Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Morin Rejects Responsibility Pact

François Hollande may be attempting a centrist triangulation, but the Nouveau Centre is not buying. Hervé Morin thinks that what France needs is a "competitiveness shock," which is another way of putting across-the-board wage cuts: "39 hours paid 35," as he puts it. This comes on the heels of the news that François Hollande met with Peter Hartz, the architect of the Hartz reforms in Germany, which some credit for Germany's strong economic performance today. The Elysée denies that Hartz is an "advisor" to Hollande but acknowledges that the president did meet with him "at Hartz's request."

The Hartz reforms included among other things a requirement that wage increases be matched to productivity increases and a reduction of unemployment benefits.


Mitch Guthman said...

I gave the article only a quick glance, so perhaps I missed where Monsieur Morin announced that his income and pension would be immediately reduced by an equivalent amount. The centrists have always fetishized other people’s pain as an unalloyed good.

I say that if Monsieur Morin proposes to “enhance France’s competitiveness” by this sort of internal devaluation, he should be prepared to lead by example or keep his mouth shut until he is ready to make the sacrifices he demands from others.

Will the journalists from Le Point ask Hervé Morin if he is ready to have his income reduced to demonstrate that his is willing put his money where his mouth is? And if not, why he should expect to be taken seriously?

Anonymous said...

Morin is trying to remind people that he exists. Jean-Louis Borloo has responded favorably to Hollande's Responsibility Pact.


Mitch Guthman said...


I think you’re probably right but Morin’s also reminding us (and perhaps Hollande, too) that the supposed “political center” is already well occupied by self-identified “centrists”. It seems to me that if Hollande wants to remake the PS as a “centrist” party, he will need either to dislodge or else forge an alliance with the people who are already occupying that political ground. At the same time, Hollande is the least popular man in France today, plus it’s unclear how many of the current PS voters he can bring with him to the supposed political center, so unless he’s willing to throw a lot his ministers and elephants under the bus, I don’t see what he really has to offer somebody like Borloo or Bayrou.

Also, to clarify my discussion about François Bayrou from an earlier post, I’m ascribing the possible alliance between Hollande and Bayrou not to Art’s discussion but rather to the Fressoz-d’Allonnes article in Le Monde. As I said above, however, the political center in French politics does not seem to have any free space available for Hollande’s reconstituted PS and I doubt whether the people now occupying that space will be willing, when push comes to shove, to graciously cede it and then fade away into nothingness.

Which brings me to Bayrou. I see him as the “centrist” with the best and widest popular appeal. If there was a large, unfulfilled appetite for his brand of centrist politics, surely every prospective centrist would already have defected to the MoDem’s and they would be a genuine force to be reckoned with in French politics. He isn’t. So, again, I ask what’s the political payoff of Hollande’s Responsibility Pact? To whom is Hollande seeking to appeal?

Thus my conclusion that a large body of the PS voters will not be accompanying Hollande on his search for a political identity that will allow him to contest the 2017 election. Those who are amenable to a move to centrism will presumably realign themselves with an actual centrist, who is more appealing personally, who is more trustworthy and who hasn’t yet betrayed them. Logically, then, centrist leaning voters should move to Bayrou or perhaps Borloo rather than stay with Hollande on the ship he’s steered into the rocks.

Many of those who aren't so inclined will presumably defect to somebody else, with my guess still being most to the FN and their anti-EU agenda. Hopefully, Brent is right that the left will be revitalized (which will staunch the predicted flow of defectors from the PS and FdG) and this will cause a realignment more favorable to the left and center-left.

FrédéricLN said...

Nouveau Centre: It's complicated :-)

Nouveau Centre is the political heir of Giscard d'Estaing's "Républicains indépendants", who were not a center party, but clearly a part of the right, with a liberal orientation on society issues (as opposed to Antoine Pinay's "Indépendants", where they came from).

Since the election of Giscard in 1974, and the creation of UDF in 1976, a part of this family remained linked with the center and presents itself as in the center (well, I'm happy with that). But their social basis remains individual entrepreneurs and some people in the bigger business, and on economic matters, they constantly stayed in line with UMP, and often more pro-business than UMP.

So Morin's last move is quite unsurprising, even if disappointing. It may be an attempt to differentiate himself from Borloo… That would actually be micropolitics.