Er. Hello? Isn't there something wrong with that?
|François Hollande and Valérie Trierweiler - end of summer hols. Nice tan (screenshot Var Matin)|
Unemployment, economic recession, the problems in the Eurozone, Syria - all trifling concerns of government which could be put on hold, it would appear, while Hollande, sunned himself in the south of France for three weeks.
Oops, 18 days to be precise. Mustn't exaggerate now.
Those are points driven home not only in Tuesday's edition of Libération with a headline that reads as though it's taken straight from Le Figaro "L'été très moyen de françois Hollande", but also by a piece in this week's Le Point by Hervé Gattegno.
"Where else would a 'normal' employee begin a job at the beginning of May and be automatically entitled to three weeks holiday in August," asks Gattegno in his piece entitled "Hollande was on holiday for too long."
Gattegno surely has a point.
Sure he's now calling his ministers in and having detailed head-to-heads with them about how to tackle the recession (what recession?), economic hardship at home and throughout Europe, what to do about Syria, the Roma, violence and security in France and the list goes on.
But shouldn't he have been doing exactly that - or at have least given the appearance of doing so - already?
In an interview with Le Journal de Dimanche last weekend, Jean-Luc Mélenchon characterised (or rather caricatured) Hollande's first 100 days in office as "100 days of almost nothing."
Gattegno says Mélenchon was, in his usual style, exaggerating but there's also the uncomfortable feeling - even among those to the Left - that there might be some substance in what he says, and a potential sign of things not to come.
The article in Libération, a paper that is not shy in its support of the Socialist party, is surely evidence in itself that some on the Left are questioning Hollande's tactics - or lack thereof.
Hollande might want to be demonstrating that he's not as omnipresent as his predecessor Nicolas Sarkozy, but isn't he taking delegation perhaps a little too far and appearing almost absent?
If he carries on at this rate his five year mandate will come to resemble those of Jacques Chirac's second term in office - a time when French politics stood still while the world moved on.