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Friday, 30 August 2013

Whoopee! Another week in French politics with best buddies, Manuel Valls (again) and Inspecteur Gadget

The political week in France began with the Socialist party holding its annual summer shindig in La Rochelle.

Well strictly speaking it was last weekend, but hey ho. Give a guy a little temporal (as related to time rather than spiritual) break please.

The great and the glorious were there, including the party's new best friends, the interior minister Manuel Valls and the justice minister Christine Taubira.

We know they're now best buddies, in spite of the former recently trying to tell the latter how to do her job properly, because Valls said so, insisting that they were both "working hand in hand to achieve the same thing - a fair and effective policy."

Valls was certainly good value for money.  Up there on the podium, he looked ready to implode (he so often does, don't you think?) as he seethed, spluttered, yelled and sometimes cooed his way through 20 minutes. There's no doubting, he sure can orate.


Valls: "L'immigration doit être régulée et... par BFMTV

Sadly the same could not be said for his immediate boss, the prime minister Jean-Marc Ayrault, who closed the conference on Sunday.

Sure he tried to bring the whole shebang to a conclusion with a speech showing who was in charge (and don't say "nobody") and a warning that, "Personal games could ruin the collective efforts."

http://www.lexpress.fr/actualite/politique/la-rochelle-quand-jean-marc-ayrault-prend-les-commandes_1275780.html

But really. Even if he thought anyone was listening and taking note, did he honestly believe they were taking any notice?

A far less apoplectic Valls (yes that man again) popped up on the revamped "Le Grand Journal" on Canal + on Monday evening.

He was the guest of honour as the show's new anchor, Antoine de Caunes, and his team went on the attack.

That photo spread with his wife in Paris Match, his own personal crusading Tour de France over the summer, and the media love-in for a man who clearly knew where the cameras were.

"Wasn't it all a bit too reminiscent of a certain former French president," he was asked.

The interior minister more than held his own - and kept his cool. But it was a little like watching a double of the real thing (Nicolas Sarkozy, just in case you were wondering) in action.

Veuillez installer Flash Player pour lire la vidéo


The programme would probably have been a good deal more interesting had another guest not been disinvited.

Daniel Cohn-Bendit had also been slated to appear, but the invitation was withdrawn at the last moment because "Valls wanted to be the only one on the programme" according to Cohn-Bendit who is now a political commentator on Europe 1 radio.

"It's not important. In fact it's rather amusing really," he said. "But it's symptomatic of what I call a 'presidential virus' in which he (Valls) is trying to project a presidential image."



Tous candidats à l’élection présidentielle ! par Europe1fr

Nothing of the sort, according to the show's production team.

It was simply that the same sort of editorial decision had been taken as similar programmes on other channels: namely to concentrate on a debriefing after the conference in La Rochelle.

http://www.jeanmarcmorandini.com/article-309004-cohn-bendit-affirme-avoir-ete-deprogramme-du-grand-journal-a-la-demande-de-manuel-valls-la-reponse-de-la-production.html

Ho hum. We believe you.

Back to Ayrault for a moment, and the prime minister finally unveiled the government's proposals for pension reform...or non-reform as the "reformettes" have also been described.

Although it's an important subject, pensions can also appear terribly tedious stuff and successive French governments have shown a talent for regularly tinkering with a complex system and making it even more incomprehensible.

The current government is no exception.

But just in case you want to try to understand what is being proposed, here's a link to a piece in the Wall Street Journal.

Finally, the French president, François Hollande, came out of his hidey hole this week to deliver an impassioned speech on the situation in Syria.

"France is ready to punish (ooh puhleeze, who the heck was his speechwriter?) those who took the heinous decision to gas innocents," he told an annual meeting in Paris of French ambassadors from around the world, undoubtedly striking fear into the very heart of Bashar al-Assad's regime.

And while Hollande waits for other international leaders to decide what, if any, action should be taken, the weekly news magazine Le Point was once again poking fun at him with a very telling front cover of its latest edition.

It features a head and shoulder shot of a half-smiling Hollande, left hand held aloft and the gloriously appropriate headline "Inspecteur Gadget"...described by that online bible of all that is true and factual, Wikipedia, as "a clumsy, dim-witted cyborg detective".

Gadget, that is. Not Hollande.

Or there again.

That's all for this week folks.

Have a great weekend.


screenshot front cover Le Point


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