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Wednesday, 21 May 2014

So, who's "Lookin' after number one"?

Well, the title is not an allusion to the 1977 debut single of the same name by The Boomtown Rats.

Instead it's a tortured reference to one of the "big" political stories to have made the news in France over the past week.

"What could that be?" you might be asking (or not).

After all, it's a while since I let my fingers do the walking and brought you bang up-to-date with an objective look at the wonderful world that is French politics.

It's the upcoming European elections perhaps, and the somewhat "contrived" battery of polls which show French voters apparently giving the far-right Front National's (FN) anti-EU "programme" (sorry about the inverted commas - needs must) the thumbs up when everyone knows the big winner will really be the abstention rate.

Yawn.

Or Robert Ménard, one of the founders, and former secretary-general, of Reporters Sans Frontières who now, as mayor of the town of Béziers in the south of France (a post he won with the backing of the FN in March) has decided to ban - wait for it - the townsfolk from leaving their washing out on their balconies if it can be seen from the street?

Oh wait a moment. It'll only be between the hours of six o'clock in the morning and 10 pm. So it'll be all right to hang your undies out to dry during the night.

No. Too silly by far. Although a piece tracing Ménard's career from being a member of the Socialist party to becoming a self-declared "reactionary" in favour of the death penalty and against same-sex marriage might be interesting.

Maybe "Lookin' after number one!" alludes to Alain Delon, an...er...icon (is that the right word?) of the French cinema; a living legend whose brain seems to have become addled over the years (well he's getting on) and feels the need, and probably thinks his "star" status gives him the right, to express his social and political views in public.

After saying last year that same-sex couples should not be allowed to marry, that being gay was "against nature" and that "men were meant to woo women and not pick up other guys", it's perhaps little wonder that the 78-year-old has come out (entirely intentional turn of phrase) in support of Christine "homosexuality is an abomination" Boutin and her Force Vie movement in the European elections.

Nope. Delon and Boutin are far too busy looking after family values to be concerned about only themselves.

So "Lookin' after number one!" must be about Jean-François Copé's problems as the leader of the centre-right Union pour un mouvement populaire (Union for a popular movement, UMP).

You know the story, surely.

Copé's alleged "shady dealings" with UMP funds by handing out contracts to a communications company run by a couple of close buddies, which charged the party for events which never happened.

Ho hum. Looks as though it's all about to go ballistic next week when police will question three UMP parliamentarians who could well provide the proof that Copé is responsible for certain...er..."irregularities".

No, it's not that either.

Rather "Lookin' after number one!" refers to the former political scribe-turned politician  Henri Guaino and a parliamentary resolution he's tabling which shows that at the very least he has cojones.

Henri Guaino (screenshot "Bourdin direct" BFM TV, May 2014)

You see (and this is going to be a little complicated to explain) Guaino made remarks about the judge who has been investigating the dealings of Nicolas Sarkozy (to whom he was both a special advisor and political speechwriter) with French billionaire Liliane Bettencourt.

He (Guaino) accused Jean-Michel Gentil (the judge) of "dishonouring the justice system" in the manner in which he was questioning and investigating Sarkozy.

That comment clearly didn't sit well with l'Union syndicale des magistrats who brought a case against Guaino to the public prosecutor for "contempt of court and discrediting an act or judicial decision, under conditions likely to undermine the authority of the justice or independence".

Guaino's reaction? Well, he stood by everything he said.

But just to take out some extra "insurance", he's now asking his fellow parliamentarians to pass a resolution which would...." suspend the proceedings by the public prosecutor of Paris against Henri Guaino, MP for contempt of court..."

All right. That's more than enough French politics.

Here's Bob Geldof (pre KBE) and the rest of 'em

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