Monday, May 07, 2007

Pas des miracles, tant des problêmes

The miracle didn't happen: Robocop will now have the reins of the Fifth Republic, and it will march forth under the 'candidate for change'. It was striking how similar Sarko's acceptance speech was to the cant spewed by Tony Blair over the past ten years, and on BBC World Blairite lackey Denis MacShane could be spluttering about how he wanted Royal to win and would never take the side against his 'own political family' while conveniently forgetting this article published under his name in last week's Observer. Still, nothing new there, the duplicity of New Labour is hardly anything worth getting that worked up about these days.

Sarko was fêted by a large crowd of scary bourgeois at Place de la Concorde (perhaps it's an example of cultural alienation but I've always found willful French right-wing voters more disturbing and unfathomable than their counterparts in the UK, the US or Ireland). One of them said to Libé, 'France has finally asked to be governed', which either demonstrates a predeliction to sado-masochism on the part of Pierre, 50-something, or is a warning to that part of France that didn't ask to be governed in quite the way Sarkozy has in mind, that this is how it's going to go. There was certainly a collective sense of goading among the well-dressed freaks on the TV and their sworn enemies were testing the new régime's mettle with a bit of trouble at Place de la Bastille. To be honest, all there was were a couple of municipal rubbish bins burnt out and cans thrown at the riot police, who responded with tear gas. But we all saw it on CNN almost as soon as it happened. And most of it committed by the usual drunken anarchists; the suburbs have been relatively calm so far, though with a 'certain tension' according to the French media.

While I was sitting in a friend's house in Belleville watching the post-election coverage, the windows were rattled by a loud explosion at about 11.45pm. We ran outside and saw a white van had been set alight by some passing lout. The fireman we spoke to said that there had been a number of such incidents around town tonight, on account of the elections, but nothing more than what was expected. Here is some of the footage of the burning van, shot on a bog-standard Sony Ericsson camera phone so it is unlikely to become the emblem of 'Paris burning' worldwide. Don't bother watching it all, nothing really happens. More tomorrow.