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

January 15, 2007

The socialist guru among Sarko's new best friends

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French socialists were choking on their coffee and croissants this morning as they took in the small print of Nicolas Sarkozy's speech at the Porte de Versailles shindig launching him as the centre-Right presidential candidate.


Image: lfone.


If the trouble with French streets is that too many of them are named after Jean Jaurès, as a character remarked in the 1970s Gérard Depardieu film Maitresse, the trouble with Jaurès is that his admirers now apparently include Sarko.

François Hollande, general secretary of the Parti Socialiste and the father of Ségolène Royal's children, thinks the old lefty must be rattling round in the grave to which an assassin consigned him on the eve of France's entry into the First World War.

Hollande did not need to complete his own indignant riposte: "Pauvres Jaurès! If only he had known that one day his name would be cited at a conference of the French Right......."

I dread to think what some of those Right-wing tubthumpers who champion Sarko so enthusiatically would make of his soft spot for Jaurès.

This, after all, was the man who helped create the party of Hollande and Ségo, founded what became France's Communist paper L'Humanité and opposed the Great War (it was his pacifistic objections to the conflict that got him killed).

But let us not forget Margaret Thatcher on the steps of 10 Downing Street, marking her arrival as Prime Minister by adopting the words of St Francis of Assisi.

"Where there is discord, may we bring harmony," she declared. "Where there is error, may we bring truth. Where there is doubt, may we bring faith. And where there is despair, may we bring hope."

Others were to assess quite harshly how much harmony, truth, faith and hope Maggie and her ministers brought, for example, to east Durham and South Wales.

Hollande may regard Sarko as having misappropriated the heritage of a French socialist hero. The Left-of-centre Libération took a slightly kinder view.

"Can a man who invokes Jaurès, Hugo, Mandel and Zola be wholly bad?" the paper asked. "Can a man who wants an irreproachable democracy be accused of rampant Le Pen-ism? Is a man who talks at length about the rights of the badly housed and the welfare of others be described as ultra-liberal?"

While conceding that there was much of the "well-known Sarkozy cynicism" in all this, the Libé editorialist was gracious enough to conclude that for all that could be said to Sarko's detriment, he had produced an impressive performance.

Over to you Ségo.

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21 Comments:

At January 15, 2007 9:23 PM, Blogger Bill Taylor said...

French Socialists are capable of some extremely bizarre acts if this story from Associated Press is anything to go by:

LONDON (AP) — Would France have been better off under the Queen?
The revelation that the French government proposed a union of Britain and France in 1956, even offering to accept the sovereignty of the British Queen, has left scholars on both sides of the Channel puzzled.
Newly discovered documents in Britain’s National Archives show that former French prime minister Guy Mollet, a Socialist, discussed the possibility of a merger between the two countries with then-British prime minister Sir Anthony Eden.
Eden rejected the idea of a union but was more favourable to a French proposal to join the Commonwealth, according to the documents.

 
At January 15, 2007 10:00 PM, Blogger richard of orléans said...

Yes Bill it is certainly weird. But you have to remember that this was the end of a disastrous period when France was allied to its natural enemy, England, against its natural friend, Germany. The country was humiliated by this unnatural alliance and the accompanying defeats, so the man was probably at wits end.
Of course the situation was resolved shortly thereafter by The General, alliances were reversed and the country lived happily ever after.

 
At January 15, 2007 10:11 PM, Blogger Bill Taylor said...

Interesting, too, that tomorrow marks the 300th anniversary of Scotland's "parcel of rogues," as Robert Burns called them, accepting union with England, thus adding "Great" to Britain.
Now, of course, opinion polls indicate that the majority of people on both sides of the border favour Scottish independence.
Britain could show some true greatness by at least supporting a referendum on the issue.

 
At January 15, 2007 10:28 PM, Blogger richard of orléans said...

An interesting point. If you look at the comments from readers in the Telegraph today as to what it would have been like to be partnered with France. The majority of the comments are reasonably positive. A week or so ago there were comments on the relationship with Scotland, they were amazingly negative.It certainly looks like your referendum would result in independence for Scotland.

I do not know what it means, swap Scotland for France? But I am surprised.

Probably the French would be reasonably positive about England, but that is because they don't know the place. On the other hand we could give Corsica to the Italians and take over Scotland. The best deal of course would be to get Quebec back.

 
At January 15, 2007 10:38 PM, Blogger Bill Taylor said...

How about a resurrection of the Auld Alliance between Scotland and France? That, I think, would sit better than any deal with Quebec, which rumbles periodically about independence but shows no overwhelming public support for it. Nor, I think, would there be much inclination on either side for any sort of confederation with France. It's not just Britain and the U.S. that are two nations "divided by a single language."

 
At January 15, 2007 10:42 PM, Anonymous SH said...

Have you ever actually read any history, Richard of Orleans? In 1956 when Guy Mollet made his odd request, France was in the European Coal and Steel Community in alliance with Germany, Italy and the Benelux countries. Which state was not a member of the ECSC? Great Britain. France may have been getting cold feet about signing the Treaty of Rome in 1957, which established the European Economic Community and drew it into closer alliance with Germany. Germany - the enemy in the Franco-Prussian War, the ravisher of Alsace and Lorraine, the enemy in the First World War and the occupier and despoiler in the Second World War. The only French people who thought Germany was the "natural friend" of France tended to be dead or in prison after the Liberation.

There must be millions of French people, dead prematurely, who would have wished the Rhine were a sea, not a river. They must be turning in their graves at your reinvention of history. Leb' wohl, Kamerad!

