Friday, September 23, 2011

How Sausage Is Made

For a glimpse of the future of the Socialist Party, come what may, have a look at Frédéric Martel's article in L'Express. There you will discover the parallel trajectories of Manuel Valls and Benoît Hamon: both Rocardians at the beginning, both young party activists, one (Valls) maturing at Matignon under Jospin, the other (Hamon) learning the ropes under Aubry. Valls chose to position himself on the right wing of the party, the incarnation of the "second second left," while Hamon claims the mantle of Emmanuelli, the maverick of the left. Yet their opposition, Martel hints, may be no more than tactical, a matter of pure "positioning," since this contest between "old left" and "new" is one of the "structuring" myths of the party--a myth that may no longer have any connection with sociological reality. Interesting piece.

The Affairs

It seems I've been too blasé about the several affairs currently closing in around the president. Here's the latest leak:

Affaire Karachi : des interceptions téléphoniques mettent en cause l'ex-ministre de l'intérieur Brice Hortefeux

Les enquêteurs, dans le volet financier de l'affaire Karachi, disposent d'extraits d'une conversation téléphonique, datée du 14 septembre 2011, entre Thierry Gaubert et Brice Hortefeux. L'ex-ministre de l'intérieur explique à son ami que sa femme, la princesse Hélène de Yougoslavie, "balance beaucoup". ("Le Monde")

And this:

Le contexte devient brûlant pour l'exécutif. "Si Sarko il passe pas en 2012, ils sont tous dans la merde…", affirme ainsi la fille de Thierry Gaubert à son petit ami, dans une conversation téléphonique interceptée par les policiers, le 19 juillet 2011.

Now, this is no way to run a justice system. These endless leaks are frankly shocking and make the New York Post in the DSK affair look like the soul of probity and decency. Yet if any of this can be believed, it's getting awfully close to Nicolas Sarkozy, to the point where one begins to wonder, as Bernard Girard does, whether a challenger will step forward on the right. It's a remote possibility, I think. But might François Fillon already have made the first move? His proposal yesterday to align French retirement policy with Germany's is radical and, I think, off the reservation: Sarkozy has never made any such proposal, and it could complicate his position in the campaign. For Fillon, however, it makes sense as a declaration of independence, a promise of David Cameron-like austerity on which to base a challenge candidacy from the right.