Friday, August 2, 2013

Fermeture annuelle ou permanente?

The word from France is that François Hollande, le président normal, discouraged his ministers from taking summer vacations (though what is more normal in France than the great summer exodus?), If they did leave Paris, the word went out, they were to remain nearby and available for a quick return, and une permanence was to be left minding the store at the ministry. Et pourtant ... there hasn't been much news out of the government for quite a while now. Perhaps everyone is hunkered down in anticipation of what may well be une rentrée chaude: with new pension and labor-market reforms on tap for the fall, the reaction could well be significant. This isn't what a lot of people who voted for the Left signed on for. But for the moment, it's all academic: we don't really know what Hollande has in mind for the fall.

And that, I submit, is the problem with the Hollande presidency. He is neither a visionary nor a pedagogue but an attentiste. The Germans go to the polls in September. Maybe something will turn up. The US economy and perhaps even the British economy are a little less sluggish than last year: maybe that will be good for France. In the meantime, keep one's own counsel and don't make any abrupt moves.

This seems to be Hollande's philosophy of governance, and the French have tired of it even more rapidly than they tired of the Sarkoshow. I would call it a sad spectacle, except that it's been anything but a spectacle--by design, as if keeping a low profile after Sarkozy's permanently high profile would be enough to ensure success.


FrédéricLN said...

Yes, but even the commitments Mr Hollande to keep a low profile (no meeting of his party leaders at Elysee…) were not kept. So, even the voters who expected a low-profile presidency, can only be disappointed.

Those who hoped that Mr Hollande had just "caché son jeu" since 1986, that he really intented to take strong decisions but was just compelled to hide his intentions in order to keep the Socialists united, are disappointed too.

This Administration that has to stay permanently there, just to say they work hard while avoiding to tackle any serious issue, is indeed a sad summary of the twelve last months.

OK, let's recognize that for now, the Justice is allowed to work on political/financial affairs. That's a progress. That's not enough, many people will think.

Well, after these bitter observations (hey, after all, I just had to manage for my preferred candidate to be elected instead of Mr Hollande ;-) ) … I'll take some summer vacations too. Bonnes vacances too, Art and readers!

DavidinParis said...

For what it is worth, I received long-awaited responses to issues that needed to be addressed by various agencies in the 'public' demanding MY response as soon as possible. I sent the senders (all 'gouv') emails stating that I was leaving for 3 weeks but would try to answer as soon as possible. My email-box instantly received 'out-of-office' responses. Somehow, I don't buy any of this pseudo-Calvinistic Socialist rubbish. They are off, as they should be. It is one of the few French traditions that should be kept.

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