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

January 19, 2007

Turmoil in the Royal household

This site has now moved to Salut!

The best thing that Ségolène Royal can say about this week is that she chose a good week to have a bad week.

Good, in the sense that the days following the installation of Nicolas Sarkozy as her chief rival were always going to belong to him, barring some public relations debacle.

Bad, in the sense that exactly such a PR nightmare has beset the Parti Socialiste camp.

Picture: e-diote.

Mme Royal did manage to turn to her eventual advantage one tax issue - her own eligibility for France's notorious wealth tax, with a tendency to hit people who are not wealthy at all that Richard of Orléans has used this blog to explain well.

She gave figures, spoke of transparency and made it look as if disreputable people from Sarko's centre-Right UMP party had been engaged in dirty tricks about her private affairs in an attempt to smear her.

Actually, she used that word racaille that got Sarko into trouble at the start of the 2005 French riots.

The BBC went for the harshest definitions - thugs, scum, filth - which rather overlooked the fact that the word can also mean rabble and is commonly used as such by parents to children and children to other children.

All that matters, of course, is how the target of the term takes it and I am not sure if that is yet recorded.

All in all, Ségo might have emerged smiling from a potentially damaging episode had it not been for three others.

First she had been called upon to slap down her partner, François Hollande, general secretary of the party and routinely portrayed by cartoonists as the henpecked man indoors, when he came out with some contentious thoughts on income tax.

Conservatives seized on the dispute with glee, claiming that the socialist mask had been allowed to slip.

Then Le Monde printed unwelcome details of a party summit behind closed doors at which a defensive Ségo had to justify her low-key, let's appeal to the grass roots sort of campaigning style.

A member had deliberately telephoned a reporter and left the call connected throughout the exchanges.

Worst of all, Ségo has now taken the extraordinary step, for a candidate entering a presidential campaign that appears neck-and-neck, of suspending her spokesman Arnaud Montebourg, a familar face at a time when she needs as many as possible batting for her.

His crime? To say on television: "Ségolène Royal has only one flaw. It's her partner."

M Montebourg says it was a joke. His famously bossy boss said he had been given a well-deserved yellow card, sin-binned for a month. Either way - sense of humour breakdown or poor choice of close aide - the outcome reflects badly on her.

At least, as I began by suggesting, she has packed all these troubles into the same uncomfortable spell.

But she needs a good, swift recovery. How she performs during the rest of these early stages of the campaign may yet prove significant for the many voters whose minds are there to be changed.

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This site has now moved to Salut!


At January 19, 2007 9:00 PM, Blogger anne gilbert said...

Dear little Hippo is a busy fellow.
He's almost there, having to hold on to an umbrella.
It's been a long walk from Richard's pond.
Rainy days on the trail as he nudges along.
His visit to Colin's in Le Lavandou.
Is a visit to welcome the home dwellers new.
At the outskirts of town he's looking around.
A letter box somewhere needs to be found.
Hippo is carrying a special note.
For Bill Taylor personally,his Colin wrote.
A request to visit ColinB's blog.
And enjoy the idea of a vacation abroad.
Hippo knows ,all of this and has mailed this letter.


Chuck the umbrella and carry on.
Nothing better in life than a happy Hippo moving on.

At January 19, 2007 9:11 PM, Blogger Bill Taylor said...

Why on earth would I do that?

At January 20, 2007 9:15 AM, Blogger ColinB said...

Odd, isn't it, the way Anne Gilbert and Bill Taylor both seem to post at the same time of day. Keeping sociable hours as well, provided the clock is sitting on a Canadian mantlepiece.

Time to come clean, the pair of you?

C'mon now, we can all take a joke. Even a long-running one, like this.

PS I'm not expecting an answer for at least two or three hours, and then it will be a bleary-eyed one.

At January 20, 2007 10:08 AM, Blogger ColinB said...

PPS Here's one that our "Anne Gilbert" posted to Colin Randall's Telly blog, back in the good old days:

Unfnished(sic) business

"Not a whole lot of good writing or thinking on this blog at the moment.Colin Randall is on his way to better times.Some of you may not see it that way,but that where it's at.Now moving on from all this roiling,stuff yourself style posts,let's get to the unfinished business.Y'all left The Fois Gras blog without bringing it to the number 103.Not nice to do this as it could have been and should be Mr.Randall's second place record.Finish the business please.And make it your best!"

anne gilbert at 04 Oct 2006 01:41

What struck this individual (himself a seasoned alias-creator) was the sudden uncharacteristic use by "Anne Gilbert" of "stuff yourself". But then I noted the time of sending. 1:41 am London time. But that's 20:41 Ontario(Eastern Standard) time.

