Friday, March 21, 2014

Taubira to Culture?

Discussions about a cabinet shakeup are under way, and rumor has it, apparently, that moving justice minister Christiane Taubira to culture has been contemplated. But unnamed "movie people" are against the move:

Ceux qui ont la chance d'avoir un lien direct avec François Hollande ont alerté directement le président de la République pour tenter d'éviter cette nomination, faisant notamment valoir les succès de l'actuelle ministre, notamment sur les dossiers explosifs de la convention collective ou le combat de l'exception culturelle.
Now, that's a very interesting "blind quote," as journalists say. "Those who are lucky enough to have a direct link" with the president: who might they be? Of course ceux in French is a masculine plural, but might the reference not be to celles or even celle lucky enough to have the most "direct" of links to François Hollande: namely, Julie Gayet. Just speculating, of course.

Sarkozy Speaks

Nicolas Sarkozy has now counterattacked in l'affaire des écoutes. He compares France under Hollande, Taubira, and Valls to East Germany under Honecker and the Stasi or to a Third World dictatorship in which the dictator places his political rivals under surveillance. He complains that "world leaders" who might otherwise solicit his advice about this or that will now hesitate because they know his phones are tapped. He says nothing substantive about the various allegations of corruption, subornation of malfeasance, etc., that led to his being placed under surveillance, except that if his lawyer did contact the "respected jurist" who is believed to have leaked investigative documents without authorization, it was only to "seek advice" about how to defend his client from "a friend of thirty years' standing." Nor does he say that there was anything irregular about the procedures under which the taps were approved.

What to say about all this? I don't think allegations of corruption should be tried in the press or the blogosphere. I don't know if M. Sarkozy is guilty of the alleged crimes. I don't know if there were political motives behind any of the numerous investigations in which he is involved. I don't think the government has handled its public relations in this affair very well at all, but that is hardly the same thing as accusing it of breaking the law. And having said that, I will await further developments. There will be no shortage of loud and ill-informed voices speaking out on these matters, and I'd prefer not to be one of them.