old salut!

Colin Randall wrote here on France, things Anglo-French and more......but has moved

December 13, 2006

Marine Le Pen and the pink culottes

This site has now moved to Salut!

The National Front is a Nazi front. So the counter-demonstrators always chanted when I was reporting on its marches, and I am quite sure they held similar sentiments about Jean-Marie Le Pen’s French equivalent, the Front National.

But is Le Pen’s daughter Marine trying to force the party to change Nazi front to Nicer front?

Among a set of new posters she launched for the party’s 2007 presidential election campaign was one showing a young woman of obvious Arab origin in Le Pen supporting mode.

Ils ont tout cassé,” the girl says, thumb down as she echoes the FN’s contemptuous judgment on the mainstream French Left and Right: roughly speaking, they’ve failed you, the French, on all the issues that matter.

She does not leave it there. The pose finds her alongside four keynote symbols of your nicer Front National – nationality, integration, social mobility, secularism.

And, horror of horrors, she is wearing not a modest headscarf and sensible all-over clothing but low-slung jeans, showing bare midriff and – clearly enough to give the FN’s old codgers heart failure - the top of her pink knickers, or culotte rose as the French press helpfully puts it.

The girl’s deeper thoughts on immigration are so far unrecorded, at least to my knowledge. Le Pen himself certainly hasn't changed; he was getting agitated again on the subject only the other day, accusing the French government of lying about the true scale of immigration from the Third World.

But then I am currently in London and the French press may for once have set about doing what the British papers would already have done in similar circumstances and unearthed our lepéniste maghrébine.

Le Figaro's coy account of the affair quotes a prominent FN official with a name splendidly evocative of both militarism and Germany, Martial Bild, as acknowledging that the mode of dress may be “too much” - uttered in English for effect – for some.

But Marine Le Pen, the FN's vice-president and strategic director of its Elysée campaign, insisted that no one was challenging the principles behind the poster campaign. The only reservations, she said, concerned the visible thong.

“Some French people of immigrant origin are aware of the failure (of Left and Right) and a lot of those are turning to Jean-Marie Le Pen for answers,” she added.

Even old lags, I suppose, should be allowed a chance of rehabilitation.

But while Martine Le Pen and Martial Bild congratulate their party for moving forward in a positive way and doing what would have been unthinkable only a few years ago, I have one nagging spoilsport thought.

If the Front National is no longer to be an odious party of racism and other base human instincts, what is it for at all?

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This site has now moved to Salut!


At December 13, 2006 5:05 PM, Blogger richard of orléans said...

Moving to the Var that well known Le Penist territory. And not any piece of Var but the citadelle of the Far Right, Toulon. Now an article in praise of Marine Le Pen. Colin R your career planning is becoming ever more clear. Future member of the FN politburo.

At December 13, 2006 5:14 PM, Blogger Colin Randall said...

I was a bit worried about one or two of the ads that popped up below my posting. But praise for Marine? You've been cut off from the English language for too long, Richard.

At December 13, 2006 5:27 PM, Blogger Bill Taylor said...

More in praise of her underpinnings. Hello Kitty, do you suppose, Colin?

At December 13, 2006 6:10 PM, Blogger Louise said...

Hey, guys, what glasses do you wear? From Colin's photo I can just vaguely make out a bit of pink above the jeans...so you assume that it's a string (it probably is but that's beside the point!).

Bill - 'Hello Kitty' - now that is tooooo awful!

At December 13, 2006 6:12 PM, Blogger Louise said...

Forgot to add Colin - things are going funny on your blog - when you click on 'comments', nothing pops up and you have to scroll down past strange ads for low cut Brazilian jeans to find the comments and post.

Was it the photo that disturbed you or is it because you are in England?

At December 13, 2006 8:09 PM, Blogger Bill Taylor said...

A fine line of merchandise is Hello Kitty, Louise. I never knew until they started advertising on Colin's blog that they extended to unmentionables. So I thought I'd mention it.

At December 13, 2006 9:19 PM, Blogger richard of orléans said...

