Sunday, 4 September 2011

DSK is back in France but not back in politics

After living a nightmare since 16th May 2011, caused by his own rampant libido and lack of common sense, DSK is back in France today. The New York prosecutor has dropped all charges and returned his passport but a civil action against him is still in progress.

In France there remains the accusation by Tristane Banon, a French writer and journalist, that he attempted to rape her. The alleged assault is said to have taken place in 2002 and is being investigated by the Parquet de Paris. Because the alleged event took place so long ago, direct physical evidence is unlikely to be available, although there is talk of text messages. Basically the case comes down to her word against his but even if the case is eventually shelved, as some commentators now expect, the damage has been done.

If the New York accusations were not enough to persuade DSK that he has no future in French politics the Banon case surely is. At the glacial pace of French justice it could be years before the case comes to court if it ever does! In France it’s not uncommon for high profile cases to take 10 years to be decided, and on the way the hot potato is passed from one investigating judge to another. I don’t understand the French Justice system, which is very foreign to an Anglo-Saxon, but I sometimes feel that there has to be time to build a consensus, before a judge can be found with the courage to declare that the case is ready to come to court or should be dropped. 

U.S. justice may be brutal but it is, at least, relatively swift.

DSK still has supporters in French politics who are urging him to stand in the socialist primaries and Fran├žois Hollande, the leading candidate has declared that, even though the closing date for nominations has passed, he would not rule out a late entry.

DSK has made no statement on the subject, but I don’t think that he would risk putting himself forward. Even if it was possible to ignore his attitude to women he has himself also said that, because he is very wealthy through his marriage to Anne Sinclair, the Socialists would not want him to be their leader. It’s clear that before the episode in New York last May he was almost certain to win the nomination and be elected President in 2012. The other socialist candidates are not of the same stature and, after four years, France has had enough of Sarkozy.

Nicholas Sarkozy has achieved about half of the programme he announced at the last election, but he’s in danger of losing the battle of the media. I have always been surprised at the lack of government domination of the French media. Government spokespeople are slow to react and half-hearted in getting their message across to the public. They seem to wait until everyone else has had their say first. As a result they lack media penetration and cede points by default.

I could even have imagined DSK, as President, having the courage to tell the French people the unpopular political realities of a paricular situation, instead of trying to sweep bad news under the carpet. Previous French Presidents like De Gaulle, Pompidou, Mitterrand and D’Estaing used to do so, but since Chirac, it has been common practice to hide the problems, to try to please everyone and, until last year, back down in the face of opposition.

I don’t support her, but Marine LePen appears at present to be the only French politician with a clear message who is not afraid to argue the case for her policies. Because she’s the leader of a small party, she’s not looking over her shoulder and trying to attract voters from other parties like the UMP is doing, with its obsession about national identity and immigration. Against the background of a failing euro and economic domination by Asia, her isolationist/protectionist policies come across convincingly, as long as you don't think about things too deeply.  She’s also very strong in debate and less abrasive than her father.  In the Presidential Election she's likely to do very well against either of the leading Socialist Candidates, or Sarkozy.

That is until the French close ranks against her in the second round of voting like they did against her father in 2002!






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