ségolène Royal.

I frankly think the whole idea is far-fetched, although I wouldn't rule out the possibility that Bayrou could make it to round 2 in 2012 if the left remains in its current state of disarray. But voting for Bayrou as a fallback is a very different matter from committing one's fate to Bayrou as a strategic maneuver. Indeed, one might suspect Le Figaro of making its wish the father to its thought, because if the Socialists were to resign themselves to Bayrou as the sole viable candidate, they would essentially be giving up all hope of defining themselves as a party.

And here is Libé's version of the same idea. With this rather mind-boggling description of Bayrou:

De même Bayrou, solitaire, improbable, centriste reconverti dans l’insolence, ancien bègue maniant le verbe comme une épée, sorte de Démosthène des campagnes, est un franc-tireur qui a coupé les ponts avec l’establishment. Il pourrait devenir l’ennemi principal de l’Elysée en 2012. Il plaît surtout à gauche : notre sondage Libération-Viavoice (1) montre que les deux tiers de l’électorat du PS souhaitent un rapprochement avec le Modem. «Il veut prendre notre place», gémit le PS. Raison de plus pour se rapprocher de ses électeurs, idiot !

Does Joffrin really believe what he writes, or is he trying to persuade himself?


MYOS said...

Apparently, some socialistes from the top have already resigned, moved on, and figured out how to benefit from the change.
(I've actually heard the same story from fairly high-level people of the left - Joffrin may thus simply reflect what people are saying in the 3e-6e arrondissement.....)

Unknown said...

The "programme commun de gouvernment" was signed on 27 june 1972, not in 1977. 1977 was updating time and the communist slogan then was "l'union est un combat" and "achetons français".

What Joffrin is suggesting is the kiss of death: embrace someone so closely that he succombs to lack of air and space. This was the exact strategy of Mitterrand in 1972 with respect to the communist party, which he explained secretly at the time to his colleagues from other socialist parties in Europe. Other people might call it making a realistic assessment of the electorate and political space.

FrédéricLN said...

" if the Socialists were to resign themselves to Bayrou as the sole viable candidate, they would essentially be giving up all hope of defining themselves as a party." Well, not so much of it. They already didn't present any candidate in 1965 (they supported Mitterrand, who was not SFIO member) and their candidate scored 3% in 1969. They survived - as a new party, sure. "Le gauche" is deeply rooted in French political culture, they could not be absorbed in any Democratic party (same as in Italy).