|Martine Aubry (screenshot Europe 1 radio)|
"Oui. Here is the perhaps soon-to-be former leader of the Socialist party and still mightily peeved prime minister-in-waiting. Who's calling please?" she purred down the 'phone, as was her usual fashion
"Hi Auntie. It's me," squeaked a voice from the other end. "Nasal Vellum, France's minister of the interior (yes you can tell Socialist party members are quickly getting used to their own self importance since adding a majority in the National Assembly elections to that in the Senate, a presidency and a government). I thought I would give you a tinkle just to let you know what I've been up to."
"Thank you Nasal," replied Auntie frostily.
"Where are you today?" she asked through gritted teeth, well aware that since assuming office, Nasal had looked towards one of his infamous Kärcher-cleaning predecessors as a media mentor and was pretty much omnipresent.
Auntie might have been on holiday, but she still read the newspapers and watched TV.
"Well Auntie," he hesitated.
"I've been hither and thither, no time for a break you know. What with my being France's Number One copper, I haven't had a moment to myself. Places to go. People to see. Things to do," he continued.
"Avignon, Marseille, Vars, Villiers-le-Bel, Amiens. Pick a place - any place in France - and I've been there.
"Lille?" hissed Auntie.
"Ah yes Lille...er...I've been meaning to talk to you about that."
At this point it might be worth mentioning that not only is Auntie the perhaps soon-to-be former leader of the Socialist party and prime minister-in-waiting, she has also been the mayor of Lille since 2001.
"Well I was there in July after the shootings outside a discotheque, as you know," began a clearly flustered Nasal.
"Yes I'm aware of that," came the sharp response.
"You met me too."
There was a pause.
Silence, broken only by the sound of Auntie grinding her teeth.
"THE CAMPS," she blasted down the 'phone.
"What the (expression deleted to avoid offending those of a sensitive disposition) do you think you've been up to tearing down Roma camps without telling me first what you were planning?"
"You're as big a fool as that idiot Kärcher-cleaning halfwit," she thundered.
"You know how angry I was after he gave that Grenoble speech in 2010 when he clearly stirred up hatred against the Roma. And you know how I've done everything in my power to ensure they are welcomed as humanely as possible here IN LILLE. I've set up three villages d’insertion and there are another three being built," continued Auntie.
"What have you done? And how come I had to learn what had happened from the media?"
Nasal had expected such an outburst, and he was used to it. After all he knew he was far from being Auntie's favourite aspiring president.
The two of them had come to blows in the past especially as Nasal had served as a faithful lieutenant to one of Auntie's arch enemies - Seggers, in her failed 2007 presidential bid.
And he had thrown his weight behind François Hollande after being knocked out of the Socialist primaries to choose the party's presidential candidate this year.
Hollande, you might remember, went head to head with none other than Auntie in the second round.
So Nasal did what any sensible politician with would do ... he waffled.
"Respect for human dignity is a constant imperative of all public action, but the difficulties and local health risks posed by the unsanitary camps needed to be addressed," said Nasal, quoting his own ministry's official statement.
"In no case did the removals take the form of collective expulsion, which is forbidden by law."
"NASAL. YOU FOOL. YOU SOUND JUST LIKE THE KÄRCHER DOLT," shouted Auntie.
"How do you think the whole thing makes me look and what am I going to say to the media?
Nasal thought a few moments before replying...but that dear reader is where we'll have to leave the two of them for now.
Because, as the French media is reporting, the perhaps soon-to-be former leader of the Socialist party and prime minister-in-waiting is expected to give her official response to Nasal's decision to dismantle two makeshift Roma camps near Lille some time this week.
How exactly she'll manage to make it look as though she's not in complete disagreement with the manner in which the camps were closed will be a monumental feat.
But as a seasoned and more than competent politician, she should be well up to the task.
In the meantime, Nasal isn't at all concerned apparently, insisting that everything is more or less hunky dory between the two of them.
Well maybe not quite.
Which of course provides the excuse for a song - as if one were needed - with, among others, the sublime Gladys.