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Thursday, 4 April 2013

French Socialist party's embarrassment and anger at Jérôme Cahuzac

The so-called Cahuzac affair has been dominating domestic headlines ever since the former budget minister, Jérôme Cahuzac, admitted earlier this week that he had lied (to everyone and very publicly) about having a foreign bank account.

Left, Right and Centre have pitched in to have their say in a matter that touches them all regardless of their political hue.

The French media has taken a very long and hard look at who knew what - or not - and if so, when.

While there's no denying the "moral indignation" expressed in many of the headlines, the scandal of a minister responsible for fighting fraud being allegedly culpable of it himself is not exactly unknown in French politics.

Just think former finance minister Hervé Gaymard and his luxury public-funded Paris apartment in 2005, or former budget minister Éric Woerth  and his "conflict of interests" in the "Woerth-Bettencourt" affair involving his wife Florence in 2010 or, or, or.

Heck, Wikipedia - for all its faults - has a whole page listing them over the decades.

Take a look and trace them backwards perhaps.

Inevitably the president, François Hollande, responded in a manner typical of French leaders. 

He announced the fast-tracked introduction of a new "stable-door-horse-bolted" law on the "publication and control" of ministers' wealth.

Among all the reactions though, perhaps two stand out.

They came shortly after Cahuzac made his admission from two members of his (now former) party; prime minister Jean-Marc Ayrault and trade unionist Gérard Filoche.

Gérard Filoche (screenshot LCI)

Tight-lipped and embarrassed, Ayrault answered the questions put to him on France 2's prime time news, sending out signals of the near-complete incompetence we've come to expect.

Meanwhile over on the all-news channel LCI, Filoche - not encumbered by the responsibilities of high office perhaps - was able to express freely and emotionally just how he felt and more importantly the sense he had that the French had been betrayed.

It doesn't matter what your level of French is, you can see from the gestures and the facial expressions of the two men just how shocked both were.

Somehow though, you can't help wishing that Ayrault had shown just a little more of Filoche's genuine passion.

If you cannot endure watching nine minutes of Ayrault, at least check out the one featuring Filoche.

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