And there were the neat little embellishments. Like failure to insert spaces between sentences. And occasional misspellings, or faulty punctuation. Not what one would expect of a perfectionist like Bill Taylor !

And I then wondered, how long can he keep this up? Let's play a waiting game !

Well, full marks for staying power, Anne Gilbert/Bill Taylor, even if the mask did slip from time to time.

Anyway, I think it's time the "two" of you owned up. C'mon now, we can all take a joke, especially a long-running one. But time now to call it a day, wouldn't you say, in view of recent events ?

We'll talk quietly among ourselves, while you two slumber on, blisfully unaware of what's happening right now on Colin's blog (French time, early morning shift).

At January 20, 2007 3:41 PM, Blogger Bill Taylor said...

Colin Berry is as skilled at detective work as he is at everything else -- i.e. not very. The only thing he has right is that I'm slightly bleary-eyed at the moment. It's crossed my mind once or twice that Anne Gilbert might in fact be him. "She" is certainly not me. Or vice-versa. Why, for heaven's sake, would I be telling myself to visit Colin Berry's blog?

At January 20, 2007 4:04 PM, Blogger richard of orléans said...

It would be difficult to mistake the lovely Anne Gilbert for the somewhat carnivorous Bill Taylor. But they may share the same continent.

At January 20, 2007 4:35 PM, Blogger Bill Taylor said...

Carnivorous? I rather like that. The same continent, though? What makes you think that? I've always thought of Anne Gilbert, whoever she/he may really be, as European. Even as her/his syntax has moved between tortured and perfectly grammatical (which it occasionally is), I've had the impression that English wasn't necessarily the first language.

At January 20, 2007 5:26 PM, Blogger ColinB said...

Bit of a softened stance there, from BT,wouldn't you say folks? And I hesitate to break up the beginnings of a scrap between the two rottweilers.

But looking at BT's first response, note the inevitable put-down in the first sentence. But at least it's not a character attack. And my shoulders are broad enough to cope with his charge of a lifetime's incompetence.

I think I can fairly claim to have written the first definitive paper on resistant starch - single author, as it happens, and now a citation classic - which shows Bill Taylor's previous description of me as "ink monitor" for a research team for what is it - a cheap shot, uninformed by the facts.

But I admit to having failed to secure that Nobel Prize, so perhaps I am a failure by his exacting criteria. Yes, life's tough in the Second Division, Bill Taylor, as you may one day learn for yourself.

Oops. Sorry, that was a bit below the belt. I must have been keeping bad company to have come up with a stinker like that.

Are you enjoying this so far, Bill Taylor ? The cut and thrust ?

Isn't this why Anne Gilbert, sorry Bill Taylor, is so keen to have her hippo, sorry, me, back in the fold ?

Because I'm one of the few people prepared to take him on - to draw him out on that PC infection that he has acquired through living too long in North America, firstly Philadelphia USA, and latterly Toronto, Ontario.

My cut-and-paste of Anne Gilbert (see my previous comment), in which she let "her" mask slip in the wee small hours, came from doing a quick Google search. Later this morning, after sending it, I went back and re-read the entire thread.

Once I remember how to put those user-friendly links into comments, I will come back, and recommend that everyone reads it. They will see a prime example of the disingenuousness of Anne Gilbert at work, providing cues for BT.

But I'm sure some of the perceptive among you will have noticed that already.......

By the way: don't set too much store by Bill Taylor's denial of being Anne Gilbert. He once denied being "James Hamilton".

Contrary to what some might think it's not just two grumpy middle-aged men scrapping. It's actually a bit more fundamental: a clash, if you like, between PC and non-PC. The Dark Side and the Light Side ( but I leave readers to guess which is which, according to their own lights) .

Whatever your view on that score, look closely at that thread, when it appears : it's a master-class , if ever there was, if you explore closely enough, into the power-play and tactics of the PC tendency , intent on seizing the moral high ground.

