Saturday, July 30, 2016

Chassé-croisé à droite

The murder of 86-year-old Jacques Hamel in his church in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray has triggered an interesting chassé-croisé on the right. Nicolas Sarkozy, pursuing his relentless droitisation strategy in pursuit of the presidency, has called for doing away with all legal niceties (arguties juridiques) in the "war on terror." These legal niceties apparently include such fundamental provisions of the rule of law as the presumption of innocence. If la loi des suspects was good enough for the Revolution, it should be good enough for the 21st Century, to hear Sarkozy tell it.

But the Sarkozian surenchère has handed Marine Le Pen a golden opportunity to continue her dédiabolisation, and she has not been slow to seize it. What France needs, she avers in a calm and even tone, contrasting sharply with Sarkozy's shrillness, is "restoration of the rule of law" and scrupulous respect for the Constitution. "Laws are not being enforced."

This puts the putative extremist on the side of the government she decries while casting her as the level head in contrast to both her chief rival on the respectable right, the hothead Sarkozy, and his chief rival for the Republican nomination, the normally unflappable and oh-so-level-headed quintessential énarque Alain Juppé. Juppé was off in New Caledonia when the attack in Saint-Etienne occurred, with no TV crew in tow, and in his haste to get back in the game he seems to have lost, as Le Pen puts it, his sang-froid.

Meanwhile, Marine Le Pen's niece and potential rival for FN leadership, Marion Maréchal-Le Pen, remains as unconcerned with legal niceties as Sarkozy. But her battle cry is not "Lock them all up!" but rather "Christians arise!" "Rise and resist Islamism!" she proclaims forthrightly. "If the state cannot protect the French, the French will protect themselves.""

A 19-year-old with a knife has thus thrown the French presidential race into a bit of a tizzy.


bert said...

You don't mention Hollande. At this point, why would you? But having himself filmed shaking the hands of hooded policemen seemed offkey and inept. I'd be interested if French readers see a problem.
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Anonymous said...

Le Monde reports a "cascade" of cancellations of large-scale public events Mayor of towns as diverse as Nice and Paris having to cancel the European cycling championships in September, and the "plein-air" cinema in Paris through the summer.

Denis Favier, incumbent head of the gendarmerie is leaving his post in September, to take up security for French oil company Total. He will no doubt find much to concern him.

The braderie de Lille, the country's largest inventory close-out, has been cancelled by order of Martine Aubry, its Mayor, who had it suggested to her by Bernard Cazeneuve. The Dax fair will be held, although the Mayor there thinks France can't give in to "fear and threats".

The attacks will continue, it's a matter of penetrating cells and seizing terrorists without offending the Republic's core principles.

The judge who released the murderer of Pere Hamel was assured by the young man that he had given up jihadism and would see to live a normal life. The New York Times reports in its article about France's choices, that the young man may have been having resort to "taqiyya', the concept allowed by Islam of veiling the truth from one's enemies/non-co-religionists. (The concept is up for debate.)

France is not without the resources to sort out the threat it faces. However, no one thinks there will be any cessation of the attacks any time soon and a debate about intelligence failures would be a healthy corrective to the hysteria LePen hopes to use to her advantage.