 
At January 15, 2007 10:58 PM, Blogger richard of orléans said...

Yes I have read a lot of history. I may challenge some of the traditional thinking. The 'entente cordial' can date it's origins back to 1830, shortly after the Napoleonic wars. So through much of the middle of the ninetennth century and up to the middle of the twentieth century France was allied with England. As you rightly point out that was a disatrous period for France.

Before that period France did rather nicely with a distinctly frosty attitude towards the Brits.

The true friendship and reconciliation between France and Germany post WW 2 can be dated to 14/9/58 when Adenauer made a private visit to de Gaulle in his house in Colombey les deux Eglises which was one of the most extraordinary meetings in history. It was a private meeting paid for by de Gaulle. Adenauer just drove over the frontier and, got lost, before finally reaching de Gaulle's home. The tension between the two countries at the time was such that de Gaulle was afraid that Adenauer would be booed in public when they went to the church together.

 
At January 17, 2007 1:36 PM, Anonymous SH said...

A referendum vote in favour of Scottish independence would create a problem for Gordon Brown - the Dunfermline question, you might say. Should he continue to stand for election in his Scottish constituency as an MSP or look for a safe seat in England? I would not want to vote for or against independence until I knew which country he would have no influence in. The man has done too much damage already.

 
At January 17, 2007 2:47 PM, Blogger Bill Taylor said...

There have always been similar questions, too, whenever Quebec independence has reared its head. In a way, it's the ultimate political conundrum -- the devil you know versus the devil you don't. But would Gordon Brown still have a safe seat in England? Is there, in fact, any longer any such thing for the Labour Party?

 
At January 17, 2007 3:50 PM, Anonymous SH said...

No such thing as a safe seat for the Labour party - lovely idea! The problem is the "dead parrot" factor. Frequently I read complaints from English voters who object to this "Scottish" cabinet. They don't seem to have worked out that the trick is NOT to vote for the party these Scots represent.

 
At January 17, 2007 3:53 PM, Blogger Bill Taylor said...

Tony Blair certainly looks as if he's pining for the fiords.

 
At January 17, 2007 7:09 PM, Blogger richard of orléans said...

If Gordon Brown successfully breaks up the UK he should get honorary French citizenship. He would do no damage over here the Enarques are too smart for him.

The problem with the Canadians is they have a long narrow country that looks like a fence and they sit on it. Monarchy or no Monarchy? With the US or not? Independence for Quebec or not?

 
At January 17, 2007 7:13 PM, Blogger Bill Taylor said...

You need an up-to-date atlas. It's not long and narrow at all, anything but. Nor are we fence-sitters; we simply prefer to consider our options and not go off half-cocked.

 
At January 17, 2007 7:38 PM, Blogger richard of orléans said...

The useable bit is long and narrow, though with the CO2 pollution from your neighbour it may be getting wider.

If Quebec went independent they could have a few French nuclear missiles to point at........ Washington. Gesture politics maybe, but a good V sign all the same.

 
At January 17, 2007 7:42 PM, Blogger Bill Taylor said...

But then the U.S. would invade us (even more so than they have already) and inflict their gun-happy, flag-worshipping ways upon us. We'd be forced to seek refuge in the less-habitable segments of the country. And I know first-hand how cold it is up there, global warming (partly fueled by Colin Berry) or not.

 
At January 17, 2007 7:59 PM, Anonymous SH said...

Come now, Bill Taylor, you know Richard of Orleans "challenges traditional thinking", and obviously in geography as well as history!

I came across a real human interest story from British Columbia today, and one that puts all the hoo-ha over Nathalie Getliffe to shame. It was an article about the number of young women, mainly of American-Indian origin, who have disappeared on Route 16 over the past few years. Because of poor public transport and their own straitened circumstances they rely on hitchhiking to get to college, etc
Some bodies have been found not far from the road, but the majority have just disappeared. There is a feeling that the local police (in Prince Rupert, I think) are not that bothered because of the ethnic origins of the victims. So come on, Colin Randall and kmtracey. Get to work on a story that involves life and death and real female victimisation.

 
At January 17, 2007 8:10 PM, Blogger Bill Taylor said...

Yes, this is both tragic and a disgrace. But, alas, not unique to British Columbia. Our First Nations people in many ways remain second-class citizens. I would be delighted if Colin Randall were to shine a spotlight on this very, very real injustice.

 
At January 17, 2007 8:21 PM, Blogger richard of orléans said...

The comment about the US invading you is BS.

Back in the fifties the yanks put up lots of nice buildings around here in Orléans. Houses, offices, golf course, bowling alley. We told them to push off, and they did.

Now we use all those nice facilties ourselves. We sometimes get some Americans back here recalling their youth. They were a bit upset but they got over it. (pissed is not the word they shipped the light bulbs back home!!!)

Just takes courage, a bit of gaullism. Vive Quebec.

 
At January 17, 2007 8:28 PM, Blogger Bill Taylor said...

There's a huge difference between having them visit (even if they put up some buildings) and having them live next door.

 
At January 17, 2007 8:46 PM, Blogger richard of orléans said...

They thought they were staying. That's why they built such nice facilties. They're still in the UK 50 years after WW2 telling the Brits what to do.

If you go on about first nations, Colinb will tell us that the Rosbifs are the First Nation in Europe. We'll have to build reservations with Wigwams for them.

(No disrepect for those that are first nations, just those that think they are)

 
At January 17, 2007 8:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Crocs invited to Gettliffe thread.

 

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