Monday, October 24, 2011

Labour Leader Defends Sarkozy against Cameron

Ed Miliband (full disclosure: a former colleague of mine) stood up for President Sarkozy in his row with British PM David Cameron:

Not a mention of his stand-up, knock-down row with President Sarkozy. (Why is Sarkozy not on paternity leave? Isn't that an EU obligation?) Ed Miliband accused Cameron of grandstanding from the sidelines. "He is surprisingly coy. He managed to write the European version of How To Lose Friends And Alienate People.
"He went in being rude to the Germans, and came out being shouted at by the French!"
This was greeting by bellowing Tory cheers. It's the most wearisome cliche of all from the sceptics: they're just against the EU bureaucracy, not against Europe itself. Except for the French, as they never quite get round to saying.
Then Miliband made his mistake. "Yesterday, Mr President" – he addressed Sarkozy as if he were in the public gallery – "you spoke not just for France but for Britain as well!"
Oh, dear. He might just as well have advocated telling the Germans that we'd cracked the Enigma code, in the interests of world peace. Cameron leapt at his throat. "He said an extraordinary thing. That the French president speaks for Britain.
"It's difficult for an opposition to sell out our country, but he's just done it!" He finished by sneering at Miliband's "complete absence of leadership". Meaningless, but this was him swinging a dead husky by the tail and flinging it to the ravenous wolves behind his sledge.
Moments later, Cameron tried to account for the spat with the French leader. "If you have good relations with someone, you can have frank discussions with them." Or, I reflected, the other way round: if you truly loathe someone, you can be courteous to them now and again.

What Does This Mean?

"La rencontre a été squizzée par le duel Dati-Fillon", a résumé Brigitte Kuster, here. I see in several online sources that the verb squizzer can mean omettre, but that seems to make no sense here. Readers up on their French slang, what does this mean?

Why the ECB Should Act Without Authority in Express Violation of Its Charter

Brad DeLong explains.

The Franco-German "Couple"

Frau Merkel holds the purse strings, and Pres. Sarkozy has had to learn to bite his tongue. An excellent reportage by Jean Quatremer:

Sarkozy, toujours prompt à se vanter ou à dégommer ses partenaires, l’a compris et observe une retenue inhabituelle. «Je n’ai pas dit un mot depuis deux ans qui aurait pu nuire à la chancelière ou à l’axe franco-allemand», dit-il. «Le Président passe sa vie avec la chancelière. Il lui parle quasiment tous les jours au téléphone, la rencontre dès que possible», souligne un proche. «Il la voit presque plus que Carla», ironise un diplomate français. Merkel, à force de rencontres de «la dernière chance», a fini par accepter, à défaut d’apprécier, ce Français un tantinet agité, qui passe son temps à la toucher et à lui faire la bise.

Dati Attacks Fillon

Rachida Dati had been relatively quiet since her exit from the government, but the news that François Fillon is preparing to run for mayor of Paris, a post that Dati, now mayor of the 7th Arrdt., covets for herself, has goaded her into attacking him. Things have gotten so bad that Philippe Goujon, mayor of the 15th, wonders "whether Dati still belongs to the majority."

Good. We need a little diversion to liven things up in the capital. And of course to add spice to this cat fight, we have J.-F. Copé as mediator, which should be interesting since Copé and Fillon are likely rivals for the UMP presidential nomination in 2017. A very tricky political game will thus be played out on the streets of Paris, to be watched closely over the next weeks and months.