April 30, 2007


Sarkozy: I am no fascist (even if I sound like one) (John Lichfield, 30 April 2007, Independent)

The centre-right candidate gave a cheering crowd of 20,000 people a piece of vintage "Sarko" - 80 minutes of finger-jabbing indignation against the political system to which he has belonged for 20 years.

True, M. Sarkozy, 52, the centre-right candidate for the presidency, angrily denied that he was a fascist or even a "nationalist". He reminded the crowd that France's greatest, modern political hero, Charles de Gaulle, had also been accused of having fascist, anti- democratic leanings. True, M. Sarkozy promised, if elected, to introduce a small dose of proportional representation into one of the two houses of the French parliament. That is a long-standing demand of supporters of the centrist UDF party who hold the key to Sunday's election.

Otherwise, it was a high-octane performance of controlled populism, touching every button of anger and indignation in a country with as many grumbles as cheeses. M. Sarkozy said that he wanted to be the "spokesman for France".

He wanted to stand up to all those who fleeced the French people, which included "politicians, technocrats, trades unionists and fraudsters". Presumably, M. Sarkozy does not count himself as a politician.

This was the language of the extreme, populist right, in the name - M. Sarkozy insisted - of consensual, pragmatic, liberalising reform. M. Sarkozy may not be a fascist but he is not afraid of sounding like one. This may be the secret of his success but it also explains why a large part of France - and not just on the left - is scared of the prospect, even the probability, of a Sarkozy presidency.

Doesn't that mean an even larger part is afraid of his opponent?

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 30, 2007 7:13 AM

80 minutes????

Who wants to listen to that for 80 minutes.

Posted by: Sandy P at April 30, 2007 8:31 AM

There should be a rule that anyone who uses the word fascism/fascist must first define it.

Posted by: erp [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 30, 2007 8:37 AM

Poor frogs, either a pseudo-fascist or a neo-communist.

Posted by: ic at April 30, 2007 1:49 PM