Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Lifting the lid on French politics


ed Tuesday 10.00: We have been having trouble with our landline. We lose our internet connection from time to time, although it's obviously working now.

The Telegraph's leader today looks at the extraordinary allegations being made against the erstwhile French PM, Dominique de Villepin, namely that he attempted to stitch up the-then Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy with trumped-up charges of taking bribes.

Maybe Sarkozy's predecessor, Jacques Chirac, thought that the only problem he faced with loss of Presidential immunity concerned the freewheeling manner in which he ran his expense account while Mayor of Paris. If so, then the recent moves against Villepin look ominous, since Chirac too now risks being implicated in this tale of vicious skullduggery at the heart of the ancien régime.

The leader ends with the following words:

"These are allegations that strike at the heart of the way France is governed. If proved, they will expose something very rotten in the state of its democracy and must impact on us as one of France's closest partners in Europe."

Mine was the first comment. No doubt there will be more in a similar ascerbic vein:


French voters are repeatedly reminded by their politicians about how they are blessed with having liberty, equality and fraternity.

Integrity in public life? But what is that - some tedious Anglo-Saxon obsession, a quaint puritanical self-denying ordinance perhaps ? No self-respecting French politician would allow his or her freedom of action to be constrained by anything so inconvenient and mundane as a principle.

Posted by Colin Berry on July 31, 2007 6:14 AM

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