We may well get arrested, if we spend too much time looking at enlarged versions of striped thongs for girls.

At December 13, 2006 9:21 PM, Blogger Bill Taylor said...

But we can console ourselves that at least we wouldn't have to share a cell with Nathalie Gettliffe.

At December 14, 2006 7:13 PM, Blogger richard of orléans said...

The Brits have spent £4 million to arrive at the same conclusion on Diana Windsor’s road accident as the French. Was there ever a more efficient and expensive manner for a nation to show its lack of respect for a neighbouring country’s justice?

At December 14, 2006 8:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are more important issues than showing respect for a neighbouring country's justice - especially when it concerns the death of one of one's own nationals.

If one of Chirac's close relatives had died in a London underpass, being driven by a Londoner with alcohol and drugs in his bloodstream, with wild conspiracy theories flying around, would anyone in the UK be offended if the French did their own review of the evidence, finally producing a report 9 years after the event ? I think not. R of O is once again milking a topic to feed his own obsessive anti-Brit agenda. Sad, sad man.

At December 14, 2006 9:45 PM, Blogger richard of orléans said...

I suppose 'one of one's own nationals' is supposed to be agreable stylistically.

I am aware of no instance of France or any other country, spending £4m investigating a road accident on foreign soil, involving one of their nationals. It is a blatant contestation of French sovereignty, which France generously, but unwisely tolerated.

At December 14, 2006 10:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I suggest that before R of O makes snide comments on people's style of writing, he tries entering expressions that annoy him into Google, enclosed within quotation marks. If he does this for "one of one's own" he will find 631 entries. It's a standard expression: it may not be elegant, in the same way that sentences with "had had" are not elegant, but it is gramatically correct, but, more importantly, it is precise, leaving no doubt as to meaning.

His views on legal jurisdiction and sovereignty in matters involving foreign nationals are too juvenile to warrant the waste of a single second more.

At December 14, 2006 10:38 PM, Blogger Bill Taylor said...

I think you've just pissed off Colin Berry again, Richard. "Sad, sad man" is one of his favourite expressions.

At December 14, 2006 11:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

One hates to spoil this game of "Spot the Colin Berry", but here are two little spoilers.
First there are 18,800 mentions of "sad,sad man" on Google. If Colin Berry uses it, then he is as guilty as I am of resorting to cliches.

Secondly, I'm a legal specialist, following a link from a website dedicated to one Nathalie Gettliffe, a French national presently being detained in Canada. I'm aware that Colin Randall has taken a particular interest in her plight, but was warned about certain "interesting" . characters who have adopted his site for riding their own hobby horses.

Does this fit your profile for the individual to whom you refer ?

At December 15, 2006 12:36 AM, Blogger Bill Taylor said...

Far be it from me to call you a liar, a damned liar or even (given your penchant for Googling numbers) a statistician. But it might be easier all around if you were to identify yourself, rather than share a cloak of anonymity that must be getting sweatily aromatic, given the number of individuals hiding beneath it.

At December 15, 2006 3:41 AM, Blogger Bill Taylor said...

I also find myself curious about your statement that you were following a link from a website dedicated to Nathalie Gettliffe (no need to explain who she is; we're all well aware here of the situation). That being the case, by whom and by what means were you warned about the "certain 'interesting' characters" on Colin Randall's blog?
Something about you doesn't ring true, Mr. or Ms "legal specialist" -- a catch-all term that could encompass anything from lawmaker to lawbreaker.

At December 15, 2006 6:18 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was also tipped off about the existence on the site of a longstanding resident, one who had taken upon himself the role of watchdog (apparently a not uncommon phenomenon where these blogs are concerned). They also said he was totally intolerant of the presence of another contributor to the site. One does not need to be a genius to see who was being referred to. Enough said, methinks. Time to be off.

At December 15, 2006 6:23 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry, the first part of my posting disappeared. It was simply to say that.....oh, I can't remember now, so it could not have been that important.

At December 15, 2006 7:29 AM, Blogger richard of orléans said...

