Im still in France and will be for a while (this will be last post from me for a good while reckon, not sure about this blogging lark and so need some time away).
Its been fascinating to be here as the French election draws to a close. The tv and news is no longer allowed to report - allowing the traditional two days of reflection for the French public.
Ive been following the campaigns for over a year and now its crunch time finally. Everyone here wants to talk politics and share their views, considerable choice and real democracy has seen all the parties get a reasonable look-in.
The TV debate between the final two contenders did little to sway people one way of another in the end though Sego cam eout of it well - and neither did Bayrou who came out and damned Sarkozy on Friday in a day that offered up little other than desperation.
It seems as though the French have, barring some last minute shock, which i wouldnt put past them, made up their minds. Most felt the gaff prone Sego came across well in the debate but that it wasnt enough - and that Sarko though at times too often on the backfoot and unsure of how to tackle this woman, in the debate - had all the ideas. I also felt that Sego spent too much timing chalking up her resume for women. Anyway - 90% of the French public have now decided and the polls indicate a solid Sarkozy win - which would be fantastic.
Im not sure that I am the same as everyone on the right in that I view good and bad in all ideas but essentially want a strong leader in the West. I am fed up with the transatlantic nonsense. Chirac was a buffoon but then Bush is noone to hold up as an aspirational leader - and whats to come in both the UK and US fills me with a sort of malaise! For all his faults i still maintain Blair was a Tory and a strong one at that. The issue for me there was always how we eventually went to US hardcore style over substance in terms of personality and media driven agendas. All politicians rest on soundbites and that includes Sarkozy but he offers France a clear choice. Please point to what we have in comparison in the UK?
Anyway- the debate was substance over all too often simpering style. I hope that the French dont cave in at the last moment. Watching the UK elections in comparison you could be forgiven for thinking democracy is well and truly dead, finished, over. I caught the news on the BBC in time to hear one Scot moan that if this was a small African country the issue of the ballot paper spoiled would have resulted in international cries for a re-vote. Quite. The politcal stalemate was indicited nowhere more so than in the Tory victory - nothing short of sensationally boring. Across the Atlantic I gather a young Obama is seen as something of a breath of fresh air. But reading his speech on Harrys Place left me cold - rhetoric rhetoric and yet more rhetoric.. What are people voting FOR?
Thats the issue with Sego. And she though became desperate and ridiculous yesterday suggesting he was a threat to democracy. An offer of something clear and different to socialism on the table is a threat now. She looked ridiculous and i think that may have finished her off.
Slowly walking down the road flanked by muslims suggesting Sarko’s elections would spark violence to end her campaign she bemoaned what was to come in the face of a clear set of proposals to lift France out of 1968 politically. Sarko also used the banlieues at the start of his campaign - suggesting they would clean out the banlieues with a karsher. The issue goes to the core of some of the French worry.
Then of course she suggested Sarko was a mini-Bush - but not the war mongerer, rather the veneer of compassionate conservatism:
"He (Sarkozy) imitates George W. Bush in this technique of compassionate conservative. One cries over people. The various facts are used and, when one is at responsibilities, one does not act for the present and one promises for tomorrow. See the election campaigns of Bush, but, when there was the catastrophe of New-Orleans, one did not see it on the ground!...(Sarkozy) carries the same neoconservative ideology."
Sarko eventually put paid to her desperation in Le Parisien on line:
"To explain that if people don't vote for one candidate there will be violence is quite simply to refuse the democratic and republican expression of opinion. We've never seen this before, never. It's a worrying form of intolerance."..(Come to the Uk Sarko experienece itfor real and then revel in the future)...."Instead of explaining her propositions and criticizing mine, she has wanted to caricature me...I am myself, I defend my own ideas."
Good luck to him & cheerio at alst to Chirac Le Grand Voleur.
"Is he still the President? I thought it was the little guy?" from a cartoon last year