Friday, June 7, 2013

Pierre Mauroy

There is a rather good remembrance of Pierre Mauroy by Antoine Perraud in Mediapart. It includes the TV segment below, which will serve to teach those to young to remember what socialism used to sound like. Mauroy, to my mind, was already a bit of a dinosaur by the time he became prime minister, and he didn't survive the U-turn in policy that followed the crises of the early Mitterrand years. But he had an undeniable dignity coupled with a political cunning that came close to the president's.

À propos de Pierre Mauroy (1928-2013) by Mediapart


FrédéricLN said...

In the 81-82's, I was (as a teenager) an opponent to Mr Mauroy's government's policies, that I found very ideology-based, in the meaning of: disconnected from reality, from "what could work" or "what people expect".

But not much later, an old aunt of mine, a very conservative person, possibly voting far right, told me about having met Pierre Mauroy and having found him not only very smart and heartful, but also very conscious of things and realities — not disconnected at all.

Now many people who take part to the 1981 Administration told the story: Pierre Mauroy was awfully worried, if not devastated, and from May 10th evening on, by the policies François Mitterrand required him to carry out. He tries his best to mitigate them and obtain a change of direction (much like FRançois Fillon under Sarkozy), against Fabius, Chevènement and others. He actually got around the end of 1982. Delors and Rocard were with him, but Mitterrand didn't respect them that much or listen to them, whereas he respected Mauroy, I think.

That story (that I summarized too much and you Art know much better) frequently makes me think about the role of politicians around the elected leader: to undersign and promote many decisions you deeply feel absurd and dangerous — because you have to stay within the place, near the leader, if you hope to obtain a change. The risk to become jaded or cynical is high in such situations — I think Mauroy gave the highest example of honest perseverance, and finally success, in this difficult role.

Bill Friend said...

I interviewed Mauroy several times in the 1980s, and always found him thoughtful and sympa. On the other hand, in public speeches he often stuck to the old cliches and went on far too long.
I think the dinosaur was Chevenment, and dinosaurs still roam in the PS. Fabius, flipflopper #1, charged Mauroy and Riocard with insufficent faith in socialism--before veering to the right. Mauroy stayed where he was, and if he was dropped by Mitterrand, then because he had served well, and Mitterrand was aflip-flopper himself.
Bill Friend