Saturday, November 7, 2009

Old Chestnut

This is a perennial of French politics: Jacques Chirac and François Hollande run into each other comme par hasard somewhere in deepest Corrèze, in this instance at the Foire du Livre in Brive. This is the French equivalent of the "outside the Beltway" gambit in American politics. The politician assures the locals that they are the salt of the earth, that it really is good for the soul to get outside the Périphérique/Beltway, to return to where the air is pure and the people are occupied with the real stuff of life, be it milking the cows or picking up the latest Beigbeder on a Saturday morning in Brive. The meeting of rivals only enhances the opposition between the "real" life of the provinces and the "unreal" preoccupations of the capital. Left and right join in patting the rump of the cow or hoisting a brewski in jovial proof that, once the artificial distinctions of political life are forgotten, under the surface we are all One.

The cow pats may be real, but the comity isn't.

UPDATE: Maybe it is:

Ce n'est pas tant la photo commune ou les congratulations – sous les applaudissements mais aussi quelques sifflets – que la déclaration de M. Chirac, la veille, au quotidien local, La Montagne. M. Hollande a " sans aucun doute " un destin national, a-t-il dit. " Il en a les moyens et l'ambition. (…) C'est une personne de qualité ". Sans compter que le président du conseil général de Corrèze avait passé tout son vendredi avec Bernadette Chirac, dans l'harmonie la plus parfaite.

1 comment:

RoG said...

It doesn't escape notice that whenever the cover is lifted ever so slightly on financial chicanery in the political world, the French political class tend to come together to pull the cover back in place. It's in all their interests..