May 4, 2007


Will France choose Sarko or the road to ruin? (Simon Heffer, 05/05/2007, Daily Telegraph)

It rarely happens to a country that a clear opportunity is presented to it to save itself from ruin. Only once since the war has it happened to Britain, in 1979, when the people realised that the end of the road had been reached with the consensus that had prevailed since the Second World War, and it was time to start again on a different basis. Tomorrow, France can choose to have its 1979.

A post-war consensus similar to the one we ditched nearly 30 years ago has now prevailed in France since 1945, and after 62 years it is looking pretty threadbare.

The consensus they have to break out of is the one formed in 1789.

Sarkozy offers French a recipe for change, but is it to their taste?: Sebastian Rotella, May 5, 2007, LA Times)

For the last 30 years, French presidents have been grave, deliberate men with lofty airs who struggled to lead often weak and divided governments. The inability or unwillingness of those leaders to enact reforms reinforced the stereotype that the French do not want change.

Enter Nicolas Sarkozy, stereotype-buster. His presidential candidacy has been propelled by a conviction that he is strong enough to do what others have not: streamline a bloated state, revive a stagnant economy and restore a nation's fading grandeur. His promises of bold leadership and free-market reforms echo Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan.

So two questions accompany Sarkozy, the candidate of the center-right Union for a Popular Movement, or UMP, into Sunday's runoff election against another self-described standard-bearer of change, Segolene Royal of the Socialist Party. Do the voters share Sarkozy's vision? And if he wins, can he deliver? [...]

There's a simple explanation for his success despite the common wisdom, Sarkozy says: The elite have lost touch with the street.

"France does not fear change," he said during a recent television interview, "France hopes for it."

Sarkozy asserted that his critics "live in a milieu that is totally disconnected from the reality of the country. What I want is for the French to understand me. If tomorrow I'm elected, it won't be the press, the polls, the elites who chose me. It will have been the people."

Seven years of strikes and riots will tell a different story.

Posted by Orrin Judd at May 4, 2007 8:54 PM

Not following this closely but have read a few articles. Can anyone tell me if the criticisms of his rightiness have any merit, or if they're just the typical hyperbole and distortion of lefties who can't stomache an inch to the right of them?

Posted by: RC at May 4, 2007 10:38 PM

Anglo-saxism is OK in his book.

Posted by: Sandy P at May 5, 2007 9:25 AM