Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Sarkozy... the human Rorschach test

David Seaton's News Links
At this point Sarkozy is like a Rorschach inkblot for foreign observers; what they say about him reveals more about the observer than the observed. So here is my Rorschach.

US media is touting him as America's new "best friend" and the UK is treating him like a new Thatcher. I think he's a Sarkozista first, a French nationalist second and that his neoliberal rhetoric is really just the normal middle class grumbling about having to pay taxes to support layabouts. He shows every sign of being protectionist... In my opinion his pro-American and his pro-Israel stance have been taken to gather media support, when he finally has what he wants... I think the honeymoon with the "Anglo-Saxons" may be very short indeed.

He owes his election in great part to the Le Pen voters, w
ho are anti-globalization and as far as I know it, certainly not exponents of any sort of John Birch or Cato Institute "rugged individualism". What they want is for Sarko to bash Arabs and keep out the immigrants of all kinds and colors.

The people who actually paid for Sarko's campaign need immigrants to clean their houses, to cook their meals, to walk their dogs, to wash their grand mere. They don't park their cars in the street, so they don't get burned when the Arabs riot. They want the unions broken in Thatcher fashion. The French unions are not going to sit still for that.

It seems to me that the scene is set for great unrest and division. Normally when a right wing demagogue wants to unite the people behind him he frightens them with a foreign enemy or a domestic enemy or both: the latter at the service of the former. And that is if the USA and Israel don't attack Iran. If that happens Sarkozy's love of the USA and Israel will be put to a sore test. Remember that the French have their aircraft carrier, the "Charles De Gaulle" in the Persian Gulf in support of the American fleet there. The only thing the French people admired about Chirac was how he stood up to the Americans on Iraq. The only credible foreign enemy for French people are the Bush/Americans and as I said Sarkozy is first of all a Sarkozista, and the French presidency is all powerful, but not "for life", so I imagine that under enough pressure Sarkozy will just reinvent himself, he may have to do it several times to survive. Never doubt that he will do anything, or say anything to survive. DS

Victory points to hardening social division - Financial Times

Abstract: Nicolas Sarkozy woke up on Monday with a decisive mandate to reform France – but the cars smouldering after election night violence were not the only sign of hardening social divisions.(...) Almost four-fifths of those voting for Mr Sarkozy said they did so because they wanted him to govern, according to exit polls conducted by Ipsos, while more than 40 per cent of Ségolène Royal’s supporters said their motivation was to block her rival. Yet the national result masked sharp differences between regions, age groups and occupations. Mr Sarkozy swept the board in the ex-industrial eastern regions and southern towns that in the past had been bastions of the far-right National Front of Jean-Marie Le Pen. While he won 57 per cent of rural votes, Mr Sarkozy and his rival were almost neck and neck in the biggest cities, with Paris split between the eastern quar­tiers populaires that favoured the Socialists and the bourgeois areas to the west. Ms Royal won her highest scores in the troubled suburbs of Seine-Saint Denis, showing Mr Sarkozy will have uphill work to convince the poor areas – which saw rioting in 2005 – of his unifying intentions. Mr Sarkozy, massively preferred by pensioners, may have benefited from the demographics of an ageing population sharing rightwing concerns over crime and security. Conversely, the Ipsos poll found he scored only 42 per cent with first-time voters, who were alienated by his tough language on delinquency. But his pledge to reward effort and merit, while shaking up established social protections, seems to have appealed to an ambitious young workforce, while worrying those nearing the end of their careers. He drew 57 per cent of voters aged between 25 and 34, but a majority of those in their 40s and 50s opted for Ms Royal.(...) Neither candidate gained a significant advantage from those who had supported the centrist François Bayrou in the first round. A quarter of Mr Le Pen’s nationalist supporters followed their leader’s call to abstain, but most came out to support a rightwing victory. READ IT ALL

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I said that Royale would not win. Sarkozy at least has a brain, even if it is filled with ambition (oh give me that one quality of the Church to turn against him!).
Her nomination was by 3 votes! I expect they were as worried as I was.
Times change, thats fine. 35 hour week may become the 48 hour week.
And will France come to rely on low interest rates and massive national debts?
No, thank goodness the EU has strict laws on such things. I expect a free for all on all of the Franch governments 51% holdings, not much more. BTW when it does happen, French industry will be going to Chinese, Japanese and Indian companies.
That will send the 'Le Pennies' into a rage! Forget the Polish Plumber.