The English so generously assisted the French to investigate a road accident. Yet they seem to have trouble themselves in the loans for peerages and BAE kickback cases. Why don't they ask the French to give them a hand?

At December 15, 2006 2:55 PM, Blogger Bill Taylor said...

Yet another final farewell, "anonymous?"
Colin, are you getting a kickback from these underwear advertisers? I haven't been keeping track but does Google somehow correlate its ads with the subject of each blog? If that's the case, I hope you won't feel limited in your choices of subjects by the thought of commercial messages that may appear.

At December 15, 2006 3:13 PM, Anonymous Smiley said...

Roo's got a point. If any nation could be considered an expert at bribery and corruption, it should be the French.

At December 15, 2006 3:20 PM, Blogger Bill Taylor said...

Did anyone see the story about the Bishop of Southwark? Check it out at:
You'll almost certainly have to cut and paste this url but it's worth it. Almost renews your faith in the church. I bet Christmas dinner at his place is hysterical.

At December 15, 2006 3:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Or you could try this:


At December 15, 2006 4:41 PM, Blogger Bill Taylor said...

Thank you! Always nice to have someone to do the donkey work.

At December 16, 2006 10:55 AM, Blogger richard of orléans said...

Smiley shows that ever present English smugness of inherent superiority. Yes one even finds that amongst English cricket and rugby players. It never seems to be perturbed by reality.

The extent of corruption and putrefaction in England is mind boggling. Seats bought and sold in the legislature. Long standing and continuing corruption over the Al Yamamah contracts. The illegality and deceit of the Iraq war. No separation of power which allows the prime minister to muzzle all investigation. Soldiers ill equipped, poorly fed, clothed and cared for. The duplicity of the Olympics bid. Now the sordid life of a typical provincial English town (Ipswich). A decredibilised ineffective leadership which clings limpet like to its privileges, scorning the public interest and subject to no democratic control.

Console yourself if you will in your smugness but the goings on of a banana monarchy are apparent to all.

At December 16, 2006 11:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If the British media were as arse-licking towards their ruling class as the French press and TV are, Roo wouldn't know about half the things he complains of.

At December 16, 2006 11:44 AM, Blogger richard of orléans said...

That seems to be one anonymous who doesn't read Canard Enchainé. A newspaper that existed well before Private Eye and is considerably more ruthless in exposing political wrongdoing. Also very funny.

At December 16, 2006 12:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fair comment, Roo. But we don't have to take out a subscription to a fringe publication (Private Eye, that is), forever at risk of being sued for libel. The mainstream newspapers are generally fearless in exposing corruption when they find it. That was my point.

At December 16, 2006 2:04 PM, Blogger richard of orléans said...

As always the English in their psychorigid smugness are impervious to different cultures. Unable to observe the world other than through their own distorting lenses.

First the myth:"The mainstream newspapers are generally fearless in exposing corruption when they find it." Of course they are not. There is a totally incestuous relationship between the Westminster press lobby and the politicians. Additionally the English press follows it's own political agenda, you don't get the news, but a potted history of what the press owner wants you to read. Over Iraq the English papers were and still are totally ineffective and ineffectual in publishing what the rest of the world knows since a long time.How possibly can one explain the continuing presence of a lame duck prime minister without press connivance.
Secondly French press sycophancy. The English psycoridity doesn't allow them to understand that 1) the absence of screaming headlines and morse code reporting, does not mean that the well written and well constructed articles in the le Figaro and le Monde are not ruthless in their exposure of ill doings 2)The French people like and respect their state. They are aware that all politics has doubtful aspects.They are prepared to take a responible view as to the general interest. Sexual pecadillos and minor favours should not damn an otherwise fine politician. 3) Inevitably in all states their is a degree of entente between the politicians and the established press. Hence the need for the fringe press. The Canard Enchainé which is a financially sound press and available on all news stands is one of the finest alternative presses.

At December 16, 2006 2:24 PM, Anonymous SH said...

