Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Simone Veil Inducted into the Académie Française

A worthy choice.

Lepage Quits MoDem

Corinne Lepage has quit MoDem, citing "considerable ... dysfunctions" in the "internal democracy" of the movement. En clair: Bayrou is a tyrant. And nothing seems to be working for the party. This is a significant blow, possibly a coup de grâce.

Le système français expliqué aux nuls

Ici. (h/t TexExile)

This Is Sick

Outsourced to Charles Bremner.

The Role of the Regions in Education

Discussed here and here. (h/t Le Monde Toile de l'Éducation, for subscribers only)

Gouverner, C'est communiquer

"Gouverner, c'est choisircommuniquer." Yes, the rules of the game have changed since the glory days of PMF. You can find the ranking of French politicians as communicators here, in a report of a recent survey of journalists who cover them day in and day out. There are a few anomalies: Ségolène Royal makes both the top 5 and the bottom 5 (some like her, some detest her). Jean-François Copé gives a drubbing to Xavier Bertrand among contenders on the right, but I myself can't listen to either man for more than two minutes, and Copé makes my skin crawl with his unctuous insincerity and barely contained contempt.

Wayward Sons

Christine Lagarde manages to smile--once--for Apathie, but of course she thought of herself as doing a radio interview. She is as fluent as always but contrives to let drop that her sons abstained on Sunday and that she turned to them as authorities to help her understand why 50 percent of the French failed to grasp how magnificently the government had performed in the crisis. "Oh, ya know, ma, the regions--who understands what they're all about?" So the problem, she concludes, is one of communication, explanation, education. Which leaves open the question of why the sons of the minister of finance are so indifferent to politics. Perhaps it has something to do with the lawyerly, technocratic discourse that seems never to leave her. She could serve a government of the right or left with equally brisk confidence and competence. So why bother to vote? Everything said on the hustings and reported in the papers is just noise, right? In the end, all is well if people like Christine Lagarde are put in place to repair the damage and navigate cleanly between Scylla and Charybdis. That, at any rate, is the vibe she gives off. The room must be chilly when she and Tim Geithner meet.