Friday, August 27, 2010

The Socialist Party

A long and lucid analysis of the situation of the Socialist Party by Laurent Bouvet.

Téléspectateur en haut lieu

You wouldn't believe whom Sarkozy wants off the air.

The Dilemma

Reading the various comments on yesterday's post and my Libé interview, I am forced once again to recognize Nicolas Sarkozy's tactical brilliance as a politician. The Roma expulsions are the perfect issue to distract and divide. The dilemma for critics is to avoid becoming entangled in a debate about minutiae and to refrain from overreacting to provocation. It's not an easy task. If one defends human rights and due process of law, one is accused of turning a blind eye to the problem of illegal immigration. If one defends the innocent, one is accused of championing the guilty. If one defends a "community," one is accused of being unrepublican and by ricochet reinforces the stigmatization of an entire group of people, willy nilly, that is at the root of the whole issue.

My problem is only a petty version of the larger problem of the Left. The Left has not been any less successful than the Right of dealing with these issues, but it has constantly been wrongfooted by clever demagoguery. To oppose xenophobia is branded "angélisme." To recoil from heavy-handed police tactics, mass expulsions, the use of bulldozers to raze camps, and the mediatization of private calamity for political gain is to be accused of promoting anarchy. On the other hand, to countenance any enforcement of immigration laws is seized upon by ultras as proof that one is really, secretly, in league with sinister traffickers in human chattel.

So, bien joué, Sarkozy, Hortefeux, Besson, et cie. For the moment. But this is a dangerous game.