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Monday, 13 August 2012

Incomplete UMP leadership faction - the battle of the bus, bike and hot air balloon

You can tell it's August - and not just by the weather.

Paris is full...of tourists and it ain't so difficult to park.

Trash television in the form of Secret Story is back on the small screen - actually it has been for a while now.

And although are some very serious news stories around (what's happening in Syria for example) the media is doing its very best to ignore them as much as it can and hoist upon viewers a heap of lighter, more palatable fare.

Don't want to ruin the holidays after all.

Turtle hot air balloon (from Wikipedia - author: Tommaso.gavioli)

Yes it's the silly season - in terms of what's making the headlines at least -  and not wanting to buck the trend or break with such a fine tradition, that brings us nicely to this week's factional tale - political as it happens.

Just for your delectation - or otherwise - here's a totally unfounded story revealing some of the behind-the-scenes manœuvring as the race to become president of the opposition centre-right Union pour un mouvement populaire (Union for a Popular Movement, UMP) splutters

Actually that's probably something of an exaggeration because right now it's merely a question of preparing the foundations and each of the candidates working out how they're going to gather the 8,000 signatures from party members necessary to stand.

At stake is the presidency of the UMP - to be decided in November - effectively making the winner the party's leader and providing him or her with a potential launching pad to become its official candidate in the next French presidential elections in 2017.

But that's looking way too far ahead.

Right now the contenders - declared or otherwise - are trying to work out the best way of meeting and greeting and pressing the flesh with the party faithful.

Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet (NKM) for example has decided to go strictly normal, plumping for the good old tried and trusted minibus.

She has already begun her Tour de France apparently, so look out for the NKM circus coming to a town near you shortly.

François Fillon shouldn't have too many difficulties getting the necessary support. After all he was prime minister for all five of those very long years under Nicolas Sarkozy, is a familiar face and not disliked...too much.

And that's probably just as well because he still needs to take it easy after coming a cropper on his scooter while on his hols in Italy recently.

Fillon is still nursing his injuries and reports say that his Welsh wife Penelope, who has made him sit in front of the telly for the past couple of weeks watching Team GB's performance at the Olympics, has put a stop to any notion he might have had about conducting his campaign for signatures on a motorbike with her along for the ride in a sidecar.

Finally of course there's the self-styled front runner who hasn't yet officially declared himself, Jean-François Copé.

All the signs are there that he's more than tempted though.

There's already a support committee complete with Facebook page.

Copé also probably won't have much difficulty in collecting those 8,000 signatures but that hasn't stopped the unfounded rumour circulating that he has been in touch with François Hollande's successful presidential election campaign team.

You see, while Hollande banged on about wanting to appear "normal" there was also apparently a Bling Bling strategy in place should everything have gone pear-shaped: a hot air balloon to take the then-prospective candidate to every corner of La Belle France and beyond if necessary.

Very Jules Verne, don't you think.

As it turned out of course, Hollande was able to take the train but there's still the small matter of what to do with the balloon.

It's apparently currently stored in the basement of the Parisian apartment he shared with his partner Valérie Trierweiler before being called to serve his country and the space it's taking up is beginning to annoy his former neigbours.

And that's where the Copé's support committee comes in.

One member, who wanted to remain anonymous, has revealed that the two men have in fact been on a trial flight - together - but Copé is still hesitating.

"He (Copé) is certainly up for it as he thinks it's and original idea and a way of blending the country's past with its future," said the source.

"The only thing that could perhaps scupper plans to use the hot air balloon - apart from the weather of course - is the design choice Hollande made when commissioning it," he continued.

"What might have worked for Hollande wouldn't necessarily be appropriate for Jean-François Copé."

And there's no denying the truth in that because some bright spark at Hollande campaign HQ came up with the idea of a turtle shaped hot air balloon.


All this wannabe normality and amateurish  Bling Bling.

It almost makes you yearn for the return of the good old, bad old days.

Music maestro please

Told you it was the silly season.

Yo man!

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