To Candide of Orleans,

This pristine French political scene would be why France has an incumbent President apparently considering standing again for re-election to avoid prosecution, would it? Why? Does he have something to hide?

How many pairs of rose/rosé-tinted glasses do you wear?

At December 16, 2006 3:26 PM, Blogger richard of orléans said...

It is indeed difficult to carry on a discussion with those so ill informed and seeking only to distort facts. Chirac has spent his life in the pursuit of power and not only to avoid prosecution. It would seem likely that he has not lost his appetite for political power. But yes he does risk prosecution when he loses power, however the English press, of which you are an avid reader gives you little accurate information and of course delights in distortions.

You may well recall the case of Edith Cresson, the former French Prime Minister, who was a commissioner of the European Union. Largely due to the distortions of the English press the whole Santer commission was forced to resign. For what? Because she employed a person who had been a longstanding political advisor at a reasonable salary to do a reasonable job. Did you read that in the English press? No you didn’t. So what was the hassle. The problem was due to the complexity of the commission’s labour contracts she couldn’t employ the individual under a ‘correct’ contract but refused to deny herself the assistance she considered necessary to do her job. The English press supporting bureaucratic nonsense.

So to Chirac. There was a lot of political ‘corruption’ in France 15 to 20 years ago. The political parties found it difficult to finance themselves. Businesses cannot make political contributions and the unions do not have the resources. A system grew up whereby financing was assured through a) commissions on public contracts b) kickbacks on planning consents c) fictional employees. It was almost semi official, there was a going rate and all the mainstream parties were involved. In the main there was little personal gain although some instances did exist. This whole system has now been stamped out and the parties receive public finance. The principle accusations against Chirac date from this time and relate to his abuse of the finances of the Mairie of Paris to finance the RPR. To note that his right hand man, Alain Juppé, who has no political immunity, has been accused of aiding and abetting the abuse of public funds. He was tried and received a small suspended sentence due to the employment by the Mairie of two(I think) RPR political aids. No instance of personal gain was detected.

So yes Chirac has been involved in some wrongdoing, as almost every other politician of his era (incidentally Le Pen is an exception because he was banished from the political system). But he is not the great sinner painted by the English press and motivated by hidden political agendas.

At December 16, 2006 5:03 PM, Blogger Bill Taylor said...

It's only the rapidly diminishing number of independently owned papers that can even make a stab at living up to The People's old "frank, fearless and free" slogan (which, of course, was a bit of a joke when applied to The People itself). Once they're acquired by big business conglomerates corporate interests and profit margins take absolute precedence and the quality of coverage goes rapidly down the drain.
The Northern Echo, where Colin Randall and I both cut our journalistic teeth, used to be one of the great crusading provincial dailies. Now it's owned by the American Gannett chain. I learned this when, out of curiosity, I went onto the Echo website to see how they were covering the debacle in Iraq. I was directed to click on a link that took me to USA Today, which is nicknamed by those who still care about journalism, "McPaper."

At December 16, 2006 8:50 PM, Anonymous Lacombe Lucien said...

The French press is internationally renowned for corruption, political bias, hypocrisy and abuse of power.
But given that Le Monde and Le Figaro are both owned and controlled by French arms manufacturers, that's hardly surprising.
Any claims made for the integrity and political independance of wretched publications like these, should be laughed off and dismissed with the contempt that such wilful stupidity deserves.

Those who are not aware of the all-pervasive, outright corruption at the heart of the French press should seek out the book: 'The Hidden Face of Le Monde', by Pierre Péan and Philippe Cohen:

Or maybe Daniel Schneidermann's 'The Media Nightmare':

Or check out Alain Hertoghe's book, 'La guerre à outrances: Comment la presse nous a désinformés sur l'Irak' ( "All-out war: How the press lied to us about Iraq"):

With so much media back-stabbing going on in France, and so many examples of venal French journalists and media-types turning on their own and betraying the secrets of their employers for their own financial gain, there's really no excuse for remaining ignorant about the hypocrisy and purchasable dishonesty of the French press.


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