Thursday, 17 March 2011

Gloomy News

It’s grey and we are in the clouds this morning. Normally the moisture would mean that we would lose our ADSL connection but yesterday someone came and found that a cover was missing from a box on a pole outside, and the insulation on the wires had failed, so after that was sorted we now have a better connection than ever before!

It’s difficult to find any other good news at present. After the horrific Tsunami that has killed so many people in Japan, the ongoing crisis at the Fukushima nuclear plant, is looking more and more like a catastrophe about to happen at any moment.

It also seems that the Arab spring flowering of democracy is coming to an end. Yesterday riot police cleared the roundabout in Pearl Square in Manama, Bahrain and Saudi troops are being held in reserve. The advance of Gaddafi’s troops on Benghazi, will almost certainly result in a massacre of the rebels and their supporters. Saddam did that in Iraq in 1992. By the time no fly zones were implemented he had taken his revenge and unless they are introduced within a day or two in Libya it will be too late.

Against such a dramatic and terrible background the only light relief is French domestic politics, after all however serious it becomes, unlike in 1789, no blood gets spilt. Today it’s more a battle of the opinion polls.

Marine Le Pen topped the polls ten days ago.  She is proving to be a very skilful politician and a strong asset for the National Front.  Her anti-European, isolationist, protectionist, anti-immigration message is resonating with French voters, whose first instinct is always to pull up the drawbridge and protect and conserve what they have.  It caused a panic on both the left and the traditional right for a few days, but it didn’t last long.  The polls that put her ahead didn’t include Dominique Strauss-Kahn as a candidate because he hasn’t announced that he is going to stand yet, but when he is included he easily tops them, so the result is more politically acceptable.  They still leave Sarkozy trailing miserably and several of our friends are waiting for Carla to pack her bags.  I think that he is harvesting the results of implying that he really agrees with National Front policies on immigration. After all, why support a pale imitation of the real thing?

Sarkozy (why does the BBC pronounce it Sar-ko-zeeee?) will never willingly stand down in favour of François Fillon, who would give DSK a much closer fight. Christiane thinks that his party will force him to do so, but I think that he is by instinct a street-fighter and he has the dirt on too many senior figures in the UMP, which he will use if he has to!
I suppose that you have to be rather warped and cynical to find light relief in French politics but that’s all there is at the moment!

Oh well back to BBC News 24, France 24 and CNN!


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