Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Sarkozy goes to London

UMP candidate Nicolas Sarkozy is traveling to London today, where he will be meeting with UK Prime Minister Tony Blair as well as French ex-pats. This will officially be Sarkozy's first foreign trip as a presidential candidate, and a much more politically safe destination than Royal's voyages the Middle East or China.

Although Blair is intimately connected with the Iraq War, he is seen as a moderate figure in France, leading both candidates to create comparisons between him and him/herself. Segolene, while already compared with Blair in the French media, has yet to meet him this campaign. Sarkozy, on the other hand, has met him 8 times since 2002, and is seen as the favorite of Downing Street. The Socialists, attempting to create a wedge between Sarkozy and Britain in the public mind, have said that Sarkozy "only has to meet Margaret Thatcher now. The photo will go alongside that of Sarkozy with Bush."

One should also not discount Sarkozy's meetings with the French community in Britain. Roughly 300,000 French citizens live there, just 100,000 shy of the population of Royal's recent choice of destination, Martinique. They are also likely more business orientated, which would favor the policies of Sarkozy.

Interestingly, Defense Minister Michele Alliot-Marie, who has become a supporter of Sarkozy's campaign, was commanded by President Jacques Chirac to not go with Sarkozy: "the Defence Minister has no business travelling abroad with the UMP candidate." Is this Chirac once again meddling in a future not his own, or a feeble attempt to stop his government from being completely marginalized in its final months? We'll have to see.

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JB said...

The ironic thing about the Socialists' comment is that France desperately needs the kind of free-market reforms that Margaret Thatcher brought to Britain. Surely nobody in the Sarkozy camp could ever admit this publicly, but--for France's sake--I hope Sarkozy can do as much good for his country as Thatcher did for hers.

On an unrelated note, I just wanted to congratulate you on this blog, Boz. I read it every day; you've done a wonderful job. Thanks!

L'Amerloque said...

January 30, 2007

Hello Boz !

/*/Is this Chirac once again meddling in a future not his own, or a feeble attempt to stop his government from being completely marginalized in its final months? We'll have to see./*/

Well … (grin) … Michèle Alliot-Marie ("MAM") would make a top-notch Prime Minister. Along with party experience (she headed the RPR for three years or so: the first woman in France to head a polical party : the same position that Sarko has now …), she has Parlimentary experience (she was a députée in the National Assembly and in the Euopean Parliament) and government experience as Minister of Youth and Sports, as well as Minister of Defense. Mme Royal's alleged "competence" (the Defense Ministry is a bit "heavier" than "Environment" or "Family", tout de meme …) pales by comparison. She is from a political family and as far as Amerloque is aware, there has never been a breath of personal or political scandal attached to her.

MAM is one of the very, very big guns of current French politics: by far and away the "best" on the right, in Amerloque's view. She will not be "wasted" in campaigning for Sarkozy. M Chirac never loses sight of the future … and he'll soon be a member of the Constitutional Council …

MAM would make a great PM if Sarko wins … and a great candidate for Prez in 2012 if he loses. (grin) "MAM pour President" in 2012 ? Probably. She might even have been the right's nominee this time around, had Mme Royal not entered the fray …

One question that no one really seems to be asking is "Where in the world is Elisabeth Guigou ?". She has certainly been silent in the Socialist campaign, so far … is she being "saved" for the "après-Royal" era ? Or might she be tabbed as a Minister of Defense (she has already done "Justice" …) or even PM, if Mme Royal grabs the brass ring ? … She's far more "European" than Mme Royal …


Boz said...

jb: Thanks for the comment. I completely agree with you over the whole economic issue, but I'm afraid that as this campaign progresses, Royal will move more toward pragmatism and Sarkozy will move away from sufficient labor/tax reform, leaving the next president in a muddle of ineffective economic policy.

l'amerloque: Interesting about Alliot-Marie, I hadn't realized she commanded so much respect, considering she wasn't exactly encouraged by the UMP to make a run this time around. From his personality, I can't imagine that Sarkozy would not run again if he lost. On the other hand, I can imagine Royal being buried as a one-hit-wonder who couldn't win an election.