January 28, 2007


All lies! L'affaire Ségo stirs up dirty tricks battle in France (Matthew Campbell, 1/28/07, Sunday Times of London)

Gérald Dahan, 33, said he had telephoned Royal on Wednesday pretending to be Jean Charest, Quebec's premier, and had spoken to her for 11 minutes. He has a record of hoaxes, including fooling Jean-Pierre Raffarin, the former French prime minister, into thinking that Philippe Douste-Blazy, his health minister, had been caught by police with a prostitute.

In 2005 Dahan phoned Zine-dine Zidane, the footballer, just before a match against Ireland, pretending to be President Jacques Chirac. He asked "Zizou", nickname of the former French captain, to get the team to sing La Marseillaise with their hands on their hearts. The players happily complied.

Dahan said he managed to convince five Royal advisers that he was Charest by putting on a Quebec accent: "I don't know Quebec's prime minister and neither does she, apparently."

Royal was already in hot water over her suggestion that she was in favour of independence for Quebec. This had drawn a rebuke from Stephen Harper, the Canadian prime minister.

The comedian told her that a French person backing Quebec's sovereignty was like a Canadian urging independence for Corsica. Royal laughed and, in an extract of the conversation that was broadcast on radio, was heard saying: "The French people would not be opposed to that idea . . . Don't repeat that though. It would cause another incident in France. It is a secret."

After controversial comments about Iran, the Middle East and China, opponents seized on this as fresh evidence of her inexperience and inability to govern: the idea that France might be willing to grant Corsica independence is anathema. The Mediterranean island is seen as an integral part of the nation.

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 28, 2007 8:28 AM

It's gotta be what the Kerry campaign would have been like if Theresa had been the one running.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at January 28, 2007 12:01 PM

The best the left can come up with in France is the stunt of putting up this female airhead as a Presidential candidate. In the US the corresponding stunt is Obama and the novelty of his blurred ethnicity.

Posted by: DT at January 28, 2007 5:53 PM