In fact it's nothing of the sort : PC's just a short cut to their so-called moral high ground, from which they can play to the gallery. It's a sad phenomenon, and one that in my opinion is seriously undermining free speech and democracy. These are serious issues indeed. I make no apology for sounding like a "boy scout" (BT's description).

But whatever the differences of opinion, the character attacks must stop. I have tried to meet BT halfway yesterday, on my own blog.
I want some reassurances, and quickly please. He knows what he has to do.

At January 20, 2007 5:33 PM, Blogger anne gilbert said...

Bill,what is PC in ColinB's epistle? If you don't mind.

At January 20, 2007 5:41 PM, Blogger Bill Taylor said...

This isn't cut and thrust, it's feather-duster stuff. And, toward the end, largely incomprehensible. Especially the bit about meeting me halfway on your own blog. I don't read your blog. I've been there once, as you know, just before Christmas and that was quite enough for me. Meet me halfway how and on what?
You may be wedded to pointless and interminable debate but I'm not. You believe I could be Anne Gilbert; I know I'm not Anne Gilbert. There's nothing else I can say on that score. If you're half the scientist you claim to be, you must know that circumstantial evidence is shaky at best. But this is boring. I'd much rather have a dogfight with Richard. In the interests of free speech and democracy, which in your world appear limited to what is acceptable to you.

At January 20, 2007 5:45 PM, Blogger Bill Taylor said...

Oh, lord, now he's going to think I'm talking to myself, Anne! PC is Politically Correct. But what he means by this is anyone's guess.

At January 20, 2007 5:49 PM, Blogger ColinB said...

Note the simultaneous appearance of Bill Taylor and Anne Gilbert on this thread, both providing cues for t'other.

I rest my case.

At January 20, 2007 5:51 PM, Blogger Bill Taylor said...

If only you would. No one else but you cares about any of this.

At January 20, 2007 5:54 PM, Blogger anne gilbert said...

Thanks Bill.

I'm put out,man.Put out badly.
All those months on CR's Telegraph blogs,all the Hippo verses,all the time soothing ColinB yesterday so he gets away from his spate.All the nasty,verminous words of his I've had to read to follow the posts.
I worked at my writing.MY writing.

Consider my words of contempt for Colin Berry as spittle in his face.

Sorry Richard,to do this.

At January 20, 2007 5:56 PM, Blogger ColinB said...

Classic Bill Taylor tactic. We'll talk about the things he wants to talk about.

Beware: power play at work.

At January 20, 2007 6:04 PM, Blogger Bill Taylor said...

Okay, curiosity drove me over to Colin Berry's blog. If I understand it (and I'm not sure I do), he wants to meet me for a drink! And he seems to be offering accommodation in Antibes. This is all very nice but it has to be a wind-up. Which is fine - I'm a great fan of wind-ups. And I'll drink with almost anyone. Alas, I have no plans to be in Antibes any time soon. I'm not sure how far away from Antibes Colin Randall lives but I have no plans to visit him in the near-future either. However, if Colin Berry should find himself in Toronto, I'd happily have a drink or even dinner with him. It's not likely to happen though, is it?
My apologies to everyone else on this blog who must find all this unutterably tedious.

At January 20, 2007 6:10 PM, Blogger ColinB said...

In months of blogging, appearing on the same thread as James Hamilton, aka Bill Taylor, Anne Gilbert has revealed absolutely nothing about "herself", and is now squealing with self-pity. Do us all a favour "Anne Gilbert". Say who you are. If you are not Bill Taylor, then give some evidence to support that. Or are you Mrs. Taylor? Or a son or daughter, supporting her old man, as my daughter once did. Fat lot of good it did, since BT came back with his weasel words, hinting that my daughter was a fabrication. That's the real issue here. Not whether Anne Gilbert is Bill Taylor, a close relative or merely some lonely little soul: it's Bill Taylor's character attacks that are the issue, as he knows full well.

I repeat: Bill Taylor is the unacceptable face of blogging, and he is assisted in this by accomplices, witting or unwitting.

At January 20, 2007 6:10 PM, Blogger anne gilbert said...

Have a good weekend everyone,I'm going home.

At January 20, 2007 6:16 PM, Blogger ColinB said...

Why do you call it a wind-up ? Do you have so little trust or faith in your fellow man that you fail to see a genuine offer when you see one ?

I will not comment on whether you read my comments yesterday or today ? I will just ask you this: what have I ever said or done that would make you think I would say one thing, and mean the opposite?

