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Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Lionel Jospin and Roselyne Bachelot - France's new comedy duo "do" political morality

There's a new comedy team to have hit the headlines this week.

Actually it's a double act comprising two (surprise, surprise) figures

And it's proof, if it were needed, that French politicians never truly disappear.

They might "retire" from centre stage for a while, but more often than not they make a comeback - or two - as in the case of Lionel Jospin.

Lionel Jospin (Wikipedia)

Yes, just when you perhaps thought you could forget the man who safely guided the Socialist party from government to more than a decade in the wilderness following his humiliating 2002 first-round defeat in the presidential elections, he's back.

Actually Jospin is back, back, because although he announced his "retirement" (never take a politician literally - huh) shortly after his failure to make it through to the second round in 2002, a couple of years later he let it be known that he was "available" should the Socialists decide they wanted him as a candidate for the 2007 presidential election.

The party didn't.

He withdrew his candidacy in the primaries and threw his full weight behind the official contender, Ségolène Royal, happily joining the other disgruntled elephants in the not-so-subtle "Tout sauf Ségolène" campaign.

Anyway water under the proverbial, and if you want a full recap of Jospin's long political career and his time as prime minister (under Jacques Chirac) you can of course begin with that most trustworthy of online resources Wikipedia.

Back to the present and Jospin's latest reincarnation.

The 75-year-old has been appointed to head a commission with the snappy title of "The renovation of public life."

"A political morality commission" (an oxymoron?) with a mission - to boldy sorry wrong gig... "to reflect on how to go about abolishing multiple political mandates and the immunity of the president to prosecution while in office."

Now why exactly a commission is needed for something which, when it comes to the abolition of multiple political mandates, was a) an electoral promise and b) would seem downright logical to anyone looking in from the outside, might escape you.

But a commission is there is to spend time (and money) "reflecting" on how best to go about things.

And let's face it, there'll probably be pretty strong opposition from many parliamentarians who insist that the time-(dis)honoured tradition of multiple mandates is one that should be upheld because it allows politicians to serve simultaneously at a national and regional level and thereby gives them roots in, and a better understanding of, what's happening in their local community and...more money.

Don't question the weird and wonderful ways of the French political system in which any recommendations that might be made could be equally ignored and besides the "morality commission" will also be considering such worthy subjects as, "guidelines for the behaviour of elected representatives in public life, campaign spending and financing and the possible introduction of limited proportional representation."


Jospin will be heading a 14-strong team which includes the other half of that promised double act.

Applause please for Roselyne Bachelot-Narquin, the croc-wearing, opera-singing, gay-friendly close ally of former prime minister François Fillon and herself a minister under Jacques Chirac (environment) and Nicolas Sarkozy (health and sport).

Bachelot is a recent retiree from political life having decided not to contest the seat she held in the last parliamentary elections.

But she too has "received the call" to join the cross-party commission and is suitably surprised and honoured to be asked to be a member,"(blah, blah, blah) maintaining that she will always be "a woman of the centre-right."

So there you have it.

Jospin and Bachelot "do" morality.

Sounds like a match made in heaven, doesn't it?

A possible double ticket for 2017 when Hollande's mandate will be coming to an end?

Let's see Jospin would be just a couple of months short of his 80th birthday and Bachelot would be 70.

Sounds just about right

Probably Roselyne Bachelot's finest hour

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Yet another commission! I read that France has hundreds of commissions investigating topics such as "the Cold", "coral reefs" or "the good old minitel".
The question is, will the members of that new commission be paid?


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