November 21, 2006

THE FRENCH WAY OF DYING:

Madame la Presidente won't make the slightest difference (Simon Heffer, 22/11/2006, Daily Telegraph)

[I]t is clear that should the people of France elect next May Ségolène Royal as their president, nothing will change. This, of course, is not the view of Mme Royal or her cohorts. One of them was so confident not just of victory, but of the manner in which it would restore the majesty of France in Europe and the world that he felt able to tell our Paris correspondent of the terms that Mme la Presidente would be dictating once installed in the Elysée Palace. For a start, he observed, Britain would have to choose between Europe and America.

Oh really? And just how, I wonder, would that choice be forced upon us? Will the French navy blockade Dover, Portsmouth and Felixstowe until either we divorce Uncle Sam or agree to complete immersion into the institutions of the Euopean Union – constitution, single currency and all? Quite. Let us dismiss such twerpishness (or, as the French put it, connerie) as merely one functionary's exuberance in the afterglow of triumph, and remind ourselves what the realities of life after a Royal victory would be. The fact is that with France in the mess it is, the last thing she – or any other new president – would have time to worry about would be foreign policy.

[T]here will be no radicalism: and, for the avoidance of doubt, M Hollande said last weekend that Mme Royal would stick to orthodox socialist policies if elected. You know the score: high taxation, vast public sector, dirigisme, total absence of meaningful economic reform, and the concomitants of high unemployment, minimal growth and sporadic social unrest. Plus ça change, plus ce sera la meme chose, as the proverb almost goes.


It's not as if they were going to Anglicize and save themselves after two hundred years.

Posted by Orrin Judd at November 21, 2006 11:25 PM
Comments

OJ, I can't reconcile your apparent beliefs that 1) France is hopelessly stuck and incapable of becoming more like us, yet 2) Hezbollah only needs to take over all or part of Lebanon and the responsibilities of government will soon force it to embrace democracy and the market economy and become our friend. France, for all its problems and idiocies, seems to me to be a much better candidate for reform.

Posted by: PapayaSF at November 22, 2006 1:38 AM

Politics is easy. Religion is hard.

Posted by: oj at November 22, 2006 7:06 AM
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