At January 20, 2007 6:30 PM, Blogger Bill Taylor said...

It seems to be a wind-up because there's so little chance of it happening; of my being in Antibes or your being in Toronto. If it is a genuine offer, then I thank you for it. As I said, I'd happily have a drink or even dinner with you. I just don't expect anything to materialize, that's all.

At January 20, 2007 6:50 PM, Blogger richard of orléans said...

The principle cause of Ségo’s problems come from the policy area. When she was chosen as the socialist presidential candidate she was the one who was the least precise on policies. This has been seen as a criticism, in fact she cleverly exploited the population’s desire for something that didn’t resemble the past but was not sufficiently precise to dissipate the illusion of better tomorrows.

She became the presidential candidate bearing the dreams of all. That she had a magic wand to let us achieve our aspirations. We could all be smiling and beatiful yet old enough to be a grandmother.It was impossible to implode the image, at that point, by announcing a list of pedestrian sounding policies.

Further she also has to juggle with the socialist project of which she is supposed to be the standard bearer. It includes a few things, renationalisation of EDF, annulment of pension reform, further extension of the 35 hour week and various subsidies with which she no doubt does not want to be burdened. Yet if she denounces them she will only feed the illiberal extreme left which so effectively torpedoed Jospin’s presidential campaign.
She has managed to contain them reasonably well to date. They are her only risk that she will not get into the second round. Yet if she contains them with left wing policies she will offer a hostage to sarko for round two.

So, in order to gain time, she has announced a period of consultation and participative meetings before formulating her policies on 11 February. It sounds a might wishy washy to many in the party who would prefer to have a list of, squeeze the capitalist policies, with which to rally the troupes. It’s gonna take a steady strong hand to keep the show on the road.

Sarko is not without his problems. While his acceptation speech went well and even impressed the left, it was just as vacuous as Ségo. He said he had changed. In summary become a more loving sympathetic guy because he had experienced suffering himself. The Anglo Saxon capitalism is dumped and he has become more caring. We’ll soon be into Chirac and his fracture social. It will be a tough new image to pull off for the wielder of the Karcher against the racaille.That will not be the last time you hear those injudicious words.

Interesting times ahead.

At January 20, 2007 6:52 PM, Blogger ColinB said...

I had just composed soemthing, and was about to post, when I took the elementary precaution of checking if anything had gone up in the meantime. It's as well I did. The one I have held in memory on the hard drive was effectively going nuclear, as they say.

That most recent comment from BT offers some slight cause for hope. He may cite practicalities, but that's not the issue: it's the principle that counts. He has been offered an olive branch, not a poisoned chalice. He must decide whether to accept or reject. And quickly, because I am no longer prepared to sit back, wondering when or where he makes his next character attack. Decide now, Bill Taylor. What is it to be ? War or peace? I don't expect a public climb down, or anything like that. Just a message that you are posting to my other blog, or words to that effect.

At January 20, 2007 7:06 PM, Blogger Bill Taylor said...

I have nothing to post to your other blog. I have no interest in your blog. In the interests of quality control on THIS blog, I'm ending my participation in this particular debate which has become less than fascinating. I have nothing more to say on this subject, other than to point out that my wife isn't Anne Gilbert, either, and we don't have kids. If you're ever in Toronto, look me up.

At January 20, 2007 7:27 PM, Blogger ColinB said...

That is not good enough BT. It offers me no protection against a repetition of what happened a short while ago on Colin Randall's thread.

An "Anonymous" writes in, asking Colin to put his links in alphabetical order, and you jump in, suggesting it's me, under cover, with an ulterior motive.

And when I protest, you just lay it on with a trowel, even claiming that my "daughter", as you put it, is a fabrication, the same daughter who showed her intense upset at what you (and R of O) were saying at my expense.

You may think you can sidle out of this, Bill Taylor. But you are mistaken. Look out for a post, probably Tuesday or thereabouts, in which I will relate my experience on Colin Randall's blog over many months, one that epitomizes the unacceptable face of blogging.

You cannot claim you weren't warned. The record, here and on my own blog, will speak for itself.

That's all I intend to say on this thread.

Now what was that you were saying , R of O ? Good post, BTW, on your blog, but please don't interpret that as "divide and rule" .

At January 20, 2007 10:44 PM, Blogger ColinB said...

