Saturday, April 11, 2015

Ayrault, Critic of Hollande

Jean-Marc Ayrault, who was replaced as prime minister a little more than a year ago, has been even more discreet out of office than he was in it. Now, however, his daughter has made a film in which he reveals some of the frictions between him and Hollande. In addition to frictions, Ayrault's remarks reflect a certain bitterness toward his former boss and old (dare I also former?) friend, the president of the Republic. In particular, Ayrault cannot understand why Hollande went along with Arnaud Montebourg's rash promise to keep open the failing steel mill at Florange. What is more, Ayrault sees his replacement as the result of a conspiracy between the left wing of the part, represented by Montebourg and Benoît Hamon, and the right, led by Manuel Valls. Within months, however, the conspirators succumbed to their own insuperable differences, and Montebourg and Hamon were summarily tossed out of the government, just as Ayrault had been. Ayrault cannot understand why Hollande went along with this plot, rewarding the perennially disloyal and uncontrollable Montebourg, for whom Ayrault feels particular animosity. He is also critical of Hollande's failure to undertake the comprehensive tax reform that he, Ayrault, feels is long overdue.

Finally, Ayrault is clearly and understandably incensed by the cold way in which he was dismissed. Hollande never discussed his reasons face-to-face. Ayrault received only a brief telephone call and a cursory letter of gratitude for his service that arrived only minutes before Valls knocked at the door of the Matignon to serve his eviction notice. Never has the adage that in politics one has no friends ever been more abundantly confirmed.