Sunday, 6 May 2007

Gnome is president-elect of France

So that's it. France has decided and it's chosen the gnome. Not a huge surprise. Hey-ho. I suppose now if I don't want to be expelled, I need to start getting up early. I already go to work so that's not a problem. Still, it's worrying, I mean, I can't go back to Scotland now can I?! Having said that, I have a network of friends willing to offer me refuge, Anne Franck-style. ;)

A few thoughts on this result...

I think the French, faced with a tough, "rock and a hard place"-style choice, have chosen the lesser of two evils. Turnout may have been high, but when one combines abstention and spoiled or blank ballots, more than 20% of registered voters chose to not choose. Mr Sarkozy's actual share of the vote is around 40%. Not a clear "moral majority" then.

That said, I think that Ms Royal was not the right choice for France, not now. Watching DSK, a "heavyweight" of the French left on TV just now, I find myself wondering if the Socialists didn't go for the wrong candidate after all. I would have voted for Dominique Strauss-Kahn, I think. A thought.

Commentators seem to be rushing to say that the French Socialist party, having failed now three times in a row to get someone into the Elysee Palace, needs a shakedown and a facelift. That I agree with. I don't think the party as it stands today fits with the economic (primarily) and social reality in France today. As time passes, electorates all over Europe are leaning more to the right. The perfect example of this is Britain, where a popular parlour game consists in spotting the difference between Labour and Tory policy. Just kidding (but then again, who does David Cameron remind you of? Cast your mind back eleven years...). No, seriously, there is a gradual swing to the centre-right. Is that because people are (relatively) better off? Is it caused by the media? Is it caused by globalisation? Who knows. I think it's certainly in part because we are "richer" than previous generations, but that's just my view. Given this context, labour and socialist parties need to soften and move more to the centre in order to appeal to a wider spectrum of voters...

It's also worth bearing in mind that France returns to the polling stations in a month's time for legislative elections. It is not impossible that they choose a lefty government. That'll be fun.

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