In case you were wondering, those delightful words dropped from the lips of the French head of state, Nicolas Sarkozy, shortly after he opened the annual agricultural show in Paris on Saturday.
Proof, as if ever it were needed, that the president sometimes has the common sense of a turnip and the mouth of a football hooligan
Sarkozy’s ”Get lost you dickhead” – and that’s the polite translation - is now ricocheting around Internet sites after being captured on video by a fellow visitor to the show.
The incident occurred as the president was tentatively patting and petting the bovine and equine stars, while at the same time trying to press the flesh with their proud owners.
Now Sarkozy is more than something of a townie and neither looks nor feels that comfortable with the sod beneath his feet so to speak. He therefore wasn’t exactly in his element. He’s also teetotal, which doesn’t go down that well with the farming community and he certainly doesn’t get the same sort of chummy but respectful welcome as his predecessor, Jacques Chirac.
In fact as he muscled his way through the throng surrounded by his heavies, the cheering was matched by an equal amount of booing.
Undaunted Sarkozy jostled forth, ignoring the cries of “what about our purchasing power” and “what are you going to do about our pensions”, to hone in on one exhibitor and try to grab him by the hand.
Big mistake, and he might have been better advised to try the neck, as the man was clearly not having any of Sarkozy’s forced bonhomie and instead told the president not to touch him as he (Sarkozy) “would soil him”.
Hardly the most inviting of welcomes and far from polite and indeed Sarkozy was provoked into a reaction.
But this is not a gossip mag celebrity, who can afford to let fall the odd clanger, thinking it will only enhance his bad boy image. This is the head of state, a political figure that represents the country to the rest of the world and supposedly speaks the language of international diplomacy.
Ergo his words did not exactly come across as very statesmanlike.
If only Sarkozy could have shown a little decency and held his tongue, he wouldn’t have been able to provide the accompanying hacks with even more unnecessary and unflattering fodder for the week ahead.
So not a great day at the fair for France’s president and perhaps he should have stayed at home.
Actually the weekend only got worse for him as the latest opinion poll shows his approval ratings down nine points from a month ago to 38 per cent. Meanwhile his ever-popular prime minister, François Fillon, is up seven points to 57 per cent.
Maybe the president’s foul humour was down to prior knowledge of what the poll contained. In any case the only saving grace is that it was conducted before Saturday’s outburst.
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