Gideon a tout compris – papa, maman et la démocratie

April 24, 2007

Gideon Rachman from the FT with whom I do not always fully agree, clearly got it right this time, in his latest column.

“Les jupes de maman” ou “l’autorité paternelle” – c’est l’offre de choix de la France au second tour des élections le 6 mai prochain:

France now has a clear choice. Does the country want a mummy or a daddy as its next president?

Ségolène Royal, the Socialist party candidate, is running as Mummy. She begins her official television broadcast with the words: “I am a woman, a mother of four children. I have my feet on the ground.” Nicolas Sarkozy, the centre-right candidate, is running as a strict father figure. Mr Sarkozy accuses Ms Royal of wanting to “mollycoddle” the nation. The first four sentences of his campaign broadcast begin with the word “work”(…)

Mr Sarkozy has a much more traditional and macho style of leadership. He has played the tough guy – famously referring to criminals in the French suburbs as “scum”. He accused the Socialists of “making excuses for hooligans” who rioted recently at a Paris station.

Mr Sarkozy’s supporters imply that Mummy is a bit weak and does not really know what she is talking about. Ms Royal’s supporters suggest that Daddy is a bit scary and too ready to reach for his belt (…)

In recent polls some 70 per cent of French people have said that they think their country is in decline. But successive attempts at economic reform have foundered on public hostility to the specific changes that might arrest that decline. Meanwhile, unemployment remains stubbornly high, the national debt mounts and everybody waits for the next round of social unrest in the suburbs.”

C’est pour quand la fin des enfantillages?

Mais Gideon note aussi que les élections de dimanche ont démontré que la démocratie en France est bien vivante – il y a de l’espoir.

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