Thursday, July 4, 2013

Batho Gives Her Version

Delphine Batho, no longer a minister, exhibits all the naïveté that one might expect of the political novice she remains. "Economic forces" wanted her ouster, she says, and got it. In particular, she accuses Vallourec, a company involved in fracking, for having her fired. This wouldn't have happened, she insists, if "government solidarity" had been maintained. If anyone is guilty of breaking solidarity, it is not the former minister of ecology, she insists, but her bosses Ayrault and Hollande. And anyway, the government has adopted a policy of austerity without being willing to speak its name.

Can she really be that clueless? Does she actually believe that "solidarity" means that the government must agree to whatever position a minister holds most dear? Can she not imagine that there might be legitimate reasons for policy disagreement, in which case the decision lies not with her, but with the prime minister and the president? Daniel Cohn-Bendit could be withering about the political ineptitude of his comrades among the Greens. Batho seems intent on proving rhat "Green Socialists" can be just as clueless.


bernard said...

Quite right.

If there is one problem with the present government, it is that it could and should be using more experienced political heavyweights and less amateurs. It was trying privately to make a list of who the heavyweights in the government were and could only come up with a very few names which, incidentally, did not include either Montebourg or Moscovici. Montebourg, because someone who tried for years to make a political career from trashing Chirac can't be serious, Moscovici for lack of substance. Taubira, Valls, Fabius for sure, who else?

Mitch Guthman said...


With respect, I wonder if perhaps your thinking about Batho’s comments and the reactions by the Greens to her sacking reflect a slight excess of worldliness on your part which has perhaps caused you to overlook the, at least occasional, importance both of having sincerely held beliefs and of the importance defending one’s beliefs before the people.

Batho’s ministry was part of the price for the Greens enabling Hollande to form a government in the first place. She is entitled to speak her mind when the government is so clearly reneging on was seems to be her party’s basic understanding with the PS. What’s more, I don’t see how the Greens can possibility remain in the Hollande government at this point since he has made it abundantly clear that he does indeed see them as useful idiots.

But, more importantly, I don’t think she’s being naive at all and I also think that the Greens will rise in the public’s esteem, especially if they leave the government. I know I sound like a broken record sometimes, but I attribute much of the PS’s current difficulties to the fact that the leadership has become a part of a political class that is unmoored from political beliefs.

I do not believe that the majority of PS voters who supported Hollande, foolishly as it turned out, believed that the needs of companies like Vallourec would be foremost in the minds of Hollande and his ministers.

I think it is possible to become so sophisticated that one is rendered politically inert. One shouldn't overlook the fact that sometimes there are people involved in politics who have actual political convictions, as opposed to those whose party affiliations is more an accident of birthplace or opportunity.

Mitch Guthman said...


What do you think these more experienced, seasoned politicians would be do better or even differently? Pursuing the same unfocused half-assed policies with more savoir-faire does not seem likely to lead to better outcomes.

The problem is the rottenness at the heart of the French political class, combined with Hollande’s unwillingness or inability to face up to the problems that threaten to overwhelm French society today.

Unknown said...

Mitch -
I wouldn't hold it past Ayrault or Hollande to have taken advantage of a good opportunity to discard Batho. Politics is also the art of timing, and Batho made a faux pas (or is that "faut pas"?) at a time when France remains in morose economics straits while the US experiences a relative positive bump thanks in part to fracking and shale gas.
Part of the Socialist base are those voters who want results on the jobs front - which is as laudible a conviction as there ever was one.
Pro-heavy industry Socialists may deliver on that score; the Greens do not even intend to try.
I am of a mind to think that all of this played into the calculations of the Elysée & Matignon.