Tuesday 1 May 2007

Anyone but Sarko

Here in France it would appear that a fair few voters are so anti-Sarkozy (the rightwing candidate) they'll vote for socialist Ségolène Royal even though she doesn't represent anything they believe in just to bar his path. And it seems that Royal's campaign team have tapped into that sentiment and are currently demonising Sarkozy as some hardline, pro-US (the greatest evil in France), liberal free-market, anti-immigrant police-state proponent.

It's a tough one. Nicolas Sarkozy frightens me with some of things he says. He is hardline on issues such as immigration, integration and civil "unrest" amongst often 2nd & 3rd generation immigrant, French youths. I don't know how much of this rhetoric was just that, rhetoric to court the far-right vote, or how much of it he really holds dear... Like many residents of this country, I'm deeply concerned by what Sarko might do once elected.

Ségolène Royal on the other hand, absolutely terrifies me with the idea of what she won't do. She won't reform the bloated civil service, she won't stand up to labour unions that hold power and influence far outweighing their actual member numbers (significantly lower than in Germany and even the UK), she won't push for badly needed pension reforms. She'll just put up social contributions and taxes. And people like me, stuck in the middle (not scraping by, not comfortably off either), will foot the bill (as happens across the Western world, I feel).

Sarko might be scary but Royal would be bad news for France. Domestically she'll just let the rot spread. And internationally she will have zero credibility in the eyes of people like Putin and the future US president. I never thought I would feel like this before I came to live in France, but if I were to have a vote in this presidential election, I'd use it to vote on the right, something I've never done before and never thought I would do. The problem with the Socialists and Royal is that they are living in the 70s still. The world and the global economy have moved on since then, and they must stop with this illusion that we're all still working in steel factories and down the mines.

If France chooses Ségolène Royal I only hope that I and many other doubters are proved wrong when she pushes for badly needed reforms, and doesn't back down to the syndicats by giving their coddled members even more unnecessary privileges.

I never really wanted to get Political with this blog. But please France, don't elect that woman.

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