I'm a bit rusty inserting links into posts. Here's the one promised earlier; I hope it works.

Birth beyond bars

Read all the comments, and you will see Bill Taylor getting up on his high horse time and again, making mountains out of molehills, asserting his supposed moral superiority, attempting to denigrate others.

All that would be tolerable (just) but his attempts to besmirch character will no longer be tolerated, certainly not by this blogger.

I suggest that this Mr.Holier-Than-Thou Bill Taylor thinks a little more about what he likes to call "quality control" before sitting in judgement on others.

At January 21, 2007 2:46 PM, Blogger Bill Taylor said...

And now Hilary Clinton has officially entered the U.S. presidential race. Wealth, tax issues, personality... there are some interesting parallels to be drawn with Ségo. It would be fascinating to look ahead to the end of next year and see how -- or if -- the transatlantic political situation has been transformed.

At January 21, 2007 4:16 PM, Blogger richard of orléans said...

Well hopefully George Bush represents rock bottom. It would be nice to see the US recognise that they panicked after 9/11 and had the wrong approach.

Certainly reading articles in the New York Times and the LA Times there is much common ground between certain Americans and France. But I fear this is only a small minoritity in the US. It is interesting that these newspapers are much closer to France than for example the Guardian, which is the least red toothed of the UK press.Indeed the only UK paper that has common ground with Europe is strangely the FT, and then it's not much.

France is a long way from supporting Anglo Saxon capitalism. Indeed Sarko who has expressed at times a more pro capitalist and Atlanticist approach is clearly turning away from these positions as the election campaign progresses. A journey already travelled by Chirac.

At January 21, 2007 7:07 PM, Blogger Bill Taylor said...

Hard to imagine anything below Bush. Whoever runs for the Republicans faces a steep and sticky climb out of the morass that Dubya has sunk the party (and the country) into. It's hard, too, right now to come up with a stronger Democratic candidate than Clinton. It'll be fascinating to see who emerges on both sides.
That small minority has the potential to grow exponentially. The U.S. is beginning to see that its post 9/11 strategy has been horribly misguided. There's room now, I think, for a little guarded optimism. With the emphasis on guarded.

At January 21, 2007 9:21 PM, Blogger richard of orléans said...

Well Bill I hope you're right. It seems like a long time ago that any dialogue was possible with the US.

Incidentally I very much doubt that Clinton will make it to the Whitehouse. But it will be interesting to see.

On a week end when 19 young American soldiers were killed and God knows how many disfigured for life you wonder how people can be so callous to pursue a pointless conflict forever. Don't they realise something about geography? Iraq is surrounded by billions of people who hate the Americans and for whom life is cheap.

I see from the Toronto Star that you have taken up an exercise programme. Have fun. I never managed to lose weight with exercise but it makes you feel and look a lot better. I'm like you I'm not prepared to sacrifice the good food and drink in life.

At January 21, 2007 10:48 PM, Blogger Bill Taylor said...

I'm not at all sure myself if Hilary Clinton can win the presidency but I believe she'll make a very strong showing. It may be wishful thinking on my part but I think the country is moving slowly, very slowly, towards dialogue.
Part of the big problem is that many Americans don't KNOW anything about geography, let alone realize its implications. They'd be hard put to pinpoint France on a map, let alone Iraq. And the national ethos is so gun-oriented that firepower is seen as a workable solution, even in the face of all the evidence to the contrary. It's not so much callousness (at least not outside the confines of the White House) as ignorance.
My exercise series isn't called "Kill Bill" for nothing. My trainer took me to a 90-minute "boxercise" class this morning -- possibly the most strenuous thing I've ever done. I'm very curious to see a) if I last the 3 months; and b) what effect it has. I'm going to Quebec City for four days at the end of next week for the Winter Carnival. They have wonderful food and drink there and I have no intention of stinting myself.

At January 23, 2007 3:54 PM, Blogger Bill Taylor said...

Ségo has just been butting heads with the Canadian prime minister, Stephen Harper, in the course of which he seems to have acknowledged her leadership potential.
She had a brief meeting in Paris on Monday with André Bosclair, head of the separatist Parti Quebecois and said later his views were "in line with the values that we share, the sovereignty and liberty of Quebec."
Harper, leader of our Conservative minority government, issued a statement: "Experience teaches that it is highly inappropriate for a foreign leader to interfere in the democratic affairs of another country."


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